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The Best of All Unmade Movies?

‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’ tells the story about a movie that couldn’t

April 22, 2014, 12:00 am

Lots of movies don’t get made. In his book A Pound of Flesh, producer Art Linson spends a chapter on a film called Arrive Alive that was shut down after a few weeks of production.

Director Alejandro Jodorowsky only made it to pre-production with his adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune. In the mid-1970s, he assembled a dream production team (including HR Giger, Chris Foss, Jean Giraud and Dan O'Bannon) and a ridiculous cast (Salvador Dalí, Orson Welles and Mick Jagger) for what is now probably the most famous never-made movie in the history of cinema. Only Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon rivals Jodorowsky’s Dune.

And what a movie Dune may have been! Jodorowsky and the other artists involved tell their side of the story, and Jodorowsky’s vision was gargantuan. It’s no wonder no studio would pull the trigger on the $15 million production (as producer Michel Seydoux says, in the 1970s, $15 million was a fortune).

Talented windbag Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) posits the theory that the studios were afraid of Jodorowsky’s Dune, which can only be half true: They were afraid they’d lose money. Who could be afraid of a vision? And to hear Jodorowsky talk—he certainly had the passion. The chops? We’ll never know, and we’re stuck with that piece of crap David Lynch made.

Directed by Frank Pavich
With Jodorowsky, Michel Seydoux, and HR Giger
CCA Cinematheque


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