Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Dennis Weaver, Eddie Firestone, Gene Dynarski, Tim Herbert, Charles Seel
Director: Steven Spielberg
Genres: Action & Adventure, Horror, Television, Mystery & Suspense
The unseen driver of a tailgating semi tries to run a traveling salesman off the road. Studio: Uni Dist Corp. (mca) Release Date: 02/08/2005 Starring: Dennis Weaver Eddie Firestone Run time: 88 minutes Rating: Pg Dir... more »
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Don't get on the interstate...
Jeffrey Ellis | Richardson, Texas United States | 03/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Just as many people find themselves viewing the shower with trepidation after viewing Psycho, I've found myself wary to get on interstate highways after viewing Duel. A 1971 tv-movie (that was, yes, the first film to be directed by Steven Spielberg), Duel is an effectively, simple little film that sticks with you long after the end credits have run. Dennis Weaver plays a businessman travelling alone across a desolate strip of America. For reasons that neither he nor the viewer can quite understand (and, for once, this makes the film's terror all the more effective), a truck driver targets Weaver and for the next hour and a half, we watch as Weaver struggles to survive against a faceless, seemingly more powerful opponent. It's a simple premise but it is also a premise that taps into our deepest fears of the unknown. Weaver's struggle is made all the more terrifying because it seems to just happen at random. Weaver is targeted for no specific reason and, as unfair as that might seem to both him and the viewer, he now has no choice but to try to survive.Duel works because of the talents of a young Steven Spielberg and the likeable everyman performance of Dennis Weaver. Indeed, Weaver's contribution has often been overshadowed by the hype surrounding Spielberg's involvement and that's a shame because he gives a truly perfect performance, a worthy model for actors (especially those currently sleepwalking through today's crop of horror films) everywhere. Weaver is one of those talented actors who, because he was never a showy performer and for the most part limited himself to television work, has never really gotten his due. In Duel, he is totally believable as an ordinay man caught up in an extradorinary situation. From the minute he first appears on screen, viewers can easily accept him as their surrogate and it is this indentifiability that makes what happens to him so enthralling and disturbing. As for Spielberg, this film proves that, had he not gotten into his head to be a great filmmaker, Speilberg could have had a very lucrative and rewarding career as a modern day Roger Corman. Using the techniques he would later hone to perfection in Jaws, Spielberg crafts an unpretentious, massively entertaining horror film that never loses sight of reality. Working with essentially one actor and one set, Spielberg manages to capture the viewer from the first minute and keeps the narrative flying for the next 90 minutes, never allowing things to slack off and never giving viewers a reason to look away from the screen. Especially compared with some of Spielberg's later, more "respectable" entertainments, Duel represents the ideal Spielberg -- all of his skill without the later need to prove he was capable of more than just being a "mere" entertainer. Duel, despite being this young director's first film, is a perfect example of everything that Steven Spielberg does right and when compared with his later films, it becomes just as perfect an example of everything Spielberg's done wrong since then.But don't watch the film because it was directed by Steven Spielberg or because Dennis Weaver was always underrated as an actor. Watch it because it does everything you could possibly want a thriller to do."
Psychological horror on the highway
Erik North | San Gabriel, CA USA | 07/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"DUEL is the film that made Steven Spielberg a household word in Hollywood--and for good reason. Though made in only three weeks on a budget of less than $500,000, this superlative made-for-TV movie helped to launch his career beyond the stars.This is an extremely lean but effective psychological thriller with Dennis Weaver (of "Gunsmoke" fame) effectively portraying the first of Spielberg's favorite characters, the Everyman--in this case, an average auto motorist driving to a business appointment on a lonely California highway. He tries to pass a road-hogging diesel truck; but when he does, the truck goes after him for the rest of the way. Neither Weaver nor the viewer ever sees the truck driver, with the exception of a beefy hand and a pair of cowboy boots; but it's perfectly obvious that this man is a total psychopath.Though suffering from some slight technical flaws, DUEL is brilliantly directed by Spielberg. The film's screenplay is by the always-excellent sci-fi/horror writer Richard Matheson, who based it on a short story he had published in the April '71 edition of Playboy magazine. Matheson, known for such novels as "I Am Legend" and scripts for "The Twilight Zone", is a master at this kind of mind-bending terror, and the combination of his and Spielberg's talents results in one of the most gut-wrenching and emotionally draining suspense films of all times. One can see its influence on later films like the underrated 1997 thriller BREAKDOWN, and as a chilling precursor to today's violent, real-life incidents of road rage. A must-see!"
Spielberg at his best
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 03/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Long before Close Encounters, Steven Spielberg helmed this dynamite suspense film in 1971, a powerful tale which seamlessly combines paranoia and road rage, based on an equally strong short story by Richard Matheson (same title).Dennis Weaver plays the nameless suburbanite, a salesman road warrior who gets caught up in a horrific battle with another nameless guy, a trucker who drives a huge semi that repeatedly cuts Weaver off on the road and frustrates him just as repeatedly by moving so slowly the frantically impatient Weaver's edginess boils over into outright dementia.The trucker is not only nameless, but invisible; Weaver never really sees him. In a great and very disturbing scene in a typical truck stop diner, Weaver sees a lineup of similarly attired guys at the counter and tries to figure out which one is the demented trucker.The pacing in this film is flawless, and Weaver's acting has never been better. The ending is a perfect culmination of the momentum that is so effectively built during the course of the film. For a terrific movie going experience, rent or buy this one. It's a real gem."
Spielberg's first is among his best
Jeffrey Ellis | 02/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Duel" was the freshman work of director Steven Spielberg, and while the film is not generally considered among his cinematic successes (after all, later films like "Jaws", "E.T.", "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind", et al. still rank among the highest-grossing films of all time!) it is more than deserving of a closer look! The thing that makes the film so good is it's simplicity...the story of a travelling salesman (played convincingly by Dennis Weaver (remember TV's "McCloud" or "Gentle Ben"?) on his way to a business meeting some distance away...while driving down a sparsely travelled desert highway, he finds himself behind a slow-moving tanker which he innocently passes...let's just say the never-seen truck driver doesn't like to be left behind!! The suspense builds as Weaver begins to realize that this guy's not just playing around...he's trying to kill him! No matter where he goes on this lonely stretch of highway, this truck is there...chasing him at ungodly speed...playing cat to Weaver's mouse. Now, I will admit that the first few times I saw this movie, I was a little peeved that we never saw the truck driver...and then I realized--that's why I continue to watch and enjoy this film so much...trying to spot him. Is he in the diner where Weaver stops for lunch? If he is, which one of the dozen or so guys is he? I'll never know for sure and that's why this film is so much fun to watch. There are those who would consider this an inferior Spielberg work...I consider it one of his best! Incidentally, here's a bit of trivia for those who have seen the movie: Take a close look as Dennis Weaver steps into the phone booth at the snake lady's place...you will briefly see the reflection of then-21-year-old Steven Spielberg in the glass. I'm pretty sure this was not intentional, but who knows...maybe he took a nod from the master of suspense! However you rank "Duel," you owe it to yourself to check it out...it truly is a nail-biter to the end."