The M.O.W.'s Movie Review of Duel (1971)

Rating of

Duel (1971)

Bad -- even for a Made-for-TV movie
The M.O.W. - wrote on 08/01/08

On a deserted stretch of desert highway, "David Mann" (Dennis Weaver) is on his way to an important meeting. He eventually catches up with a slow-moving diesel truck, which he decides to pass by. This causes the truck driver to chase "Mann" down and try to kill him.

This is a very poor attempt at directing a movie that first appeared on television, then, with added footage, in theaters, by Steven Speilberg.

There is very little suspense, not to mention dialog in this movie. We do see some interaction with characters who are briefly on screen, but none advance the storyline at all.

We mostly get to watch Weaver's character as he drives down the highway watching out for the truck that is chasing him down. Even the shots of the car and truck from the outside of the vehicles are nothing to write home about. The scenery is desert, so there are no pedestrians on sidewalks or the sounds of any civilization.

Weaver is stuck with a poor script with a poor plot, and his performance shows. Even his performance in Gunsmoke is better.

Speilberg tried some somewhat interesting camera shots in one location, but he was limited with the road scenes. Thankfully he improves after this movie, and we now get some much better entertainment from him than we did when he filmed this movie.

There is little to no suspense in this movie. Weaver appears as if he is trying to make the stress of being rundown by a man with some serious road rage in a much larger vehicle believable, but it doesn't work.

I don't know what this movie was up against when it debuted on television, but I have a feeling that a lot of viewers changed the channel within the first five minutes -- if not sooner.

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