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Post Along the Basel-Geneva Highway...
Created by John Eipper on 06/04/16 2:07 PM

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Along the Basel-Geneva Highway... (John Heelan, UK, 06/04/16 2:07 pm)

Anybody remember the film Duel with Dennis Weaver, in which a "a business commuter is pursued and terrorized by the malevolent driver of a massive tractor-trailer"?

My family and I has a similar experience when driving between Basel and Geneva one year. A large tractor-trailer was blocking the centre of the freeway for miles. Any time a car tried to pass, the driver would swerve the tractor section towards the passing car, roaring the engine to intimidate the passing driver. Eventually, I managed to slide by on the nearside when the tractor driver was swerving his vehicle at somebody daring to pass him on the offside. However for the next 10 miles I kept watching my rear-view mirror, expecting to see an angered road-beast tearing up behind me to take revenge. (In the film, the psychotic truck driver feels offended and chases Weaver along the empty highway trying to kill him. I think the truck was called "Christine" in the film, however we called the one on the Swiss highway a far more prosaic Anglo-Saxon word!

JE comments: Yikes. Somehow Switzerland is the last country in the world where I would expect to see such poor driving manners.  The made-for-TV Duel (just checked) was Steven Spielberg's first feature-length film.  Christine is a Stephen King novel and film, about an angry car--an aptly named 1958 Plymouth Fury.  

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  • Spielberg's "Duel"; from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA 06/05/16 1:13 PM)

    Gary Moore writes:

    My thanks to John Heelan (June 4) for providing the name of a movie
    that happened to rivet me long ago as a late-night TV rerun, back
    before cyber-info, so I never could puzzle out the title.  I now know
    from John's post that it was "Duel."

    The entire movie is about a big
    tractor-trailer truck chasing the car of a terrified motorist (Dennis Weaver)
    through ever-escalating face-offs on a winding highway. I thought:
    "What is this thing?" "Who could possibly have made such a movie?"
    You never see the truck driver's face, no indication of personhood at all.
    I thought: "Who in the world--what writer or director--could have grasped
    that he could get away with such prolonged symbolism?" We now know
    from John's post that this was the directorial debut of Steven Spielberg
    --making the leap to innovation through the logical back door: Truck Movie.

    I kept waiting to see the monster truck's malevolent driver--but then it was
    over. The terrified motorist, overpowered at every turn, had at last lured the
    behemoth over a cliff, and it lay smoking below him. That was all: man fights
    dragon, man is impossibly outmatched and can only flee, man thinks, dragon

    JE comments:  Man against Man, in modern times, becomes Man against Machine.  The very angry 1990s rock/hip-hop act Rage Against the Machine reportedly took its name from an unreliable 1979 Chevy van.  I've had vehicles like that.


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