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Documentary The Devil on Wheels Pays Tribute to Spielberg’s Duel

Before he headed into the water and encountered a great white, Steven Spielberg took to the road and came face to face with a badass tanker truck in 1971’s Duel. Well over 40 years later, an upcoming documentary will celebrate the film, and we’ve got all the info for you today!

From the Press Release:
A feature-length documentary, THE DEVIL ON WHEELS will celebrate in 2015 the making and the cult surrounding Duel, the first well known film created by Steven Spielberg. A small shot-for-TV film, Duel has astonished many by generating an ongoing cult for more than four decades amongst film fans.

In Duel, a Movie-of-the-Week shot in 1971, a terrifying truck, whose driver we never see, for no apparent reason chases a lone driver along the desert roads of Southern California. Such was its success that the film was extended and distributed worldwide.

Duel fans from all over the world regularly visit the film locations in the desert next to Los Angeles. They go to see the surviving truck in North Carolina. Film experts discuss its meanings. Would-be filmmakers analyze the way it was made. Steven Spielberg’s first known work has become a top cinematic reference, an iconic piece of filmmaking, and its influence is still fresh to this day. Director Alfonso Cuaron revealed he used Duel as a reference when he made Gravity.

Why a tiny film, made cheaply and quickly for TV, has generated such a passionate, international, and undying cult is the question the documentary wants to answer. THE DEVIL ON WHEELS will find out what makes Duel so unique, looking deeply into the Duel’s phenomenon; and in doing so, it will explore the power and fascination that films have on people.

The documentary will be shot in the USA by a team of five international Duel lovers who will travel the country exploring the Duel phenomenon: interviewing the surviving members of the crew, reconstructing the way the movie was made, and meeting other fans and experts to discuss the ongoing appreciation of the film.

The Devil on Wheels Productions will run a crowdfunding campaign to allow fans to participate in the making of the documentary. The campaign will be on Kickstarter from Wednesday 4th March and will run for 30 days on an all-or-nothing basis. Duel has not only generated a cult amongst film fans, but amongst truck lovers too, for whom the protagonist Peterbilt 281 has become an icon.

The filmmakers have created a website, thedevilonwheelsmovie.com, which for the first time gathers in one place all Duel-related information to be found on the internet. The Facebook page facebook.com/thedevilonwheels will serve as a meeting point for the fans. An actual gathering with Duel fans is planned in one of the locations during the shooting of the documentary.

Director Enric Folch, a multi-award winning TV director in Spain, returns to documentary making after the excellent international reception of Chining Me, an ironical view on pre-Olympic China. His most successful TV film, Tempus Fugit, will soon have a theatrical remake through an international co-production.

The title of the documentary, The Devil on Wheels, is the straight translation of the Spanish title of Duel, and it’s been chosen as an homage to the worldwide recognition of the film.

The Devil on Wheels

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John Squires

I have a beard. And three cats.

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