Frank Herbert‘s 1965 science-fiction epic Dune had long been considered impossible to translate to film. Set 21,000 years in the future, in deep space, and on a planet made completely of sand (amongst gargantuan sandworms), it would require a budget of millions, special effects beyond the capabilities of the era, and more than all that, a director audacious enough to bring it to life.
In 1974, Chilean surrealist filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky was eager to accept the challenge. And while ultimately he wouldn’t succeed (where David Lynch eventually did, ten years later), his struggle to make Dune a reality would go down in history as one of cinema’s great “lost” projects.
Jodorowsky’s Dune, one of the best documentaries released in 2014 and a definite inclusion on my end-of-the-year “best of” list, is making its home video debut this week. In case you know nothing about Frank Pavich‘s entrancing and informative feature following the development and collapse of the greatest sci-fi motion picture never made – read our FamousMonster’s review here – the good folks at Indiewire have provided us with a mind-melting sequence from the film.
You can check out the 10-minute sequence here below.
Jodorowsky’s Dune Director: Frank Pavich
Cast: Alejandro Jodorowsky, Brontis Jodorowsky, H. R. Giger, Chris Foss, Michel Seydoux, Gary Kurtz, Nicolas Winding Refn, Drew McWeeny Sony Pictures Classics | Snowfort Pictures
Rated PG-13 | 90 Minutes
Release Date: April 25, 2014
“What is to give light must endure burning.” – Viktor E. Frankl
Directed by Frank Pavich, Jodorowsky’s Dune chronicles director Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s unsuccessful attempt to adapt Frank Herbert’s 1965 science fiction novel Dune in the ’70s. The documentary features interviews with the principal players involved in the failed ’70s adaptation as well as filmmakers and industry professionals who have been inspired by Jodorowsky’s legendary effort.
In 1973, film producer Arthur P. Jacobs optioned the film rights to Dune but died before a feature film could be developed. Two years later, the option fell into the hands of Chilean-French filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, known for avant-garde works like El Topo and Holy Mountain. Jodorowsky wanted to deliver a truly psychedelic experience with Dune – a film so mind-melting and illuminating, it would induce a hallucinogenic “trip” like LSD.
The latest trailer for the upcoming documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune has premiered. You can check it out here below.
Directed by Frank Pavich, Jodorowsky’s Dune takes an exhaustive look at the development and collapse of what is considered the greatest film never made – an epic adaptation of Frank Herbert‘s classic sci-fi novel Dune helmed by the Chilean surrealist filmmaker responsible for such mind-melting cult classics as El Topo, The Holy Mountain, and Santa Sangre – through contemporary interviews with Alejandro Jodorowsky, Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz, Drive/Only God Forgives director Nicolas Winding Refn, and many more.
The first clip from the forthcoming documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune has been released. You can watch it here below.
The universe works in perplexing ways, especially when it comes to the cinema. There have been more than a few books written about the great films that went unmade for a variety of complex and infuriating reasons. I own three of the best books about the subject: David Hughes’ The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made, Tales from Development Hell, and Chris Gore’s The 50 Greatest Movies Never Made. And every time I read about how we could have had a Spider-Man movie written and directed by James Cameron or a Marx Brothers comedy that would have paired the esteemed comedy trio with legendary filmmaker Billy Wilder or Arnold Schwarzenegger and Paul Verheoven’s medieval war epic Crusade I feel saddened.