Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi action novel Dune made it the silver screen in 1984. That effort, you’ll likely recall, was directed by David Lynch, and starred Kyle MacLachlin as the messianic protagonist Paul Atreides who some 20,000 years in the future helps the Fremen residents of planet Arrakis wrest control of the Spice trade from some emperor with a weird name who is in cahoots with the Spacing Guild — at least, I think that’s what it was about.
The movie was not well-received by critics who regarded it as pretty much incomprehensible not to mention, in the era of HIV/AIDS becoming epidemic, a tad homophobic (specifically, the depiction of the villain Baron Harkonnen). Apparently, there was some studio meddling which forced Lynch to scale back his planned three-hour opus to two hours which made it virtually impossible to capture the sprawling immensity of Herbert’s imagined universe. But outside of hardcore Dune fans, the $40 million film is regarded as a huge stinker.
A decade earlier Chilean Director Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo) had started work on is own cinematic adaptation of Dune. Plans called for Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, David Carradine, Gloria Swanson and Salvador Dali to act in the film, which would feature music by Pink Floyd.
The film, of course, was never made. Now, Frank Pavich has a documentary out looking at Jodorowksy’s project. It screens tonight and Saturday at 9 p.m. and Friday and Sunday at 7 p.m. at the RPL Theatre. Here’s the trailer: