Doesn't the title of the list explain it well enough? This is a list of hight quality "short" films. Easy…
Fear is the driving force.
Travelling businessman, David Mann, angers the driver of a rusty tanker whilst crossing the Californian desert. A simple trip turns deadly as Mann struggles to stay on the road while the tanker plays cat and mouse with his life.
Steven Spielberg's feature film debut is a highly underrated masterpiece which presents the master director making remarkable use of his talent, creativity & passion for filmmaking to craft a mystery-thriller that remains nail-bitingly tense from start to finish and is the first entry in what would later become one of the most celebrated film careers of all time.
Initially conceived as a TV film & later turned into a full-length theatrical, Duel concerns a business commuter who is stalked & terrorized by a psychotic truck driver throughout the Californian desert highway for no specified reasons. The story is mostly narrated visually & makes minimal use of dialogues or music yet there is an eerie atmosphere it retains throughout its runtime which is brilliantly executed.…
Duel is probably the most literal example of "nightmare fuel" I have ever seen.
Despite the TV movie limitations, Steven Spielberg has managed to convey an illogical yet completely visceral thriller better than most filmmakers today. And considering that this is widely recognized as his feature debut, that's even more impressive. The masterful editing, carefully planned shots, and insane premise create an engulfing atmosphere that only gets more tense as it goes along. Not to mention, the fact we never see the truck driver adds a sense of mystery to the proceedings, therefore placing the audience in the same point of view as our protagonist.
Watching this, I got the impression that Spielberg wanted to create the perfect picture of…
I'd like to report a truck driver who's been endangering my life.
Duel is a travelers worst nightmare.
Sure you can get caught by a murderous band of backwoods cannibals, but at least you have a chance to escape.
One of my worst nightmares is one that involves me being pursued relentlessly by an unstoppable enemy without anyone else to help. I mean nightmares in a literal sense.
I've had that nightmare before.
It was called Terminator.
But seriously, there is just something so dreadful and tense about a chase that will never end. The situation breathes urgency and wits into the characters and gives them a fight for their life that only exists in films. This is a scenario…
Steven Spielberg's directorial debut is, surprisingly, one of his best films. Based on a short story, this made for TV film actually got a limited theatrical release when it was made as well, and has recently hit blu-ray, and I must say that the transfer is stunning. Being a TV movie, the film is actually changed from its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio to the modern 1.85:1 ratio, making it look more like a natural modern television program for modern widescreen TVs. The HD quality really makes the film look even more like a natural TV movie, and I loved the "soap opera effect" that the high frame rate my TV gave off produced.
Dennis Weaver's psychologically fascinating role as David…
Road rage is taken to the psychotic extreme in Steven Spielberg's made-for-TV movie Duel from 1971. A film that, despite its 450,000 dollar budget was well made enough to eventually get a theatrical release. Dennis Weaver plays a travelling salesman, who ends up in a highway cat and mouse game with a trucker who seems intent on killing him. I saw this once on TV as a kid, but I did not remember more than the basic plot and that it captivated me at the time. I rewatched it on Blu-ray and was interested to see if the plot was really as suspenseful as I recalled or if it would just grow tedious. Duel could easily have been a terrible…
Not so long ago on Twitter there was a hashtag meme going around called #verylastfilm, to which I gave the answer Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. A fine answer, it will always be one of the greatest films to my mind ever made, yet the answer I should have given was the Steven Spielberg film everybody forgets, his very first: Duel. You see it was my very first film too, well to some extent. Back in the 1980's as a young boy, my love of cinema was formed by several different kinds of films I first saw at a very young age - some were science-fiction such as Star Trek, others action such as James Bond or adventure such…
Spielberg's (eventual) theatrical debut, a Hitchcockian Twilight Zone episode teased out to feature length, sees the cocky young punk already letting rip with a fearlessly kinetic camera and lughole-troubling sound design. You can see him experimenting with lenses to remarkable effect, and his natural eye for a shot is, at this stage, an unhoned but powerful tool.
The story seems to me to be a hugely unsubtle metaphor about threatened masculinity, with the beefy, macho truck being the first of Spielberg's unstoppable forces (cf. sharks, dinosaurs, Nazis) to be overcome if man - or, in this case, Mann - is going to win back his place in the world. A little repetitive and overlong in places, it's still the best film to feature a roadside garage-slash-herpetarium (its only competition, as far as I know: Spielberg's own 1941).
Duel is what happens when you combine Hitchcock film-making sensibilities, Twilight Zone level writing, and a young Steven Spielberg hungry to make his mark within the world of film. It’s brilliant, tense, occasionally terrifying and maddening all at the same time. A ‘what if’ scenario that will grab your attention and have you mentally drawing up your own plans – just in case a homicidal maniac in a monstrous old truck comes gunning for you!
At times it feels experimental, as Spielberg cuts between tight close-ups of meaningless objects and tracking shots of the open road. But despite that occasional unevenness, this Made-for-TV movie is a real treat. A story (according to the DVD commentary from Spielberg and Matheson) designed…
Some of the acting and voicework was terrible. Otherwise, I was pretty impressed.
For such a simple story, there's a lot going on here in terms of social commentary of the 1960s, Freudian discourse, and the deconstruction of masculinity. But if you like automobiles, well, it's got that too.
Steven Spielberg is a genius since day one. Duel is an excellent thriller.
Steven Spielberg's first feature film is the nightmarish odyssey of a motorist on a desolate freeway who finds himself stalked and traumatized by the monstrous truck on his tail. What is essentially one long chase sequence (with a few pit stops along the way), is turned into a masterful thriller by the surprisingly novice Spielberg, with camerawork both gritty and visceral, and editing that keeps you on the edge of your seat. And Dennis Weaver, playing our nebbish hero, is perfectly cast as the stand-in for any man who ever felt his masculinity threatened. But the real stroke of genius is keeping the truck driver hidden from our view, the result being that whatever evil he represents can only be explained by the deeper recesses of our own minds. The end result, like the best of Hitchcock, is both terrifying and comical, with enough sexual innuendo to make Freud blush.
SAW IT AT TERROR TUESDAY
This is the first time that Steven Spielberg got to show his greatness. One of the best chase scene movies. I love that the truck is depicted like a monster.
My hair fell out.
Gripping chase film. The 20th century, beta male version of Mad Max.
Very cool to see where Spielberg started. I like this and Jaws more than anything else he's done.
Some nice camera work. You really have to get inventive to keep the audience on the edge of their seats through ninety minutes of almost unbroken car chases.
The final shot of the sunset is very striking.
Listed in the chronological order he watched them.
Movies Soderbergh watched multiple times this year:
Magic Mike XXL x3
This list is the Letterboxd version of The Oxford History of World Cinema.
The book celebrates and chronicles over one…