Master storytelling


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.

3 replies on “Master storytelling”

  1. 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.

  2. 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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