The Uncut Gems Podcast – Episode 24 (Duel)

For a bunch of weeks in a row now we have covered on The Uncut Gems Podcast movies that I hold up as bona fide masterpieces. I suppose you could accuse me of some kind of gerrymandering because it is ultimately in my power to decide what we talk about, but it just so happens that movies like Unstoppable, Vanishing Point, Death Proof and this week’s hero – Duel – fit into a theme and also, coincidentally, tend to be overlooked.

I would like to think that Duel should not really fall into the category of films nobody talks about based entirely on who it was directed by. However, despite the fact more and more people (especially of the younger ilk) pick it up as they venture deeper into Spielberg’s filmography, Duel continues to be underappreciated. Therefore, I think we did this movie justice during our own little talk (and I say ‘little’ because for a change we managed to wrap it in ca. 90 minutes) and highlighted its importance in Spielberg’s development as a filmmaker. Moreover, we connected Duel to a vast legacy of Alfred Hitchcock’s work and established it as a part of a template upon which the genre of slasher horror was eventually founded. Granted, the nature of this connection is complex and requires a perspective adjustment but it definitely overlaps in places with something like Halloween, but I’ll leave you to listen to the episode to see how we connected these dots. And most crucially, we also managed to connect Duel to Steven Spielberg’s breakout hit Jaws and I sincerely invite everyone to view this seemingly inconsequential made-for-TV movie, which I believe is a genuine masterpiece by the way, as a protoplast to the biggest blockbuster of its time (and maybe of all time, depending who you ask), which gives Duel a whole new layer of sheen.

Enjoy!

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