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The "Dune" experience twice - Watching theatrical in Black&White + Q2

Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:59 pm
by claaa7
Back in December when my David Lynch obsession started up again (these things goes in cycles for me though i am of course always a fan) i was reading a book on Lynch recommended on here. Can't rememember which one, but if anyone needs quotes i will be able to dig them up, and it mentioned in bypassing that some of the things David wished have done with "Dune" was to make it into a three hour movie and a wish to film it on black and white film stock like his two previous features. At first i thought that was just something he had lightly played with but never truly been serious about, then i came upon another article which stated that he fought to have it made in B&W, a third quote from an interview that he originally wanted it done in B&W. And i'm pretty sure that he has called "Blue Velvet" his first colour film - meaning that it is his first movie where the colour really plays an integral part to the images and story (although i've read that he toyed with the idea of making that black & white as well).

this of course had me thinking what "Dune" would've been like in B&W, could it really work? On a mainstream level it would of course never work, and it would have been a production suicide by Rafaella DeLarentis to agree to something as bizarre as making a big sci-fi epic in the early '80s amidst the original Star Wars craze. A three hour cut would have been feasible though considering they tried to make the entire first book into one film, but we'll get to that later. either way, i wanted to see "Dune" in B&W to see what it would look like.

I popped in the R2 DVD of my "Dune" theatrical cut and changed the colour settings to completely drain out the colours and set the blacks and white/greys to my preferences for what i think would look good for a B&W early David Lynch film. of course there's a difference in filming on original film colour stock instead of using regular and then draining the colour from it, but both processess are done by commercial film studios. i only wanted to see a small sample for myself but i ended up watching the entire film on the edge of my seat -not a scene in colour. Already from the start when the princess head floats in and out of the air, WOW BOB WOW, the early Lynch level was bumped up a knot. Matter of fact many images became more striking and it was much easier to see the resemblance to the same visual artist that made "Eraserhead" and "Elephant Man", visually it became a more logical next step. The early scenes on Caladan, the cheesy special effects, the kidnapping and crashing out in the desert and the meeting of the Fremen, all improved in B&W.. Some scenes felt unnatural in black and white, mainly the last part of the movie with the action and attack scenes (which is already very clumsy). But all in all i did think it improved the movie and as crazy as it sounds I would recommend giving it a try.. if you don't like the experiment after 15 minutes it's a safe bet that you'll find the rest of the exercise stupid and wrong, but if you're like me you'll be suprised by the kinship to "Eraserhead" and "Elephant Man". How could it not be, a black and white movie made by the same young director - who also happens to be one of the most visual and artistic directors out there. Mind you, I would NEVER EVER do this with any other DLK film, it's unimaginable to drain the colour from "Twin Peaks"; "Blue Velvet" and "Wild at Heart" - the colour play a very important part there in a way that i feel it doesn't in "Dune" in the same way. of course some of the lavish production designs are not fully exposed, but the otherwordly feel you get by the B&W is enough compensation.. It's like Lynch has said that with B&W you are already one step into another realm, one step removed from reality as we know it, so it's an easy invite to an other world. and "Dune" has many different worlds to offer :)

Re: The "Dune" experience twice - Watching theatrical in Black&White + Q2

Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:17 pm
by claaa7
it became quite a long post and i am using this thread to discuss both experiencing "Dune" in B&W and watching the three hour Spicediver cut (sorry i noticed i wrote Q2 in the OT title) but i am talking about the famous fanedit that this guy called Spicediver worked on for YEARS and did a tremendous job with. I think every Lynch or "Dune" fan owe it to themeselves to experience that cut at least once in their life... I saw this three hour cut maybe 1.5 years before the B&W experiment described above, and for the first time with "Dune" I was actually feeling that i was watching a pretty damn GOOD, solid film. The two hour cut never did it for me, i don't think it's bad, but it's so obviously trunctuated and missing so many integral parts to make it a full, rich movie experience. Instead it always felt like a pretty bad movie with some individual scenes and shots that were amazing (this is my opinion).

Now some people might say that a fanedit shouldn't be watched because it's not true to the authors original vision. Well, DKL didn't have final cut on "Dune", he wrote and then filmed all the material needed to make a three hour movie from the book, he fought with DeLaurentis to let him make it longer and/or have final cut. No, no and no. So i would argue that Spicediver's version is if not closer to Lynch original vision at least as true to his original intentions as the theatrical cut. Of course the only way to get the movie is to download a torrent of it, illegally, but if you already own a copy of "Dune" on DVD as I do then i don't see that as a problem. Especially as Lynch most likely never will get back to make a special edition or an extended edition.

Spicediver has used as far as I know almost all released material from the movie, using the highest quality of it, the Blu-Ray rips of the theatrical and the extended TV version plus all deleted scenes which have been released on special editions and such. He makes some choices like changing the ending from the lame one of the theatrical to one that refelcts the exact ending of the book (i won't spoil it). Another section that is made so much better is all the inclusions of the first meetings with the Fremen's, here that relationship (with Paul and his mother) is cleared up. in the theatrical they simply meet them and after the mother shows a little bit of physical strength they are welcomed into the family, it's hilariously bad. Then you see what Lynch really filmed and see that it is exactly like in the book with Paul having a true showdown with a member of the clan, a funeral, etc.

Watching the Spicediver cut it's amazing to see how close to the epic book while still maintaining an interesting story that breathes and he certainly needed three hours to do it. The extended TV version is a true fucking mess and it was wise of Lynch to take his name off of that, because not only did they put scenes in the wrong order that made zero sense, they added a new cheesy introduction, lame animated introductions, cut important scenes in half, etc. By using the book and Lynch's screen play as his guide line, the Blu-Rays and a lot of skills Spicediver has made "Dune" into the movie it was supposed to be - at least so much closer than the theatrical ever was, imo. Had it been released in theaters like this I bet the reaction and revival of it would've been on a completely different level. THANK YOU SPICEDIVER!!! THANK YOU DAVID LYNCH!! THANK YOU FRANK HERBERT!! You all did your best, and although it took many years we finally got to see "Dune" as close as possible to Frank Herbert and David's vision of it. Do yourself a favor and watch this if you haven't seen it yet!

EDIT - After seeing Spicediver's cut i would probably never want to watch "Dune" theatrical again, if it isn't i get a chance to see it in a theater, and of course because i wanted to make the B&W experiment. but this is my defintite go-to version of "Dune" now.