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Kenneth Turan's film picks of the week: Spielberg's 'Duel' and Lucas' 'THX 1138'

August 12, 2010 |  7:30 am

THX 1138

Some directors are slow learners, picking up the craft as they go, but others seem to get it from the beginning. Christopher Nolan didn't have "Inception's" budget when he did "Following" in 1998, but his great ability was right there on the screen even then.

The same is true for Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, and the American Cinematheque's Aero Theater in Santa Monica offers an opportunity to see the proof. On Friday at 7:30 p.m. it's screening both Spielberg's 1971 "Duel" and Lucas' 1971 "THX 1138."

"Duel," originally made for TV, stars Dennis Weaver in the suspenseful tale of an ordinary guy hunted by a relentless truck and a malevolent driver whose face we never see. "THX 1138," starring Robert Duvall and Donald Pleasence in a 1984-type look at a futuristic world, is the bleakest film Lucas ever made.

-- Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times film critic

Photo: Robert Duvall and Maggie McOmie in George Lucas' 1971 film "THX 1138." Credit: Warner Bros.

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