Steel Notes Magazine December 2016 - Page 36

Steel Notes Magazine background takes off. It is a virtuoso Spielberg scare scene, anticipating the menace of the unseen shark in his very own “Jaws” three years later. A Snakerama gas station stop (also featured in Spielberg’s “1941”) that features rattlesnakes as its main attraction gets awry when David uses a payphone and sees the truck is headed right into it. David escapes in the nick of time (a cliffhanging moment that is as hair-raising as Indiana Jones’s own wondrous cliffhangers that Spielberg himself later directed) and the truck practically demolishes everything in its path. When David manages to elude the driver near a railroad crossing, he sits in his car for hours, feeling elated at the prospect that the nightmare is over. As soon as he starts his engine and leaves, he stops in the middle of the road and sees the truck yet again, waiting impatiently for the chase to continue. “Duel” is relentless, manic and in-your-face, a brutal nightmare that takes place in daylight. 35 years later after its debut on television, it still carries a hypnotic charge. The film could’ve been a bore had it been one endless chase scene but it’s got the presence of Dennis Weaver and an uglylooking truck to compensate, not to mention Spielberg’s tight direction and constant changes in composition so that you never feel you are looking at the same shot over and over again. It is “Jaws” on wheels only this sort of restless panic where road rage and aggression take center stage is a reality faced by many motorists daily, more so than the prospect of running into a 36 Steel Notes Magazine www.steelnotesmagazine.com December 2016