A Documentary Crew, a Truck and an Open Road
I discovered DUEL as a teenager, in a repertory cinema in Barcelona. That was October 21st, 1978. It cost me 100 pesetas. I still have the ticket.
When I watched DUEL it impressed me deeply. But I did not suspect that it would still impress me 35 years later. Time is usually a ruthless judge, but one would say that DUEL has passed its trial unscathed.
You can't justify its success with money, locations, stars, budget or explicit sex. It's a man, a car and an open road. Yet it has filled the heart of countless film fans the way only a selected few films can do. It's many people's favourite film. What makes it an even more special case is that it started as just a humble movie of the week. It was not supposed to hit the screens. It was not supposed to be remembered for generations. How does it do it?
DUEL's story is a story of passion. Passion is what shows the way they made the film. Passion is what shows the way fans feel about it. DUEL is a movie that has gone way beyond itself and the road that admirers have taken to prove their admiration for it seems to have no end.
I guess it was somehow Richard Matheson's death that definitively sparked this project. I had been researching it on and off, for a few years, but then Matheson's death in 2013 was a reminder that most people related to his film were disappearing and that's a rule I could not bend. Since the filming of this documentary, two of our interviewees, Sid Sheinberg (In charge of Universal television in the 70s) and Billy Goldenberg (The film's composer), have passed away.
A man, a truck, and an open road.
What's the magic?
TDOW Writer and Director