I just saw Duel for the first time on Saturday night. It’s Stephen Spielberg’s first film…and his best. This film seems like a good one to archive for the trouble blog; it provides a lot of critical commentary on the rapidly slipping position of the white, privileged, heterosexual male in the U.S in the 1970s and the trouble (anxiety, fear, terror) that this caused. Maybe I should amend my statement about this providing critical commentary–I don’t necessarily think that Spielberg intended it, but this film says a lot about gender, race, class and the limits of the American (capitalist) dream. He’s doesn’t so much offer up his own critical commentary as he provides, through this story about a man terrorized by a truck who relentlessly and inexplicably chases him on a remote highway in southern California, a space for the viewer to critically reflect. When I was in grad school , I took an awesome film class on Masculinity and Violence in 1970s Westerns, War and Boxing films. Duel would be a great one to watch for the western section. Hmm….now I want to dig up some of my notes from class.
Here’s an extended clip from Duel. I hope to return to this film and write more after the semester is over.
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