Thursday, May 7, 2015


I've had the DVD of Duel sitting around forever, but I never got around to watching it until just recently. I was home sick, and it seemed like a good sick day movie -- and it was! I thought it would be good, but I had no idea it would be as good as it is. So weird, so elegant, so stylish. When I watched the DVD extras (definitely worth the price of the DVD), I understood why! It was written by Richard Matheson, writer for Twilight Zone, not to mention the screenplay for The Incredible Shrinking Man, and then it had a young Steven Spielberg trying to prove himself. Unbelievably, it was shot in 12 days (the budget was for 10), as they only had budget for an ABC Movie of the Week. It was originally something like 71 minutes, but footage was added for international theatrical release. You can see so much of Jaws in this movie. Even the music is interesting and clever. Spielberg notes that he chose Dennis Weaver as the star because he loved his role in Touch of Evil. This is just one of those times when the right artists get together and make something greater than all of them. My only nitpick would be that the internal monologues come off a little corny, but really, I'm not sure how you'd tell the story without them. I love the underlying masculinity theme that flirts around the edges of everything. Anyway, put great people under pressure, and sometimes great things happen. I would like, one day, to make something so elegant and powerful.

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