16th Feb2015

Back This! Special: The Devil on Wheels

by Phil Wheat


Feature-length documentary The Devil on Wheels – set to run a crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter from Wednesday 4th March, for 30 days on an all-or-nothing basis – looks at, and celebrates, the making of and the cult surrounding Duel, the first well known film created by Steven Spielberg starring the infamous protagonist Peterbilt 281 truck.

A small shot-for-TV film, Duel has astonished many by generating an ongoing cult for more than four decades amongst film fans and truck lovers, who will never forget the frightening Peterbilt unrelentingly chasing Dennis Weaver’s Plymouth Valiant. The 1971 film sees a terrifying tanker, whose driver we never see, for no apparent reason chases a lone driver along the desert roads of Southern California.

Why a tiny film, made cheaply and quickly for TV, has generated such a passionate, international and undying cult, is the question the documentary wants to answer… Duel fans from all over the world regularly visit the film locations in the desert next to Los Angeles. Film and truck lovers go to see the surviving truck in North Carolina. Film experts discuss its meanings. Would-be filmmakers analyse the way it was made. Even hailed director Alfonso Cuaron revealed he used Duel as a reference when he made Gravity.

The Devil on Wheels, named afer the Spanish translated title for the film, will find out what makes Duel so unique, looking deeply into the Duel’s phenomenon and in doing so, it will explore the power and fascination that films have on people: interviewing the surviving members of the crew, reconstructing the way the movie was made, and meeting other fans and experts to discuss the ongoing appreciation of the film. The documentary crew, led by director Enric Folch (Chining Me, Tempus Fugit) is planning to travel across the States driving exact replicas of the infamous tanker and the red Plymouth Valiant that co-stars in the film.


For more information about The Devil on Wheels and the crowd funding campaign, please visit the website www.thedevilonwheelsmovie.com and the Facebook page www.facebook.com/thedevilonwheels


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