BBC reading of the story made famous by Steven Spielberg’s film dramatisation.
Driving down a California highway at a safe 55 miles per hour, David Mann steps on the gas to pass a large gas hauling tractor trailer. Moments later, the truck is back, driving dangerously and dangerously tailgating Mann and abruptly cutting him off. For the next 90 minutes, Mann and the truckdriver are pitted against one another in a motorized duel to the death.
Author Richard Matheson conceived Duel after his own real life experience with a reckless trucker. The story first appeared in Playboy magazine, then was picked up for adaptation by the producers of The ABC Movie of the Week. The director chosen to lead the Duel project in Soledad Canyon was a 23-year-old Steven Spielberg, who’d shown promise on such series as Night Gallery and Columbo. Released to television on December 18, 1971, Duel was so popular that a somewhat longer version (with added violence and profanity) was prepared for theatrical release in 1983.