Staff Pick: “Jodorowsky’s Dune” a making-of for a movie that never was

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From the June 26, 2014 edition

Documentaries about the making of films are always more intriguing if the production is troubled. For example, see the excellent “Hearts of Darkness” about “Apocalypse Now” or “Full Tilt Boogie” about “From Dusk ’Til Dawn.”

Then there are the movies that never even were, like the documentary “Lost in La Mancha,” which chronicled Terry Gilliam’s ambitious but doomed attempt to film “Don Quixote.” And now, “Jodorowsky’s Dune.”

This documentary looks back at the mad genius of eccentric Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky and his attempts to follow up his 1973 experimental masterpiece “The Holy Mountain” with an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi masterpiece “Dune.” If you wonder why you’ve never seen it (or possibly even heard of it), it’s because it never got off the ground.

Through interviews with Jodorowsky and others, the documentary’s director Frank Pavich will make you wish Hollywood would have given Jodorowsky everything he needed (or that we could at least Kickstart the difference).

As the details for the planned film grow wilder — Pink Floyd was going to do music for the film; Salvador Dali and Orson Welles were cast; recently deceased H.R. Giger was a contributor — we picture a movie that would have been epic. The telling of its failure is pretty epic on its own.