I want to dedicate this movie review to two people. First, Jim Tiroch, whose Cinetrains blog was a tremendous help researching this movie.
Second, my old roommate at college, John C. Mendenhall, Jr. “Mongo” used to walk around our dorm room in his shorts going, “HONK! HONKHONKHONKHONK! HOOOOOOONNNKKKK! just like the truck in this film.
Duel is an early example of what we now call “road rage”. Our protagonists are:
1 – David Mann (played by Dennis Weaver — MCCLOUD!!) driving his red 1970 Plymouth Valiant 4-door, California License Plate 149 PCE.
2 – “The Truck Driver” (played by Carey Loftin) driving a 1955 Peterbilt 285 with oil tanker trailer who is never actually seen clearly. The entire plot of the thing is the truck driver suddenly goes bonkers after being passed by the little red car.
Okay, you get the idea. Now, lets examine the train stuff. Southern Pacific Railroad provides the motive power, rolling stock and location (I believe the train scenes were filmed on SP’s line from roughly Saugus to Palmdale, California.). There are 3 separate encounters between combatants with Espee freight which we’ll examine.
Yaaarrrrgh! Dennis Weaver makes a great face inside his car as an SP freight train rolls by in the background. How about that triangular vent window to the left of McCloud’s snarling countenance? You don’t see those anymore…Continue reading