Sunday, March 20, 2011

Disney Nixing Of The Beatles Yellow Submarine 3D Adds To Beguiling List Of Rock 'n' Roll Movie Might Have Been's

Looking back at my own experience, rock and roll brought many things to any and every venue. Two biggies I remember were not favorites of any indoor venue owner/operator (say i.e. a movie theater manager), namely pot smoke and vomit. Such was brought by both the band and the audience during a certain period of history. So right from the start producing a rock 'n' roll movie must have been like going through a maze full of high jumps at all ends and throughout.

However, time and tastes have moved on; the pot smoke and vomit has largely been replaced with, as only an example, Ambien and Prilosec, at least for those of us getting on in years. Hurtles should be fewer today. But Disney's canceling of the Yellow Submarine remake, reportedly because of the bad box office of Mars Needs Moms, shows that rock flixs still make movie executives nervous. I am not sure where a kids' movie compares with a movie that would be primarily for those of us who can get cheap car insurance rates, but so it goes.

Yellow Submarine's demise has made me think about a number of other rock related films that at one time excited me, only to also have been heartbreakingly (or thankfully) dumped for some reason. Below are three attempted but never made films, or versions of films, from the time of pot smoke and vomit.

1. Dune (1974)

No, not David Lynch's tragic effort that I still pull out my old VHS of every year or so, and cannot take my eyes off of while it's playing.

The one that I'm thinking of is the greatest rock film never made and was the second attempt at bringing Dune to the silver screen.

The above artwork and a few storyboards are as far as this attempt got. But the names involved seem as if they come from a dream vision for the film spouted by a peaking acid head sometime in 1974. Moebius and HR Giger were to create the artwork. Salvador Dali was to play the emperor. Orson Welles was approached to play Baron Harkonnen. The music was to be composed and played by Pink Floyd (who did spend a week or so in the studio working on this particular Dune project).

Director Alejandro Jodorowsky created a 14 hr script with plans to release part of the story as a theatrical movie and part of it as a television series. The effort ran out of money and time. Some websites have quoted Jodorowsky as claiming that one contributing factor in the film's demise was that a young director from California had stolen his best production people for a film he was making in London, a film called Star Wars.

2. Lifehouse (1970 ish)

If you've read this far, you probably already know of this most famous of failed rock movies. Well, it was for a time to be more than a movie. Part computer engineering, part psychology test, and musical project as well as a movie, Lifehouse brought Pete Townshend to a nervous breakdown.

Filming of ongoing live concert experiments in London sometime around 1970 have never surfaced, nor has the existence of any remaining film been verified.

3. A Clockwork Orange (1965)

This would be the Rolling Stones version. Five years before Stanley Kubrick made A Clockwork Orange, the Rolling Stones's manager attempted to secure the movie rights from author Anthony Burgess. Burgess, plagued by fears about his health, took a better offer. What droogies they would have made!

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