"Man is Chased by Truck"
That's pretty much the plot of DUEL, Stephen Spielberg's feature debut which is getting a deserved 50th anniversary release on DVD & Blu-ray from Fabulous Films. If you've never seen it the only other thing you really need to know is that it's brilliant - a true horror road movie where the only thing that matters is whether or not the central character - David Mann (Dennis Weaver) is going to survive being chased by the massive smoke-belching oil-dribbling articulated lorry whose driver takes a dislike to him when he overtakes it on a desert highway in California.
If you are a DUEL fan you'll already know it was made to be shown on US television and as such had to run 74 minutes to fit into a 90 minute time slot with commercials. However it very quickly achieved such a fine reputation that it was released theatrically in Europe where it had to run 90 minutes. Spielberg was allowed to go and shoot some extra footage (which doesn't feel extraneous at all and if it were not for the 35 minute interview with him included on the disc you'd never guess which bit it is). But that leads to the question - which version of DUEL is on this disc? The 74 minute TV version in 1.33:1 aspect ratio or the 90 minute cinema version in 1.85:1.
It's the cinema version, and no we don't get the TV version as an extra (and to be honest you don't really need it). Other extras include 9 minutes of Richard Mathesoin talking about his story and screenplay, and another 9 minute piece about Spielberg's work for American TV, some of which helped him secure the DUEL directing gig.
An acknowledged classic that did wonders for its director's career and no doubt influenced artists like Stephen King (Trucks!) and George Miller (when MAD MAX came out it was lauded for its placement of the camera on or so close to the vehicles but Spielberg uses many of those tricks here) Fabulous Films' transfer is sparkling and you even get some Graham Humphries artwork on the sleeve, reproduced on the free fold-out poster that comes with the disc. Very nice indeed.
Stephen Spielberg's DUEL is out on DVD & Blu-ray from Fabulous Films on Monday 31st May 2021