It’s Indy 4 Weekend. Whether or not you’re planning to check out the latest installment in the adventures of Indiana Jones, you might be interested to see a bit of suspense its director created early in his career: 1971’s The Duel.
In this low-budget, made-for-TV movie, which Steven Spielberg made when he was 23 years old, an ordinary businessman played by Dennis Weaver is hounded by an unseen driver of a tanker truck. The story is played for maximum tension and thrills, and I find it particularly frightening because I have an abiding fear of being run off the road by a semi. (The result of dozens of trips across the state on the PA Turnpike? No doubt.)
The full film is available on YouTube, broken into 5 minute chunks. The clip above is the modified opening, with some extended footage from the DVD release. YouTube also has a number of parodies of The Duel; this 74 minute story makes an impression on you.
Fascinating, what abbreviated cultural references can do. I interpreted “Indy 4 weekend” to refer to the race, rather than the movie, and the suspense to reference Al Unser Jr.’s 1992 victory over Scott Goodyear (by a very, very slim 0.043 second!). This followed Michael Andretti’s heartbreaking mechanical failure with but 11 laps remaining in the race–after he’d built an overwhelming lead.
Excellent point, Alan. Context is everything. I had no idea about the 1992 race, but I bet it would make for a terrific movie.
Note, too, that there’s a fair among of automotive racing around in Duel, especially at the end. Connections everywhere!
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