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Duel (Special Edition) [DVD]

4.6 out of 5 stars 163 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Dennis Weaver, Tim Herbert, Charles Peel, Eddie Firestone, Shirley O'Hara
  • Directors: Steven Spielberg
  • Producers: George Eckstein
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: None
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Audio Description: None
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 28 Mar. 2005
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00079FGQM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,789 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Businessman David Mann (Dennis Weaver) is driving on a lonely stretch of highway when he notices that he is being followed by a huge, menacing diesel truck. The truck then starts trying to push him off the road, and despite Mann's attempts to defuse the situation, it soon has him engaged in a punishing duel to the death. Originally made for American television but given a cinema release in the UK, this was director Steven Spielberg's feature debut.

From Amazon.co.uk

This is the TV movie that put Steven Spielberg on the map, shortly before he made The Sugarland Express. Working from a script by Richard Matheson, the film stars Dennis Weaver as a mild-mannered traveling salesman who unintentionally angers the driver of a semi truck. Suddenly, the truck is not only riding his tail but trying to run him off the road. No matter what he does (pulling over, stopping at a diner, calling the cops), he can't get rid of it. Spielberg makes the wise decision of never showing the driver, even as he cranks the voltage on the film's suspense elements. As a result, the truck itself takes on an air of satanic menace--even a personality of sorts--as it seems to hunt its human prey. Spielberg made a lot out of a little, suggesting just how skilled a storyteller he would become. --Marshall Fine

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Spielberg directed this TV movie for ABC when he was 23 and it is the essence of 'high concept' film - man terrorised on desert highway by truck. It is testament to Duel's effectiveness that it was later theatrically released.
Duel is a relentlessly gripping game of cat-and-mouse between a terrified Dennis Weaver in his red Sedan, and the malevolent driver of a monstrous, greasy truck. That the truck has a driver at all is almost irrelevant. The cab windows of that vehicle are rarely in shot, instead Spielberg focuses on the small headlights and prominent engine grille - the truck's beady eyes and vicious snout. Those features are most threatening when shot at low-level as the truck gains speed on Weaver.
This fatalistic game begins when Weaver tries to overtake the truck in a hurry to make a meeting in California. He has already been framed as a man in a mediocre job with a loveless family life. His impotence is reinforced in one of the film's most memorable scenes when Weaver struggles to assist a stuck school bus. In the distance the lights of the truck come on. As Weaver takes off terrified, the truck smoothly, deliberately moves the bus. It's more terrifying still that the driver has shown he is capable of compassion, but has chosen to play with Weaver's life, beckoning him into oncoming traffic, running him off the road, and edging him onto a rail track.
Weaver is excellent as the hunted man - his paranoia in a roadside café with the truck looming ominously in the background is intoxicating, accentuated by his nervy voice-over. His desperation when the truck pulls out from hidden spots is palpable, and his resolution to take a stand is sincere - understandable as Weaver did many of the stunts himself. His performance, with Speilberg's excellent direction, makes Duel a seminal example of an economical premise turned into a memorable, overwhelmingly edgy thriller.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Originally a 74 minute 1971 US TV Movie, this DVD has the 90 minute (86 in PAL) theatrical version made for European audiences the following year. The three main additional scenes are:

* Mann telephoning his wife from a gas station
* Entire school bus scene
* Truck pushing Mann's car towards a speeding train at a level crossing

Also, this extended version has a slightly different soundtrack from the original - most noticeably the 'dinosaur roar' is (sadly) missing.

Suspenseful and memorable with a good performance from Dennis Weaver, and although there isn't very much dialogue in this film, some of it is seminal;

Radio Host: "Well, uh, what do you do, may I ask?"
Caller: "I play meat"
Radio Host: "You what?"
Caller: "I play meat"
Radio Host: "You play meat?"
Caller: "Yes, uh, meat. You know, beef and pork"
Radio Host: "That's sick, man"

DVD has a great print, Dolby 5.1 and 5.1 DTS, English subtitles and some great extras:

* A Conversation with Director Steven Spielberg on Making Duel *
35 minutes and an excellent insight, containing clips and stills from many of Spielberg's other films.

* Steven Spielberg and the Small Screen *
A 10 minute overview of his TV work as director, again excellent and with many short clips of his early efforts.

* Richard Matheson: The Writing of Duel *
A 10 minute segment with Matheson, interesting and very watchable.

* Trailer *

* Photograph and Poster Gallery *
Mainly film posters for the overseas release, with a few B/W stills from production.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Saw this film as a child on the TV, was made in the early 70s, but i saw it on the Tv for the first time about 20 years ago when i was a young lad. Great suspense thriller. Wont ruin the plot if you have never seen. One of the best thrillers i have seen for years. Comes in a nice steelbook style dvd case, and for the price of just under £5 its well worth it
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So here's an irony: Thirty-five years on, the movie audience which Spielberg's later work helped to capture - multiplex consumers of overblown CGI, gross-out, slapstick, and ever-greater explosions - may not "get" this one at all (e.g. see some of its other reviewers here). For anybody else - and this is most certainly not "art-house" either, don't be put off - here's an astounding, must-see thriller. OK, so it's a wannabe western, or Hitchcock (or Beowulf, or Alien, or High Noon) on wheels: None of that detracts from its great premise, which is delivered utterly without frills.

So many reasons to see this:

Spielberg is SO good at doing minimal (seriously, Steve, about time to get back to some of that?): Pared-down music, only natural-sound detail; no human baddie, just a perfectly cast truck as the anthropomorphised "killer". Even the shattering finale is captured on ordinary live film, albeit in one of the most awe-inspiring shots ever committed to celluloid.

Great raw material: OK, so of course the script dates just a bit, with what dialogue there is sounding TV-ish and a wee bit cheesy to the modern ear; and kids now seeing this film might snigger at the personal styling details and plot's obvious reliance on predating mobile phones; but hey... We're right there for Mann (Dennis Weaver) from the very start, as it's vital that we have to be, since his story is so discreetly and elegantly constructed.

And as a piece of performance: Not just by Weaver, in whom we completely believe as the put-upon everyman reluctantly forced to find his inner warrior.
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