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Dune (1984) - Illustrated Reference
Dune was directed by David Lynch and premiered on 14th December 1984. Starring Kyle Maclachlan, Francesca Annis, Jurgen Prochnow, Max Von Sydow, Sean Young, Everett McGill, Patrick Stewart, Freddie Jones, Dean Stockwell, Richard Jordan, Sian Phillips, Jose Ferrer, Virginia Madsen, Kenneth McMillan, Paul Smith, Sting, Brad Dourif, Jack Nance, Linda Hunt and Alicia Witt. Screenplay by David Lynch, based on the novel by Frank Herbert. Music by Toto. 137mins (177mins)
Science Fiction author Frank Herbert (1920-1986) wrote Dune in 1965, it won Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novel of the year. One of the most acclaimed sci-fi novels Dune has sold over 12 million copies making it the biggest selling science fiction novel of all time.
Frank Herbert wrote 5 sequels to Dune before his death in 1986 – Dune Messiah (1969), Children of Dune (1976), God Emperor of Dune (1981), Heretics of Dune (1984) and Chapterhouse: Dune (1985).
Planet of the Apes producer Arthur P. Jacobs first optioned the rights to film Dune in 1973 and died before the project got started, a French company picked up the rights in 1974 and asked Chilean-French filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky if he was interested in filming it, he was enthusiastic and started pre-production on the film.
But after spending nearly $10m on pre-production the project was cancelled due to financial problems, and the script by that stage would have resulted in a 14 hour movie -- “it was the size of a phonebook” according to Herbert.
Paul: Some thoughts have a certain sound, that being the equivalent to a form. Through sound and motion you will be able to paralyze nerves, shatter bones, set fires, suffocate an enemy or burst his organs. We will kill until no Harkonnen breathes Arakeen air.
Kyle MacLachlan (1959-) / Paul Atreides
Born in Yakima, Washington, Kyle MacLachlan’s films include – Blue Velvet (1986), The Hidden (1987), The Doors (1991), Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992), The Flintstones (1994), Showgirls (1995), Hamlet (2000), Timecode (2000) and The Smell of Success (2009). TV series – Twin Peaks (1990-1991), Desperate Housewives (2006-2012).
Francesca Annis (1945-) / Lady Jessica
Born in London, England, Francesca Annis films include – Cleopatra (1963), Macbeth (1971), Krull (1983) and Revolver (2005).
Duke Leto Atreides: Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.
Jurgen Prochnow (1941-) / Duke Leto Atreides
Born in Berlin, Germany, Jurgen Prochnow’s films include – Das Boot (1981), The Keep (1983), Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), The Seventh Sign (1988), The Fourth War (1990), Body of Evidence (1993), In the Mouth of Madness (1994), Judge Dredd (1995), The English Patient (1996), Air Force One (1997), The Replacement Killers (1998), Wing Commander (1999) and The Da Vinci Code (2006).
Max Von Sydow (1929-) / Dr. Kynes
Born in Lund, Sweden, Max von Sydow’s films include – The Seventh Seal (1957), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965 as Jesus), The Exorcist (1973 as Father Merrin), Three Days of the Condor (1975), Flash Gordon (1980 as Ming the Merciless), Victory (1981), Conan the Barbarian (1982), Never Say Never Again (1983 as Blofeld), Dreamscape (1984), Needful Things (1993), Judge Dredd (1995), Minority Report (2002), Shutter Island (2010), Robin Hood (2010) and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011).
Chani: Tell me of your homeworld, Usul.
Sean Young (1959-) / Chani
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Sean Young’s films include – Stripes (1981), Young Doctors in Love (1982), Blade Runner (1982), No Way Out (1987), Wall Street (1987), Fire Birds (1990), A Kiss Before Dying (1991), Love Crimes (1992), Fatal Instinct (1993), Ace Ventura Pet Detective (1994), Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde (1995) and The Man Who Came Back (1998).
Paul: Stilgar, do we have wormsign?
Stilgar: Usul, we have wormsign the likes of which even God has never seen.
Everett McGill (1945-) / Stilgar
Born in Miami Beach, Florida, Everett McGill’s films include – Brubaker (1980), Quest for Fire (1981), Silver Bullet (1985), Heartbreak Ridge (1986), Licence to Kill (1989), The People Under the Stairs (1991), Under Siege 2 (1995) and The Straight Story (1999). TV series – Twin Peaks (1990-1991).
Patrick Stewart (1940-) / Gurney Halleck
Born in Yorkshire, England, Patrick Stewart’s films include - Excalibur (1981), Lifeforce (1985), The Doctor and the Devils (1985), Star Trek Generations (1994), Star Trek First Contact (1996), Conspiracy Theory (1997), Star Trek Insurrection (1998), Moby Dick (1998), The Prince of Egypt (1998), A Christmas Carol (1999), X-Men (2000), Star Trek Nemesis (2002), X-Men 2 (2003), The Lion in Winter (2003) and X-Men 3 (2006).
Freddie Jones (1927-) / Thufir Hawat
Born in Staffordshire, England, Freddie Jones films include – Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969), Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973), The Elephant Man (1980), Firefox (1982), Krull (1983), Firestarter (1984), Young Sherlock Holmes (1985), Erik the Viking (1989), Wild at Heart (1990) and The Count of Monte Cristo (2002).
Dean Stockwell (1936-) / Dr. Wellington Yueh
Born in Hollywood, California, Dean Stockwell’s films include – Anchors Aweigh (1945), Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), Kim (1950), Sons and Lovers (1960), The Dunwich Horror (1970), The Werewolf of Washington (1973), Paris, Texas (1984), To Live and Die in LA (1985), Blue Velvet (1986), Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), Tucker: The Man and his Dreams (1988), Married to the Mob (1988), Catchfire (1990), Air Force One (1997), The Rainmaker (1997) and The Manchurian Candidate (2004). TV series – Quantum Leap (1989-1993).
Richard Jordan (1937-1993) / Duncan Idaho
Born in New York City, Richard Jordan’s films include – Lawman (1971), Chato’s Land (1972), The Yakuza (1974), Logan’s Run (1976), Raise the Titanic (1980), The Secret of my Success (1987), The Hunt for Red October (1990) and Gettysburg (1993).
Jose Ferrer (1912-1992) / Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV
Born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Jose Ferrer’s films include – Joan of Arc (1948), Cyrano de Bergerac (1950), Moulin Rouge (1952), The Caine Mutiny (1954), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), Ship of Fools (1965), The Big Brawl (1980), To Be or Not to Be (1983) and The Evil That Men Do (1984).
Virginia Madsen (1961-) / Princess Irulan
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Virginia Madsen is the sister of Michael Madsen, her films include – Electric Dreams (1984), Creator (1985), Mr. North (1988), The Hot Spot (1990), Highlander II The Quickening (1991), Candyman (1992), The Prophecy (1995), The Rainmaker (1997), The Haunting (1999), Sideways (2004), Firewall (2006) and The Haunting in Connecticut (2009).
Baron Harkonnen: I will have Arrakis back for myself! He who controls the Spice controls the universe and what Piter did not tell you is we have control of someone who is very close, very close, to Duke Leto! This person, this traitor, will be worth more to us than ten legions of Sardaukar!
Feyd-Rautha: And who is this, traitor?
Baron Harkonnen: I won't tell you who the traitor is, or when we'll attack. However, the Duke will die before these eyes and he'll know, he'll know, that it is I, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, who encompasses his doom!
Kenneth McMillan (1932-1989) / Baron Vladimir Harkonnen
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Kenneth McMillan’s films include – The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974), Borderline (1980), Ragtime (1981), Cat’s Eye (1985), Runaway Train (1985) and Three Fugitives (1989).
Paul Smith (1939-) / The Beast Rabban
Born in Everett, Massachusetts, Paul Smith’s films include – Midnight Express (1978), Popeye (1980 as Bluto), Red Sonja (1985), Crimewave (1985), Haunted Honeymoon (1986) and Maverick (1994).
Piter De Vries: It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the juice of Sapho that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire stains, stains become a warning. It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
Brad Dourif (1950) / Piter De Vries
Born in Huntington, West Virginia, Brad Dourif's films include - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), Eyes of Laura Mars (1978), Blue Velvet (1986), Child's Play (1988), Mississippi Burning (1988), The Exorcist III (1990), Color of Night (1994), Alien Resurrection (1997), Lord of the Rings II The Two Towers (2002 as Grima Wormtongue) and Halloween (2007).
Sting (1951-) / Feyd Rautha
Born in Newcastle, England, Sting’s films include - Quadrophenia (1979), Brimstone & Treacle (1982), The Bride (1985 as Dr.Frankenstein), Julia and Julia (1987) and Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels (1998).
Alia: And how can this be? For he is the Kwisatz Haderach!
Alicia Witt (1975-) / Alia
Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Alica Witt's films include - Mr. Holland's Opus (1995), Urban Legend (1998), Cecil B. DeMented (2000), Vanilla Sky (2001), Two Weeks Notice (2002) and 88 Minutes (2007).
"The beginning is a very delicate time. Know then that it is the year 10191. The Known Universe is ruled by the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV, my father. In this time, the most precious substance in the universe is the spice Melange.
The spice extends life. The spice expands consciousness. The spice is vital to space travel. The Spacing Guild and its navigators, who the spice has mutated over 4,000 years, use the orange spice gas, which gives them the ability to fold space. That is, travel to any part of universe without moving.
Oh, yes. I forgot to tell you — the spice exists on only one planet in the entire universe. A desolate, dry planet with vast deserts. Hidden away within the rocks of these deserts are a people known as the Fremen, who have long held a prophecy that a man would come, a messiah who would lead them to true freedom. The planet is Arrakis, also known as Dune.
- Opening Introduction -
Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis bought the rights to Dune in 1978 and hired Ridley Scott to direct. After much planning Scott realised it would take years to finish the film and walked away from the project.
After seeing The Elephant Man Dino’s daughter Raffaella De Laurentiis suggested David Lynch as director of Dune. Lynch accepted the job turning down an offer from George Lucas to direct Return of the Jedi.
David Lynch (1946-) worked on the film for 3 years, writing the screenplay as well as directing. Raffaella De Laurentiis was producer.
Dune was filmed at Churubusco Studios in Mexico City, 80 sets were built, 200 workers spent months clearing miles of Mexican desert for location shooting. The production crew numbered 1,700.
Filming began on 30 March 1983 and finished on 27 January 1984.
Michelle Pfeiffer was considered for the role of Princess Irulan.
John Hurt was considered for Dr. Yueh.
David Lynch has a cameo as a radio operator in the scene where Duke Leto and Paul rescue spice miners from an approaching sandworm.
Lynch had intended the film to be about 3 hours long but Universal studios demanded a cut of around 2 hours to maximise cinema showings. The film was cut down to 137mins and many scenes, some important, were removed.
Preview audiences were confused by the film and new scenes were filmed to clarify plot developments, an opening introduction by Virginia Madsen was added and voice over narration was included where necessary.
A 3-hour extended cut of Dune was prepared for American TV without David Lynch’s participation, he disowned this version taking his name of the credits and the pseudonym Alan Smithee was used.
In the extended version Patrick Stewart as Gurney Halleck is seen playing a musical instrument, the baliset, this is a customised version of a real instrument called a Chapman Stick created in the early 70’s by Emmett Chapman.
Thufir Hawat’s death was filmed but edited out of the theatrical version and not included in the extended version either. It can be seen as a deleted scene on the DVD.
American rock group Toto composed the music for Dune, one of the best soundtracks of 1984. It was their first and only film score. One of the tracks – Prophecy theme – was composed by English musician Brian Eno.
Dune received one Oscar nomination, for Best Sound.
Dune was nominated for 4 Saturn awards – Best Science Fiction Film, Best Make-Up, Best Special Effects and winning for Best Costumes.
Dune cost $40m and grossed $30.9m in North America, the numbers for worldwide grosses unavailable.
Two sequels were planned for the film presumably based on Frank Herbert’s Dune Messiah and Children of Dune, but when the film failed to ignite at the box office hopes for sequels were dashed.
Despite being a financial flop Dune is still David Lynch’s biggest grossing film to date. His second biggest hit is The Elephant Man (1980) which was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director.
Dune was adapted as a TV mini-series in 2000 premiering on the Sci-fi Channel, directed by John Harrison and starring William Hurt as Duke Leto, Alec Newman as Paul Atreides, Saskia Reeves as the Lady Jessica, Julie Cox as Princess Irulan and Ian McNeice played the floating fat man Baron Vladimir Harkonnen.
A sequel to the mini-series appeared in 2003 – Children of Dune – also directed by John Harrison, it was one of the highest rated programs shown on the Sci-fi Channel. James McAvoy starred as the son of Paul Atreides.
While most critics hated the 1984 film Dune author Frank Herbert reacted more positively saying "It begins as Dune begins, it ends as Dune ends and I hear my dialogue throughout. How much more could a writer want? Even though I have quibbles – I would've loved to have had David Lynch realize the banquet scene – do I like it? I do. I like it very much.”
The Critics Wrote –
"Dune is a huge, hollow, imaginative and cold sci-fi epic. Visually unique and teeming with incident, David Lynch's film holds the interest due to its abundant surface attractions but won't, of its own accord, create the sort of fanaticism which has made Frank Herbert's 1965 novel one of the all-time favorites in its genre." (Variety)
"Several of the characters in ''Dune'' are psychic, which puts them in the unique position of being able to understand what goes on in the movie. The plot of ''Dune'' is perilously overloaded, as is virtually everything else about it. As the first king-sized, Italian-produced science-fiction epic, ''Dune'' is an ornate affair, awash in the kind of marble, mosaics, wood paneling, leather tufting and gilt trim more suitable to moguls' offices than to far-flung planets in the year 10,191." (Janet Maslin, New York Times)
"A gorgeous intergalactic pantomime." (Daily Express)
"An almost mythic, semi-religious fable with a true sense of grandeur, the like of which the screen has not felt since the heady days of The Ten Commandments, Spartacus, and Ben-Hur, an epic in the true sense. The cast is immaculate Lynch tells his tale with a born romantic's sense of the epic." (Films & Filming)
"Even if the plot has a serpentine complexity, the visual impact of David Lynch's direction is never less than dazzling." (Evening Standard)
"it's physically ugly, it contains at least a dozen gory gross-out scenes, some of its special effects are cheap, surprisingly cheap because this film cost a reported $40-45 million and its story is confusing beyond belief. In case I haven't made myself clear, I hated watching this film." (Gene Siskel)
"A real mess, an incomprehensible, ugly, unstructured, pointless excursion into the murkier realms of one of the most confusing screenplays of all time." (Roger Ebert)