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Archive for July 28th, 2020

By J.D. Lafrance

By 1984, director David Lynch was on top of the world. He had received critical acclaim and eight Academy Award nominations for The Elephant Man in 1980 and was on the verge of releasing his next film, Dune (1984), an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction novel. Many speculated on how this young auteur would be able to translate such a complex text to film. Dino De Laurentiis, who poured over $50 million into the project, was hoping that it would become the next Star Wars (1977). If anyone could pull it off, it was the man who brought us that cult classic, Eraserhead in 1977. Dune promptly flopped. Critics despised it and crowds stayed away in droves. To his credit, it was not all Lynch’s fault. Studio executives moved in, took away final cut privileges from Lynch, and tried to condense over four hours of footage into a barely watchable two-hour film. The result was an unorganized, if not visually stunning motion picture that seemed like the highlights of Herbert’s book.

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