Nope, sadly not an actual trailer for Alejandro Jodorowsky’s legendary unmade adaptation of Frank Herbert’s DUNE (because it’s unmade, obviously), but a trailer for Frank Pavich’s documentary about the said non-movie. Clear enough? Good. It doesn’t get any less strange.
If you’re wondering why anyone would make 90-minute documentary about a movie that was never made, then you’ll probably need to watch this. If you’re a sci-fi fan of a certain age then the story of the film’s non-emergence is one of the great disappointments of cinematic history. In a world before STAR WARS (BSW), the already-cult Jodorowsky (EL TOPO anyone?) was going to make DUNE with the help of Chris Foss, Dan O’Bannon and a pre-ALIEN H.R.Giger. It was going to cost shed-loads, star Orson Welles, Gloria Swanson and Salvador Dali (no, really) and feature a soundtrack by Pink Floyd, Magma and even Henry Cow (oh, just look them up). The script, as written, would have given us a 14-hour movie. Oh yes, the ‘70s were a foreign country. It probably comes as no surprise to learn that this bonkers piece of cinematic-overstretching came to naught for “financial reasons”. Although, not quite “naught”.
Foss and Giger did a lot of drawings and the film has the dubious distinction of being the most influential unmade movie of all time. STAR WARS (1977) and ALIEN (1979) would not have been quite the same without it let alone the actual DUNE (1984) we finally got.
Would it have been as good as those of us with over-active imaginations like to think? Who knows? But its legendary status has given us this documentary which got pretty good reviews when it debuted at Cannes last year.
We suspect you may need to watch the listings of your local arthouse to see it. In the meantime here’s the trailer.
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