DePaul University College of Communication > Academics > Research & Lectures > Publications > Awalt: Steven Spielberg and Duel

Steven Spielberg and Duel: The Making of a Film Career (2014)

Steven Spielberg and Duel: The Making of a Film Career
Since the early 1970s, Steven Spielberg has directed more than two dozen films, many of which have achieved classic status. In addition to critical and commercial successes that include E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, and Lincoln, Spielberg’s name has become synonymous with such thrilling adventure films as Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, and Minority Report. Before he became a world-renowned filmmaker, however, Spielberg established himself on television, helming episodes of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery; Marcus Welby, M.D.; and Columbo. But it was the small-screen version of a Richard Matheson short story that brought the young director’s work to the attention of critics and viewers alike.

In Steven Spielberg and Duel: The Making of a Film Career, Steven Awalt provides an exhaustive study commemorating the film that decisively launched the career of a major film artist. Through in-depth research and interviews with the film’s creative and technical crew, the author tracks the film from genesis through production to release. Awalt conducted lengthy one-on-one interviews with Spielberg, Matheson, assistant director James Fargo, editor Frank Morriss, composer Billy Goldenberg, former MCA/Universal president Sidney J. Sheinberg, and writer-producer Steven Bochco, among others.

Spielberg provided access to many rare documents from his archives, including multiple drafts of Duel’s teleplay, the shooting schedule, shooting logistics breakdowns, and production correspondence. The first book-length examination of this important production in the director’s early career, Steven Spielberg and Duel also includes the original teleplay by Matheson, four additional scenes created for the international theatrical release of the film, photos, and storyboards of the film’s final sequence. A fascinating look behind the scenes of an acclaimed work, this book will interest not only scholars and film historians but anyone interested in the work of Richard Matheson and Steven Spielberg.

Mr.  Awalt is the College of Communication's web content administrator. He earned his MA in Media and Cinema Studies from the college, and is currently working on finishing his MFA in Film - Directing in DePaul University's School of Cinematic Arts.