David Lynch: The Big Dream

Dune

David Lynch

After turning down George Lucas' offer to direct Return of the Jedi, Lynch signed on for another big-budget sci-fi project: producer Dino De Laurentiis' ambitious adaptation of Frank Herbert's cult novel, which became a huge critical and commercial failure (Lynch is careful to note that he did not have final cut on the film). Young unknown Kyle MacLachlan was personally chosen by Lynch to play the lead role of Paul Atreides, who takes refuge with a band of rebels on the desert planet Arrakis (a.k.a. Dune) when his noble family is slaughtered at the hands of their mortal enemies the Harkonnens. Assuming his mantle as the desert fighters' prophesied Messiah, Atreides turns them into a disciplined army and launches a guerrilla warfare campaign against the rapacious and repulsive Baron Harkonnen (Kenneth McMillan). Featuring a remarkable international cast that includes Max von Sydow, José Ferrer, Sean Young, Silvana Mangano, Jürgen Prochnow, Patrick Stewart, and Sting (as well as Lynch mainstays Jack Nance, Dean Stockwell, and Everett McGill), Dune is the very definition of a fascinating failure, as Lynch's stunning visual imagination runs up against the demands and necessities of large-scale commercial cinema.

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