Word of Mouth
Discover a documentary about the greatest movie NEVER made.
During the pandemic, we’ve had time to open more books, watch new movies, and find new ways to be in the world while staying at home.
By Jack Lorang
For anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, I recommend Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013), a documentary film by Croatian-American director Frank Pavich. The film’s website bills it as ‘a documentary about the greatest movie never made.’ It uses live interviews with Chilean cult film director Alejandro Jodorosky and various members of the eclectic team of eccentric creatives he’d enlisted in the mid-1970’s to adapt Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel Dune for the big screen.
To help pitch the movie to Hollywood studios, the team created a storyboard for Dune, composed of thousands of comic-strip style pictures by Jean ‘Moebius’ Girard, and compiled it into a veritable tome of a book. This book plays a leading role in the documentary. As the pages flip by we witness the greatness of imagination and creativity that went into bringing a potential masterpiece to the brink of existence. With Salvador Dali to star as an evil emperor, Mick Jagger cast as the cruel nephew of a baron, and music by Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, the project was poised to be a groundbreaking cinematic epic. But alas, as the story continues, we learn that the proposed budget was out of hand and big studios wouldn’t pick it up. Years of networking and preparation, and millions in pre-production costs evaporated into nothing. Here lies the gem of the inspiring tale: we see Jodorowsky explain with a wild grin, ‘We’re going to make a picture!…you have to say yes to this…We’re NOT going to make a picture… you have to say yes to this as well…’
Jodorowsky’s version of Dune never materialized. But, as per the testimony of film industry experts and critics, the effort set the stage for much of what was to come in the world of SciFi cinema. Jodorowsky’s Dune tells an inspiring story of failure and leaves us with a wide-grinning reminder that so much of life depends on having heart and the courage to try.
Jack Lorang – Movie Enthusiast and member of the TCA Film Committee