Updated: Feb 16, 2022
SPLASH YEARS BEFORE JAWS
DUEL was originally a short story written by Richard Matheson and was published in Playboy Magazine. It was soon adapted for the screen as an action/thriller. It was the feature-length directorial debut of Steven Spielberg, who was then a virtual unknown at the time. Dennis Weaver portrays David Mann, a business commuter from California, driving a Plymouth Valiant while on his way to a business meeting. Mann finds himself stuck behind an old truck. "Mann VS Machine." After Mann petulantly passes the semi truck, pure "hell on the highway" ensues! Mann soon finds himself chased by the "ghost-driver" of a ghoulishly evil looking Peterbilt truck. Mann is hunted by-the menacing Peterbilt throughout the film, ending in violent destruction. Originally aired as a television film as part of the ABC Movie of the Week series on November 13, 1971, DUEL later received an international theatrical release in an extended version featuring scenes shot after the film's original broadcast. The film was critically acclaimed upon release noting Spielberg's direction and groundbreaking use of cinematography. DUEL has since become an international cult film - with wide ranging influences in film to this day. The infamous co-star - the DUEL truck - became known as one of the most sinister screen stars of the horror/thriller genera. The original 3rd unit truck has survived - and it still has an appetite for terror and destruction on the highways!