I just received some sad news this morning in response the the Dune production diary I have posted here on my site. Jerome Wybom, a director of numerous “making of” and behind-the-scenes documentaries for French DVD releases, just sent me the following e-mail:
I have just began reading your blog about your work on Dune and I can provide you some informations about the footage of Dune. In 2003, I produced a bonus disc for the french dvd of Dune and I was in contact with Paul Sammon. He helped me to obtain the original featurette Destination Dune (6 minutes).
When I asked him where are the footage you shot with M. Pacanowski, here was his answer:
“Godwin & Pacanowski did indeed shoot a lot of video. All these tapes were turned in to the studio before the film came out. But once DUNE was released and became a box-office flop, the studio destroyed all the tapes by either throwing them away or by “blacking” them. I know this because I spent months looking for these tapes back in 1984/1985 before I discovered what had happened to them. Needless to say, I was very disappointed!”
Although I had been pretty certain that this was the case – if the material Anatol and I shot in 1983 had still existed, it’s almost certain that some of it would have surfaced by now – I still felt pretty sick when I read this. But in an industry which over the years has mutilated and destroyed numerous films, I guess 75 hours of behind-the-scenes footage of a box-office failure didn’t seem worth keeping to the office boys at Universal. Though I do wonder, in light of David Lynch’s subsequent career and accomplishments, whether anyone there in the black tower occasionally has a twinge of regret.
Jerome’s blog can be found here: Forgotten Silver.