ByMatt Loftus, writer at Creators.co
Horror obsessed writer and Filmmaker, read my ramblings here and see my short films on YouTube:MattLoftus85
Matt Loftus

Have you seen Spielberg's FIRST movie?? if not your in for one hell of a ride i guarantee!!

Before Spielberg made JAWS which blasted him into the stratosphere of the filmmaking world he was an up and coming Director looking for projects.

Bruce the shark was having Steve for dinner!
Bruce the shark was having Steve for dinner!

He had a contract to work on TV movies and was allowed to pick and choose what he directed. He worked on big shows (at the time) Columbo and directed a segment called "Eyes" in the Pilot for Rod Serling's The Night Gallery opposite Joan Crawford.

This was just the tip of the iceberg however as he had his sights set on features and was on the prowl for such a project........then came Duel.

Joan Crawford helped Spielberg through the shoot
Joan Crawford helped Spielberg through the shoot

The year 1971 and a 23 year old Spielberg had the opportunity to direct Duel for ABC --- The rest, as they say, is history!

So let's go through 8 Things you (probably) didn't know about Duel....

1. DUEL was shot as a TV Movie first and after it's success was expanded from it's 74 minutes to 90 minute feature presentation.

Universal called Spielberg back to shoot additional scenes in order to make it a 90-minute film.

These new scenes were the railroad crossing, the school bus, the scene where David phones his wife and the opening scene where the car backs out of the garage and drives through the city.

Dennis Weaver couldn't believe it...
Dennis Weaver couldn't believe it...

2. The film was shot in LESS then 2 weeks!

To keep shooting costs down to the bare minimum, corners were cut to keep the budget under $500,000 and the projected 10-day shooting schedule intact. Duel’s estimated final budget came in at about $450,000, but principal photography was actually completed in about 12 or 13 days

A Deadly Stand-Off!...
A Deadly Stand-Off!...

3. The Film is based on the novella Duel by Richard Matheson who also wrote the screenplay.

Matheson had the idea on the day JFK was assassinated, as he and a friend drove home in shock they were menaced by a trucker that ran them off the road.

4. The Studio shut down Dennis Weaver's Series!

Main star Weaver was a household name for his work in features and role in a series called Mccloud. To star in Duel they stopped production of the series for over 2 weeks.

A real tough guy
A real tough guy

5. Spielberg tried to go to court over the footage!

As the movie was originally shot for TV, the studio later cut out sequences from Duel for their own TV shows. Most noticeably for an episode of The Incredible Hulk, which was also the property of the studio.

Spielberg created a clause in contract which forbids anything like this happening with his work again.

HULK SMASH YOUR PUNY MOVIE!!!!
HULK SMASH YOUR PUNY MOVIE!!!!

6. License Plates!

Somethings that's added a lot of depth for me personally is the fact about all those license plates on the front of the truck.

Spielberg states the maniac trucker has been killing people in different states of the country for years and this was his latest antics! pretty cool

If you can read those...your gonna DIE!
If you can read those...your gonna DIE!

7. Spielberg Cameo!

In the Phonebox sequence, a desperate Weaver tries to call the cops.

As he does we see a certain young director reflected in the door's frame.

Most likely due to the fact they shot so quickly and didn't have time to check rushes.

I see you....
I see you....

8. Dennis Weaver was cast 1 day before production!

Spielberg wanted Weaver to portray David Mann from the start as he was a fan of his work, most noticeably in Orson Wells 'A Touch Of Evil'.

However because of contractual obligations he literally signed the evening before production began, phew!!

That was a close one!
That was a close one!

Hope you enjoyed the trivia and if you did check out my 1 Minute Review below:

Still here? well your in luck!

Here's the Full Movie DUEL on YouTube, watch it in 720p it looks AMAZING!

You better hold on tight....cos your in for a bumpy ride ;)

Poll

What was YOUR favourite part in Duel?

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