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DUEL...Mistakes And Trivia



"Things To Look For The Next Time You Watch DUEL"


The film crew is reflected in the phone booth and table at Chuck's Cafe.

David Mann's glass of water at the cafe is half full after being drank seconds before.

The glass of beer being drank by the guy that gets his sandwich knocked out of his hand seems to fill itself up too.

Lettering on the freight train cars is in mirror image.

Lettering on the pest control car spells Grebleips, which is Spielberg backwards.

In the chase on the mountain grade, Spielberg can be seen in the rearview mirror of the Valiant when he's directing Dennis Weaver from the backseat.

In one scene at the end of the movie, the truck is shown in mirror image which shows the exhaust stack on the wrong side.

The driver's door on the truck is open when it goes over the cliff. Carey Loftin jumped seconds before it went over, but the door was supposed to be slammed shut. Instead, it swung wide open making some people wonder if there was going to be a sequel revealing that the murderous driver had survived. No sequel was made.

The Ted Mack/Jennifer Darling/DUEL Connection:

(1) In 1960 at the age of 14, Jennifer Darling appeared twice on the Ted Mack & the Original Amateur Hour.

(2) In DUEL (1971) David Mann (Dennis Weaver) is listening to the radio, with the announcer and caller talking about the Ted Mack & the Original Amateur Hour when he is nearly forced off the road by the Peterbilt.

(3) Coincidently, in 1978, Jennifer Darling guest stars in an episode of The Incredible Hulk where she is chased by the same Peterbilt.

The host on the radio asking about the survey, sounds like, and probably is actor William Daniels. He was the voice of KITT, the black Trans Am on Knight Rider, and played a doctor on St. Elsewhere.

Note: I have found that the above information about William Daniels being the radio host is incorrect.

In the second call, (caller plays meat) the radio announcer says "This is Mr. Whittington."

The radio announcer is Dick Whittington. IMDB Listing #2

IMDB says he was also in a Hulk episode.

More info on Dick Whittington from Wikipedia.

I believe the radio conversation is real and not just made for DUEL. In the first part he is calling a census help line as a joke and the lady agrees that it's okay for him to list his wife as the head of the household. He admits dusting the house while wearing a dress and slippers. She also agrees not to be a whippo when she gets married. I wonder if she ever watched DUEL later and realized it was her voice on David Mann's radio?

In many parts of DUEL, the truck's horn is bent, but later it isn't.

Peterbilts from the 1950's and 60's did not have front brakes. When they did get front brakes, some were equipped with a snow/rain switch that either cut out the front brakes or just reduced the braking force. This was to avoid front tire skids in bad weather.

When David Mann is in Chuck's Cafe, some strange things happen outside the window by his table:

(1) Right after he takes a drink of water, you can see a green and brown station wagon go down the highway just outside the window. This is the same station wagon that will swerve to miss Dave's car in the middle of the highway, later in the movie.

(2) Right after the silverware clatters on the table, a blue pickup truck is parked to the right of the DUEL truck. Later, when the guy walks out to his blue pickup, it's parked behind the DUEL truck.

(3) The DUEL truck also seems to get closer to the window, then farther away, then closer again, in this part of the movie.

David Mann has a picture of his family stuck on his sunvisor. Sometimes it's there and sometimes it isn't.

Try watching DUEL with the sound muted. The Closed Captioning is so detailed, it even describes the sounds that the DUEL truck makes, such as [Horn Blasting],[Truck Engine Revving], [Brakes Hissing] and more.

Did you ever notice how the DUEL truck almost always comes from the right to the left? This was no accident because according to experts right to left is psychologically more menacing to movie viewers. One theory says it's more menacing because this is the opposite direction of reading, and feels oddly unsettling to people.

In Terminator 2, there is a sequence when a semi-tractor, (driven by the bad guy), plunges off a bridge into an empty canal to chase the good guys. In post production for the film it was decided the original footage of this stunt had to be digitally manipulated because the semi was coming from left to right, as opposed to right to left.

The digital artists at I.L.M. even flipped the letters of the semi, selling the illusion completely that the truck was shot coming from right to left.

Maybe this explains why the lettering on the train in DUEL is reversed.

This right to left visual is also used by comic book artists and illustrators to make villains appear more menacing.

The small round mirror is on the hood above the grille on the DUEL truck so the driver can see how much smoke is coming out of the stack. If too much black smoke is being emitted, the driver knows he has to give it less throttle or shift gears. So how does the driver see the smoke at night? No problem, he just watches for a flame from the stack!

The mirror can also be used to see if the stack will avoid low clearance obstacles.

When David Mann is behind the truck, just before he pulls into the Snakerama, watch his mouth, he yells something at the truck. Credit goes to Bill for spotting this one.

At the Snakerama, when David Mann is running back to his car, he runs right by what appears to be the truck's battery box cover on the ground. Credit goes to Neil for spotting this one.

Notice that the animal tied up at the Snakerama is not a dog, but a coyote.

When the DUEL truck leaves the Snakerama, it hits some rough, bumpy ground next to the highway. The next part shows it a little closer to the camera and pulling onto the highway over much smoother ground.

After David Mann gets woke up by the train, he drives off. When he is driving down the road, it looks like someone off camera throws a light colored, stick-like object down the hill towards the RR tracks. This happens 30 seconds after he starts his car. No, it is not dust on the film. Credit goes to Chris for spotting this one.

At 20 minutes, 43 seconds into the movie when the DUEL truck is coming down the highway towards the camera, the headlight on the driver's side is missing. Credit: Chris.

At 9:31 when the attendant is wiping the Valiant's windshield, watch the truck driver's hand. He takes his hand off the steering wheel really fast. We're not supposed to see his hand move, but we do because the attendant doesn't block our view enough. Credit: Chris.

At 25:28, 42:27 and 42:54 the waitress is looking out the window of the door at Chuck's Cafe. Credit: Bill.

David Mann always pulls in on the wrong side of the gas pumps. Credit: Bill.

At 56:07 the Snakelady has a BAND-AID® on her neck. Credit: Bill.

Several times in the movie, the truck's horn blows even though the driver isn't pulling on the horn's cord. Credit: Bill.

At 1:13:03 there are two wires hanging from the box on the rear of the cab. This is the only part of the movie that these are shown. It's possible these are wires supplying power to a camera in the box to film out the windshield. Credit: Bill.

In the school bus and railroad crossing parts, the Peterbilt has Kenworth mudflaps.

At 1:22:58 the truck almost comes to a complete stop going up the hill. You can tell by the smoke coming out of the stack that it appears that the driver missed a shift. Credit: Chris.

The above trivia comment is disputed. An alternative explanation is that the driver doesn't miss a shift, but is actually changing the rear two speed drive axle to a lower gear. " Changing the two speed axle is very quick, a stab of the clutch pedal as you flip the switch and it's done. It takes little more than a second or so, and that scene captures it perfectly." "Listen to to the quick engine tone change, it's almost like she's auto, and how she gives a jerk as the lower gear engages and takes the load." Credit: Bob.

When the truck pushes the Valiant off the cliff, the hood is missing and the roof is already crumpled and burnt. This is because on the first attempt, the Valiant went over the cliff, but the truck got hung up. The Valiant had to be winched back up and pushed off again, this time with the truck going over too. Credit: Chris.

At 50:47 the Valiant is on pavement. At 51:18 it hasn't moved, yet it's tires are slipping on gravel.

At 1:00:46, watch for the reflection in the broken glass, of horses running by.

At 1:22:27 you can see that it's not Dennis Weaver driving the Valiant before it crashes into the dirt bank. Credit: Chris.

When the Valiant is running over the tumbleweeds, watch the truck's windshield and you can see Carey Loftin pull the rope for the air horn. Credit: Bill.

Watch carefully when Dennis Weaver is in the phone booth when he says "this, this number is 9821" you can see that the numbers you hear and the numbers that come out of his mouth are different. Credit: Bill.

When viewing DUEL on DVD, it makes a difference if you have Dolby sound turned on or not.

In the 1st chase scene just before Chuck's Cafe, the truck bumps the car 3 times. In Normal sound mode the truck only bumps the car once.

At 1:17:31 the car hits something in the road if you have Dolby on.

When the truck crests the Summit, the brake lights come on.

With Dolby on, a lot of the truck engine noises are the sound of a Jake brake, even when accelerating. Credit: Chris.

Many times in DUEL, the truck and the Valiant go down the same stretch of highway more than once. They also go back over the same railroad crossing in the opposite direction. At 22:27 and 24:17 the truck goes around the same curve in the highway. At 24:17 watch for the pickup truck that moves way over to the shoulder when he sees the DUEL truck coming the other way.

There's no wires going to the phone booth. Credit: Bill.

At 58:51 there's water on the highway, but seconds later it's dry.

At 1:22:21 the dirt road is wet with dry spots, but at 1:22:31 it's completely wet again.

At the Snakerama, the snakelady opens the hood before she's been asked to check the radiator hose. Credit: Bill.

At 9:26 the windshield cleaner is sprayed on from the left side, but the attendant appears from the right side seconds later. Credit: Bill.

At 14:35 there's a shirt and glasses on the area by the rear window of the Valiant. A little later they're gone. Credit: Bill.

At about 23:58 if you watch very carefully at the windshield, you can see the truck driver reach for the horn's cord. Credit: Bill.

At 41:23 just before the truck starts, a fly walks across David Mann's hand. Credit: Bill.

At 54:30 the Valiant seems to come to a complete stop, yet seconds later it's rolling again. Credit: Bill.

When the DUEL truck is tearing up The Snakerama, the snake lady is holding the radiator hose, then she's holding a stick, then she's holding the radiator hose again. Credit: Chris.

When the Valiant's bumper is hung up on the school bus you can see that the front license plate is not attached with any bolts. Credit: Monty.

When the truck is pushing the Valiant towards the cliff, you can see what looks like a bulldozer at the top left of the screen. Maybe this was used to pull the wreckage back up the cliff. Credit: Bill.

At about 5:28 when David Mann first gets behind the truck, it looks like the trailer's right taillight isn't working. Later in the movie, the taillight is working. Credit: Rachael Meller.

When the truck is first parked outside Chuck's Cafe, the front wheels are turned. Later, the wheels are straight. Credit: Rachael Meller.

In the 1963 movie 'It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World' there's a scene in which a jeep emerges from the Duel tunnel to roll over in more or less the same place where the school bus had stopped. The stunt driver was Carey Loftin. Credit: Alastair.

The movie Moving Violation seems to feature scenes filmed in the same area, and maybe even a scene in the same diner. Credit: Brian

When David skids across the highway after seeing the truck, a station wagon snakes past him. As the car passes, David Mann vanishes from the drivers seat! It looks like there is a shirt, or someone crouching down (possibly the stunt driver?) where he sat, but there is certainly no driver visible in the Valiant for a split second. Credit: Steve

When David man is sleeping at the railroad crossing, the approaching locomotive sounds like a truck shifting gears. Locomotives have no gears! Credit: Ken


The above trivia is disputed.

This is not correct as the sound of the truck (instead of the train) is supposed to be part of David Mann's dream (and the audience's suspense) that the truck is coming from behind, hence his relief when he realises it is only the train
Credit: Mousey


When the bumper first gets stuck under the bus, you can see a reflection in the bus's bumper of the camera crew. About 45:55. Credit: Kitt

More DUEL Trivia And Goofs At IMDB



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