Sci-fi fans will be familiar with the novels by Frank Herbert, starting with Dune and leading onto several others – along with the later David Lynch movie and more recent TV series.
What many are less aware of is that the David Lynch film was the second attempt to make the lengthy novel into a film.
Surrealist film director, Alejandro Jodorowsky also took a run at turning the book into a film, although his version was aiming to be less a literal interpretation of the novel, and more a phycadelic vision of what the books core meaning was about.
He was a bit weird, was our Alejandro.
Anyhow, the plan for the film, however weird sounded fascinating, with a veritable whos-who of 1970s stars wanting to appear.
Among Jodorowsky’s proposed cast were Orson Welles, Mick Jagger and Salvador Dali, the last of whom was to play the Emperor of the Universe, who ruled from a golden toilet-cum-throne in the shape of two intertwined dolphins.
The film got into pre-production and then foundered after he spent a couple of million dollars and delivered very little in return.
Why am I writing about this? Well, there is an exhibition in London for a few months featuring some of the early concept sketches from the film pre-production, including works by H.R. Giger – who later went on to design the stunning look of the Alien movie.
The venue, The Drawing Room is a newish facility sitting conveniently close to Regent’s Canal, behind a locked (ring the doorbell) gate.
The gallery is the typical white wall/wooden floor genre with a series of drawings dotted around the walls and a couple of sculptures in the centre.
Sadly though, the material from the original film is scarce, being 3 prints from the Giger estate and 5 prints from the concept artist, Chris Foss. Photocopies of a French language magazine article are laid out in a side room.
The rest of the display is modern work commissioned from some artists, and only one of them seemed to have taken the book as their inspiration.
For a Dune/Jodorowsky exhibition – it was sadly lacking Dune, and almost devoid of Jodorowsky.
I’d say that if you are in the vicitinty of the building, maybe out for a stroll on the Canal, then it is worth a 10 minute detour, as the drawings are undeniably very good.
I just wish there was more there about the film.