If you liked the 75 minute TV movie before being lengthened to the 90 minute Cinema edit, then this 45 minute will top that or at least up there with it.
This edit is one hell of a roller-coaster ride that never stops from beginning to end, edited really nicely and the cuts are unnoticeable.
Highly enjoyable and recommended
I'm about to go into the booth, guys, because it's confession time (really hope I'm not in Boston circa 2000). I had never seen Spiely's first movie. I'd heard about it, sure, and always meant to. Also, I knew that Duel was Maniac's first edit, very well-received and I'm a fan of pretty much all of his work. So I was browsing Amazon and saw the BD for less than ten bucks, I decided to remedy both of those problems. For the film itself, really liked it. Shot so extremely well that it makes sense who did it. For the edit:
A/V Quality - 10 - Looked great, enough said.
Visual Editing - 10 - Cuts seamless, never noticeable and I missed nothing taken out.
Audio Editing - 9 - Again, really well done. As has been mentioned, the one part with the voiceover is odd (watched the edit first and it came out of nowhere, however it did not bother my wife who had also never seen the theatrical cut. She thought he was starting to crack).
Narrative - 10 - All the padding is gone. I actually prefer the narrative in the edit because it well and truly is just all about the battle. It more closely fits Spielberg's stated intentions IMO. Anything else just isn't as interesting and thus detracts from the battle.
Enjoyment - 10 - It's a thrill ride, short and sweet. What more could you want?
Duel has never looked so good. I have the DVD version of the film and it's grainy and wonderful but I've never seen it looked so polished as edited by maniac51. Trimming out the husband/wife drama and extraneous plotlines works wonders for this film. I've loved this movie since I saw it as a kid but when I tried to show it to my wife she found it boring. I feel like this version will give me another chance to show her how good young Spielberg was. The editing is great. I've seen other reviews asking to cut the internal monologue. This didn't bother me at all, it could be cut but I don't see why it's a necessity to cut it out.
Duel, along with an episode in the original pilot for Night Gallery, launched Spielberg’s career. Ostensibly a TV movie, it has the feel and look of a theatrical release, specifically a roaring drive-in classic. The original length was around 70“ minutes, enough to fit the hour and a half Movie Of The Week slot. Later, it was padded out to 90“ with mostly needless scenes. Fan-editor maniac51 shaved this to 47“. Next to no dialogue, all subplots and unnecessary characters jettisoned. The result is a hard driving bullet.
Video - The original was shot for television. This has been cropped for 16X9 and looks terrific. Shot almost exclusively in desert scrub lands, the film always had a washed out, dusty look (as opposed to the vivid Technicolor used for The Invaders series). Editing consistently fine.
Audio - Two channel stereo, which was an improvement over the original mono. Dialogue, which is almost completely Weaver‘s character mumbling to himself, is easily understood. Little in the way of music score, aside from talk radio and radio static. Like Bullitt, the growl of engines is ample soundtrack.
Narrative - Quite cohesive and satisfying for a one-trick show. Neither the wife stuff nor the diner scenes, ever added to the story or made the character sympathetic (I’ll get to that). This edit boils down to a runt red car irritating, then provoking a rusty behemoth.
Enjoyment - Oh, God, yes! I caught the original when it originally aired and it was leaner and superior to the padded, extended version. This, even shorter than the original, is the best of all.
After this first aired, friends and I used to discuss this film at school. We loved that battered Peterbilt, belching exhaust, sporting license plates like trophies (though most semis had lots of plates back then). The scene where two beasts, the Peterbilt and the freight train, swap horn blasts was a capper.
Weaver’s character, Mann, was a wuss in our eyes. C’mon, he drove a Plymouth Valiant, for pete’s sake, the same car my grandmother drove. A Valiant was just barely better than a Corvair. Could It go 80 or 100 mph? No! It would have rattled to pieces long before. It was a cheap, crappy, economy car. No muscle, and no air-conditioning.
Even worse, Mann was a godawful driver. Forever rubber-necking instead of using his mirrors, sliding into curves instead of downshifting, never accelerating midway through the curves. He could barely control that punk car most of the time, and we all wondered if he was that way with family, friends, his job. Careful viewers will note scratches on his car BEFORE bush swipes and wrecks. Even in the suburbs, Mann was a lousy, probably distracted, driver. Weaver was great in this role, by the way.
Recommendation? Definitely - definitely - check this out.
Note to maniac51: Please make a smaller filesize version! 7.5 GB is WAY TOO BIG for this edit. Interested viewers might well dismiss it out of hand because they don’t want to download something this huge. Please, think about bandwidth restrictions. Thank you.
SEPTEMBER 2015 - maniac51 has since rendered a smaller filesize of this fun edit. This is much easier on the bandwidth and fence-sitters are well advised to hunt this down.
This edit was a rip-roaring roller coaster straight to the end!
From what the cut made sound like those scenes stop the movie in its track for long periods of time. The story is the truck vs car!