Duel

Duel was a TV movie that came out in 1971.

Steven Spielberg’s first full-length movie. It came out as a TV movie in the US but after some scenes were added it was released in theaters in Europe and Australia. It starred Dennis Weaver.

This movie was much better than your regular TV movie. Dennis Weaver was superb in it. Another star was the Truck itself. It had its own personality. This is one of the best TV movies ever made.

Steven Speilberg told Dennis Weaver at one time that he watches this movie at least twice a year to see what he did as far as techniques.

The story is simple but effective. It still works today.

It’s about a man who is driving to a business meeting and part of his journey is through the desert. He starts being followed by an ugly as hell diesel Peterbilt truck. The truck starts passing Weaver and then starts bumping him later on. The suspense in this movie is great. You cannot see the truck driver but he has plates from all over the US that makes you think he picks random people out and starts harassing them.

The movie reminds you of a Hitchcock film. The suspense builds and builds and you feel Dennis Weaver’s fear.

Weaver is run off the road by the truck and he sees a diner.

Weaver’s character stops at a diner and phones his wife about a fight they had the night before… He gets off the phone and thinks he finds the truck driver that’s been targeting him for miles inside the cafe…

If you like suspense movies the movie is worth a watch.

 

Night Gallery Pilot 1969

This is the pilot that started the television show Night Gallery. Rod Serling started this a few years after Twilight Zone. He didn’t have the control he did with Twilight Zone and it wasn’t as consistent but still had many good episodes. Personally, I think the pilot is the best. It’s three very well acted and written stories.

I was in Tampa Florida visiting some relatives. I was left alone in the living room and watched this. I had one eye covered with my hand…sometimes both. I was 6 at the time so I  do have an excuse.

My favorite story is The Cemetery. Roddy McDowall and Ossie Davis starred in this story that is the opener. Roddy plays a playboy who kills his uncle to inherit his fortune. Ossie plays the loyal butler who is still trying to do his job and stay loyal to his old boss. A painting of the family cemetery keeps changing and shows the uncle moving out of his plot slowly to the door. The story has a cool twist ending.

The second story is called “Eyes” which stars Joan Crawford. It was directed by a young Steven Spielberg. A blind terrible rich woman who would pay for someone’s eyes to see just for eleven minutes. After an illegal operation to transplant someone’s eyes in her the bandage is taken off and then a surprise.

The third story is called “Escape Route” about an ex-Nazi looking for peace in a painting at a museum. Very well acted and justice prevails.

 

For more details below is the Wiki description of each story

“The Cemetery”

Jeremy Evans is a despicable selfish young man who murders his rich uncle to inherit his estate, both much to the detriment of his uncle’s butler, Osmond Portifoy. Later, Evans notices that a painting of the family graveyard has changed – a fresh, empty grave appears in it and soon after a coffin standing upright appears in the grave. Little by little, the painting depicts the return of his uncle from his burial site, moving closer and closer, or so it seems, to Evans.

“Eyes”

Claudia Menlo is a heartless, wealthy blind woman who desperately wants to be able to see. Sidney Resnick, a hapless gambler who owes money to loan sharks, agrees to donate his eyes to her for the grand sum of $9,000. Her doctor, whom she blackmails into performing the illegal surgery, warns her that her vision will only last for about eleven hours. After the surgery, she removes the bandages from her eyes, and by a quirk of fate, there is a blackout seconds later. She awakens the next day to see the sunrise, but she panics when her sight quickly begins to fade.

“The Escape Route”

A Nazi fugitive named Joseph Strobe is constantly on the run from the authorities and his nightmares about the past. One day, while fleeing from imaginary pursuers, he finds himself in a museum where he meets Bleum, a survivor of the same concentration camp where Strobe made the decisions about who would live or die. Bleum does not initially recognize him, but points out a painting that depicts a man being crucified in a concentration camp. Strobe turns away; he is drawn to a painting of a fisherman, and imagines himself in the painting. When Strobe returns to the art gallery the next day, Bleum recognizes him as a Nazi, and later, outside a bar, Strobe kills him to ensure his own anonymity. Once again, Strobe must hide from authorities. In a state of desperation he returns to the museum and prays to become the fisherman in the painting, but dire consequences loom.