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9 Untold Truths about Steven Spielberg's Duel

It's hard to imagine that Steven Spielberg was once a well-known figure. But in the early 1970s, he was a legendary young talented director, anonymous, who still had a long way to go to reach his current position. After making a number of short films and episodes of television series - including one of the best episodes of Colombo - Spielberg made his first feature film, "Duel," and gradually attracted attention.
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Some find it unfair and criticize Spielberg's record because most of his films have been blockbusters at the box office. For them, Spielberg lacks the talent and skill of a letter director and the style of his contemporaries, and focuses more on the box office. But when we look at his early films, we see a bold and confident filmmaker who knew both the tools of his work well and made the most of the fewest possibilities.

This is especially the case in film. The Duel shows, a compelling and breathtaking film about the cat and mouse playing a riding driver and a giant trailer. The film has very few dialogues and you feel almost like Hitchcock in every minute of it. Spielberg skillfully tells his story in a way that captivates all viewers in the very first minutes of the film. and paved the way for The Sugarland Express, films that brought Spielberg's name to the forefront and were recognized by many moviegoers around the world. Let's take a look at 9 interesting and unspoken facts from this movie.

1. Duel is Steven Spielberg's first feature film

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Which of Steven Spielberg's first feature films is It seems that there are arguments. Many consider the 1974 Sugarland Express to be his first film. But if we do not take into account the issues that arose during the duel's release date, this film should be known as his first film, because the Duel was first aired on television on November 13, 1971.

This film was shown on television So Spielberg had to look at the statistics and the number of viewers instead of the box office to see if it was successful in attracting an audience. Spielberg had said at the time: "The number of viewers came, and I did not notice it. "I just knew that if they hired me again, it would mean that it had the final effect on the audience." Chicago Daily News' Norman Mark called it "the best TV movie of the year, and probably the best movie ever aired on television." The film aired on television for 74 minutes, but later, when they decided to release it, Spielberg filmed a few more scenes until it was 90 minutes long and suitable for cinematic chances.

This 90-minute version It premiered in the UK in October 1972 and was released the following year in Japan and a number of European countries. Although Duel was originally a television movie, it also made its theatrical release and gained more fans over the years, gradually becoming a cult film. That's why it's right to be known as Steven Spielberg's first feature film.

Duel screenwriter Richard Mattison was inspired by a true story

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Everyone who drives, They must have had the experience of dealing with nerve-wracking or sick drivers who approach a person's car for no reason and cause harassment. This is what happened to Richard Matheson, who inspired him to write a Duel story. It seems that on the very day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated, an angry and rude driver was behind him and harassing him. I poured and I felt bad. But my writer's mind immediately came to me, and I said to myself, 'Imagine a man chasing a truck,' and I wrote the idea on an envelope. " And thanks to Spielberg's secretary Nona Tyson at the time, this issue of the magazine went on Steven Spielberg's desk. "I laughed at being brought up by a Playboy magazine," Spielberg said. But then he said, "Do not look at the pictures of the girls, read the short story that was published. "She's beautiful, she's your model." Tyson followed up and found out that ABC was planning to make a TV movie based on it and had begun production, but had not yet chosen a director. Spielberg turned to producer George Austin and came up with the idea of directing the duel. Impressed by Spielberg's energy and enthusiasm, Austin says: "One works with many directors, directors who have this job and look at it as one. But he was excited, he was enthusiastic. This intense interest and energy of his was contagious and was transmitted to all those who worked with him. "

3. Duel connection with another 1941 Spielberg film

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a director directing one film to another This is not uncommon, and you see it in many of Spielberg's films. In his early films, he included hints and references that some viewers noticed.

In one of the memorable scenes of the duel, David Mann (Dennis Weaver) stops at a special gas station to miss for a while. Crazy truck driver is comfortable. The gas station is operated by an anonymous woman (played by Lucille Benson) and a number of snakes and other reptiles can be seen in the corners of the image. This unconventional atmosphere increases the suspense of the scene and the audience, like us, becomes doubly worried. Spiders and snakes pose an additional threat to the truck driver in the scene where he decides to chase him in the middle of a phone call. Eight years later, in Spielberg's 1941 war comedy, we have the same pump. We see gasoline again, which is clearly a reference to the movie Duel. In addition, Lucille Benson has reappeared in the role of in charge of this gas station, but this time there is no news of spiders and snakes.

4. The story of the Duel greatly influenced the film Jaws

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An important and influential event in the life of Steven Spielberg whose future Occurred four years after the Duel and the time of the jaw release. The film paved the way for Spielberg in Hollywood and made him famous around the world, but it was also somewhat infamous, with conflicting reports of behind-the-scenes problems. Jaws is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first summer blockbuster in the history of cinema and is a film that changed cinema and is still impressive.

You get interesting similarities. Both films create their breathtaking suspense by depicting a cat and mouse game. In the duel, the truck driver, whose face we never see, goes crazy and tirelessly after a car. And in Jaws, the three main characters of the story want to hunt down a bloodthirsty shark that has terrified people. In progress. Whether it is a shark or a truck, Spielberg knows how to create a deadly suspense and put the present invisible threat at the heart of his story. He knows full well that the greatest and deepest fears are hidden in the viewer's imagination and not necessarily in what he sees before his eyes. "I told David Brown and Dick Zanak to please watch the duel," he said in an interview with Empire. "Because the Duel is practically the same as the jaws, the story ends on land and we have a truck instead of a shark."

5. Dennis Weaver played most of the film's hard scenes without a stuntman, and sat behind the wheel for more than 3,200 km

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Duel does not have many actors and its dialogues are very limited, so a large part of it is on the shoulders of its main character, David Mann (played by Dennis Weaver). Weaver was deeply committed to the role and involved himself in all aspects of the film, such as appearing without a stuntman in most of his difficult scenes and driving for hours and thousands of miles. Weaver said in a 2001 interview. "Working with Steven was very exciting, he had a unique imagination and a creative mind. What impressed me was his courage and bravery. "Even though he was young, he knew exactly what it took to make his film, and he did his best to get the best results." In the same interview, he talked about doing stunts himself. , Including one of the most famous scenes in the film; Where he is at the telephone booth and the truck is attacking him. "I still remember that moment," says Weaver. I said, "Hey Steven, there is no need for a stuntman, I'm going into the booth myself." What was I doing? Where should I jump out of?

6. Spielberg and his team called for the truck of their choice

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In addition to Dennis Weaver in the lead role, There were other important actors in the movie Duel; Two machines involved in the game of cat and mouse in the story. For David Mann's car, they chose a bright red Plymouth Valiant. This red was deliberately chosen because they wanted our car to be seen in California's pristine wilderness and desert background.

But choosing a truck was more important, and they had to make the right choice. Since the viewer never sees the driver of the truck, the truck itself must have been threatening and terrifying for the audience to experience the same fear that the main character felt when they saw it.

Just like the actors who have to take on a role. They also tested to choose the right truck. "The film's artistic director gave a kind of call to the trucks," says Steven Spielberg of the truck selection process. "Everyone was waiting for me to choose the right truck for the role." The role of the truck eventually went to a 1955 tanker, which, in Spielberg's words, "looked like it had a face, the windshields were like its eyes, and its windshield protruded terribly; its wheels and bumper acted like its mouth."

This film also proved that Spielberg is not wrong in choosing his actors, because the Duel movie truck is practically a detached character who seems to be breathing and alive. A great and bloodthirsty enemy whose presence terrified everyone.

7. The film was made on a limited budget and in two weeks.

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Spielberg had to Work with the facilities that are far and wide and get the best possible result with the least money and resources. Duel is a prime example of this, which was made with a budget of $ 400,000 and had a limited filming time. Some aspects of the film may seem crude, but the whole story fits in with the film's bold and serious sensibility, and critics have come to the conclusion that Spielberg has done the most with the least facilities. Many called it a high-quality economic film, and some said the Duel was a low-cost film that would surprise one.

The filming is said to have taken between 11 and 16 days. "I do not know how we made this film in eleven days," Spielberg said in an interview with Empire. I can not digest it. "We also worked non-stop, moving forward and not stopping for a moment."

In the same interview, Spielberg said of the fast-paced, non-stop filming of the duel: The actor I chose, Dennis Weaver, always had a sense of urgency and anxiety on his face, and throughout the filming, he followed in our footsteps and walked step by step. So did Jack Martha, my cinematographer. The whole group was practically running.

8. Truck roar and black swamp creature movie

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Steven Spielberg A number of movies about scary and deadly monsters Built, including Jaws and Jurassic Park. It can even be said that Duel is one of those films that has a completely different shape and inclination. It is no wonder, then, that the young Spielberg was inspired by old monster films to make the duel.

One of these films was 1954's "Creature from the Black Lagoon." Of course, this film affected the jaws more, but Spielberg used a small element of this film in the Duel and later used it in the jaws as well. Duel filmmaker George Exetin later said that they used the sound of a black swamp creature monster to make the truck roar in the duel. "I asked the voice of the Jaws to go to the archives and find the sound of a truck roaring in the movie Duel and use it for an underwater shark," he says.

9. Spielberg borrows camera used in Bullett

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And he was ambitious and fearless, and he took great risks to make his films in order to get the result he wanted, and it did not come short. We have heard many stories from behind the scenes of Jaws, but interesting things also happened during the making of the duel.

Makes chase scenes many times more normal. Spielberg used special techniques to film the scenes, including bringing in a special camera built for Steve McQueen's "Bullit." It was only 15 cm from the ground, and Spielberg could use it to take amazing shots.

"Spielberg says in an interview with Empire: We followed the scenes, and we had cameras on Dennis Weaver's red car, and we had cameras on the truck. "If four of our cameras were moving cars from right to left, we would have an extra camera that would do the opposite so that it would come in handy later when the cars were moving from left to right." "I have never worked with a director who uses more than two cameras," he said in a 2001 interview about Spielberg's ambitions while filming the climax of the duel. "Then this man brought six cameras to record the last scene."


Source: Looper

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