Movie of the Week: ‘Duel’

“Duel” (1971) – David Mann (Dennis Weaver) is a Southern California businessman, a salesman type.  It’s an ordinary workday, so he hops in his four-door Plymouth Valiant and heads north, actually north and east – and towards what looks like the Antelope Valley – to make a sales call or a check-in with a client.  David isn’t driving in concentrated South Central, Century City, or the Fashion District. Instead, the local scenery consists of bleak, brown deserts and the occasional teeny, tiny town. 

David Mann (Dennis Weaver)

Actually, one specific landmark has completely captured his attention, but it’s not stationary.  He passes a rust-colored 18-wheeler hauling gasoline or fuel of some kind with a large FLAMMABLE warning label on its caboose.  One might guess that the unknown truck driver is having a bad day or – more likely – is a psychopath, because this mysterious motorist follows David in a vengeful game of cat and mouse.

Or is it dinosaur and mouse? 

No, director Steven Spielberg’s film isn’t “Jurassic Park” (1993), but this thriller has some scary similarities, as a mechanical monster menaces Mr. Mann up and down lonely, winding California highways under a blazing sun. 

So, buckle up for this wild ride.    

⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Written by: Richard Matteson

Starring: Dennis Weaver

Runtime: 90 minutes

Rated: PG

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