Storyboards of failed 1970s ‘Dune’ adaptation up for auction in France

It was one of the greatest cinema collaborations never to go ahead bringing together Salvador Dali, Mick Jagger and Pink Floyd. Its storyboards will be sold in Paris on Monday.

One of the ten storyboard copies for the 1970s 'Dune' adaptation is displayed to the public before an auction at Christie's Paris gallery. The project never went ahead after running out of funding.
One of the ten storyboard copies for the 1970s 'Dune' adaptation is displayed to the public before an auction at Christie's Paris gallery. The project never went ahead after running out of funding. (Photo by Alain JOCARD / AFP)

It has entered film folklore as one of the great missed opportunities: the doomed 1970s adaptation of ‘Dune’ that was supposed to bring together Salvador Dali, Mick Jagger and Pink Floyd.

The project famously collapsed after four years of work by cult Franco-Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky, but now his storyboards are going up for auction in Paris on Monday. 

With a new version of ‘Dune’ starring Timothee Chalamet packing cinemas around the world in recent weeks, interest in Jodorowsky’s version has been reignited and Christie’s is valuing the drawings at 25,000 to 35,000 euros ($28,000 to $40,000). 

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They are collected in one large notebook, and were made by celebrated French graphic novelist Moebius (alias Jean Giraud, who died in 2012) and Swiss illustrator Giger, who went on to design ‘Alien’ in 1979 and died in 2014.

The tumultuous project was due to include surrealist Dali, Rolling Stones frontman Jagger, actor-director Orson Welles and silver screen legend Gloria Swanson in the cast, with Pink Floyd among the bands approached for the soundtrack. 

It collapsed for lack of funding — a story retold in the 2013 documentary ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’.

The brainchild of author Frank Herbert, ‘Dune’ was first published in 1965 and became a six-volume space opera of massive influence, not least on ‘Star Wars’.

Following the latter’s blockbuster success, Hollywood took renewed interest in ‘Dune’ in the early 1980s. 

That led to David Lynch’s version, released in 1984 with a cast including British musician Sting and Patrick Stewart of ‘Star Trek: Next Generation’, which had its own troubles and became one of the decade’s biggest flops. 

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Jodorowsky’s storyboards have taken on mythical overtones among sci-fi fans — said to have influenced later genre hits including ‘Blade Runner’. 

“We know of several other copies: one was offered for auction several years ago, another is in Jodorowsky’s possession… A third has been partially reproduced online,” said Christie’s. 

It said around 10 to 20 copies were produced, though it was hard to be certain.

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How to make the most of France’s ‘night of museums’ this weekend

More than 3,000 French museums will stay open long past their bedtimes on Saturday May 14th for the 18th Long Night of Museums.

How to make the most of France's 'night of museums' this weekend

The annual event takes place on the third Saturday in May each year in towns and cities across the whole of Europe. There are temporary exhibitions, themed guided visits, musical entertainment, lectures, concerts, food tasting, historical reconstructions and re-enactments, and film projections. Best news of all, almost everything is free. 

Here’s The Local’s guide to getting the most out of the night:

Plan, plan, then throwaway the plan

Consult the online programme and map out your route. A little preparation will make the night much easier – 3,000 museums will be open long into the night in France, and you don’t want to waste hours standing on a bridge arguing about where to go next. 

The site has suggestions for major cities, including Lyon, Dijon, Bourges, Strasbourg, Lille, Rouen, Bordeaux, Toulouse, and Marseilles. And four museums that have been closed to the public for years – Musée de Cluny in Paris, the Musée de Valenciennes, the Forum antique de Bavay in Nord and the Musée départemental Albert-Khan in Boulogne-Billancourt – are reopening on the night.

So, decide where you’re going beforehand – then feel free to dump your carefully plotted plan in a bin when you overhear someone else talking about this extraordinary thing they have discovered and go with the flow.

Be patient

When you are consulting the official website, try not to scream. You have to navigate a map rather than a traditional programme format – though, at least, this year it’s broken down in to French regions, which is marginally less frustrating.

It is actually much easier if you know the specific museums you are interested in visiting, as they have individual programmes of events. But half the fun of a night like this is visiting somewhere you’ve never been before.

Wear comfortable shoes and travel light

Wear shoes for the long haul rather than the first impression. There will be distances to cover and you might even find yourself dancing in the middle of a museum. 

And blisters are never a good partner with great art. Leave your skateboard and shopping trolley at home, they will just prove a nuisance when you are going through security checks.

Come early – or late – to avoid endless queues

Arriving at the Louvre at 8pm is always going to mean a giant queue. And nothing ruins a night quicker than spending most of it standing in an unmoving line. Try to escape peak times at the major museums – but check they’re not doing something interesting that you don’t want to miss – hip hop dance classes in the Department of Oriental Antiquities, in the Louvre’s Richelieu wing, for example…

Go somewhere you’ve never been to before

Do a lucky dip. Pick somewhere you’ve never heard of and know nothing about. What about the Musée de Valenciennes, which reopens after years of being closed to the public, for example. Its giving visitors the chance to see its fine art under ultraviolet light – which will reveal things you wouldn’t normally see.

Or you could delve deep into the Aude Departmental Archives, in Carcassonne, and discover the amazing life stories of some of the region’s historical figures

Make it social

Gather the troops, this is a night for multi-generations of family and friends. Art, history and culture, is very much a shared experience and you can usually find something that everyone loves – or hates.

Plan a pitstop

You will always need refreshing and wouldn’t a night of culture be wonderfully enhanced by a delicious picnic on the banks of the Seine, if you’re in Paris. 

Your mind will need a little pause from all the intellectual overload. Find a spot, listen to the music (there’s always music from somewhere) and watch the Bateaux Mouches go by as you eat a baguette with some good local cheese and some saucisson.