The Terminator (Cameron, 1984) & Duel (Spielberg, 1971): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.25pm
This is part of the Scala Forever season, a programme of 111 films at 26 venues through to October 2 that will celebrate the wonderful Scala cinema at King's Cross which closed in 1993. Here is an article I wrote in the Guardian on the history of the cinema and the season and here are the details of all the movies and special events on offer, via the Scala Forever website.
Chicago Reader review of The Terminator:
'James Cameron's resourceful low-budget thriller (1984) recalls the canny exploitation work of the old New World Pictures. Arnold Schwarzenegger is an automated hit man of the future sent back to present-day Los Angeles to eliminate the future mother (Linda Hamilton) of a rebel leader; her only hope is a bashful guerrilla fighter (Michael Biehn) who has followed Schwarzenegger back through time. Cameron's direction of the ensuing chase owes a lot to George Miller and John Carpenter (not to mention Chuck Jones), yet the characterization of the violence has something agonizingly original about it: Schwarzenegger is presented as a lumbering slab of dumb, destructive strength-the image is more geological than human-and Cameron plays his crushing weightiness against the strangely light, almost graceful violence of the gunplay directed against him. The results have the air of a demented ballet.'
'Spielberg's first film, superbly scripted by Richard Matheson, made for TV but booking its own place on the big screen: an absolute cracker about a salesman driving along the highway who gradually realises that the huge petrol tanker playfully snapping at his heels - apparently driverless - has more sinister designs. There are no explanations and no motivations, except perhaps for a hint of allegory in the script (the motorist's name is Mann) and an intriguing visual suggestion that this is the old, old battle between the shining, prancing, vulnerable knight and the impervious, lumbering dragon. Simply a rivetingly murderous game of cat and mouse that keeps you on the edge of your seat.