Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A Beginning is a Very Delicate Time

Thus the Princess Irulan opened David Lynch's film of Dune, almost thirty years ago now. The movie had many faults, but it was epic in scope, mostly true to Frank Herbert's original story, but suffered much from (a) the medium – which can never do justice to it – and (b) the need to edit it down from around six hours of material to not that much more than two hours.

Here is a version with a decent amount of the cut material included, plus a lot of good work to retain the integrity of the original, now coming in at close to three hours in length. It is fascinating to experience the chunks that have been put back in, such as the Padishah Emperor's conversation with the Reverend Mother just prior to the Guild Navigator's arrival.

Unlike another re-edit I encountered a while back, this one retains Virginia Madsen's monolgue, unaltered, at the opening. It is probably the best-ever to-camera monologue in the history of cinema, and shows just how good the lady could be with the right material – sadly never utilised subsequently in her career, as far as I have been able to ascertain. What a waste of a truly great talent!

This version is presented in a series of 24 short 'chapters', one of which is in two parts, and I have set them to auto-play in sequence (via the 'Play All' button) – so be prepared to spend three hours re-living this evocative, powerful and now less flawed epic...

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