You will feel an itching... DUNE fans, rejoice! :)

Prop Runner

Sr Member
"A beginning is a very delicate time..."

Friends,

It has indeed been an amazing, unbelievable few months for me. First, my involvement in the Solo blaster and Obi saber discovery threads, then my involvement in the resulting replica projects, and finally, today, UPS dropped off something I've been dreaming of owning for over twenty years...

From everything I'd heard for years, the prop no longer existed. I could find no lead, no reference, no clue as to its final disposition after filming wrapped.

Many men have tried...

Most of the film's props, sets, miniatures, costumes, and creatures had been either left to bake in the Mexican desert where the film was shot, or rot in cargo containers that had been abandoned, unprotected, OUTDOORS, exposed to humidity, mildew, and... time.

Thankfully, a few choice props, miniatures, and costumes did survive the criminal neglect and destruction, and made it into collectors' hands. Some have appeared in high-profile auctions and have fetched many thousands of Dollars. I stoically came to the conclusion that I would never own any screen-used props from my second favorite sci-fi film (the first being Blade Runner), let alone the prop I've just acquired.

But two weeks ago, I got lucky. INSANELY, DELIRIOUSLY, KARMICALLY lucky: I stumbled onto the owner of the screen-used hero prop of my dreams. But not just the owner: the conceptual illustrator from the production who was responsible for dreaming it up in the first place. He single-handedly rescued this and dozens of other screen-used props, miniatures, and costumes from those abandoned containers years before. We talked for the longest time on the phone, and fast came to realize we were kindred spirits. He sacrificed the prop because I was a "true fan," and he knew it would be receiving a new home and a dedicated collector who would never allow the prop to come to harm or neglect again.

The talented artist's name is Ron Miller. The epic sci-fi film's name is DUNE. Both can be found on IMDB. And this is the screen-used hero prop that will from this day forward be the centerpiece and prize of my collection:









THE PAIN..............



:D

The door is solidly hinged at the top and a strong, hidden torsion spring keeps it hanging in the open position, even after all these years:



Gently pulling the door down, working against the torsion spring:



There's a centrally pivoting release lever connected to a wire, but I'm still trying to figure out how this mousetrap-type spring-loaded latch operates. It may be broken, but I'll eventually figure it out and hopefully repair it:



The hidden bottom-located push-button screw that activates the door release latch:



Not sure what role these hair-thin wires play, but apparently they originally helped reset the door in the closed position:



The wires appear broken or torn, but I have yet to really sit down and study the mechanism.

And lastly, regrettably, some shots of the damage and neglect the prop suffered either during production or most likely in the following years of neglect before Ron rescued it:







The box is constructed of epoxied and screwed-together wood, resin, and metal, and it has a high-lustre paint finish that gives the box an appearance of polished green marble.

Ron was also generous enough to include a signed early conceptual sketch of the prop that he made for the production:



I just took these pics, but I still can't believe I have this in my hand. I'm in a mild state of shock... Not exaggerating, people.

So to those who are new to DUNE, this prop is called a "Pain Box."

The Order of the Bene Gesserit in Frank Herbert's DUNE are monastic-like truthsayers, possessing the magic ability to tell if people are lying or not. One of them, the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam, uses a "pain box" to torture the film's hero, young Paul Atreides, for what she believes are ultimately altruistic reasons.



Put your right hand in the box...

Once inserted, Paul begins to see in his mind's eye his hand burn, bubble, and char, and he gradually feels unbearable searing pain...





THE PAIN.......

He must resist removing his hand, because the moment he does, the Reverend Mother will prick his neck with the feared gom jabbar, a silver needle & thimble prop containing deadly poison. Obviously, Paul passes the test, but not before the Reverend Mother increases the pain level to a setting never before withstood by a human male.

The Bene Gesserit are spread throughout the DUNE universe, manipulating bloodlines of royal families and arranging marriages with members of their order to noble houses with the ultimate goal of breeding the Kwizatch Haderach (distorted Hebrew meaning "the next level" and in Herbert's context, the next level in human evolution), a prophesied super-being, leader of Jihad (Arabic for holy war) and savior of the Universe, a quest that has been slowed by a few minor "speed bumps":

Many men have tried...

It should be noted that Paul's mother, Lady Jessica, is herself an ordained member of the Bene Gesserit Order.

Of course, as the Kwizatch Haderach, Paul Atreides, later known among the desert planet's native Fremen people as Paul Maud'dib, must earn his title, among other things, by riding Dune's giant sandworms, known by the Fremen as Shai-Hulud (Arabic for "a thing of eternity," although "hulud" in Arabic literally means sand, and "shai" is short for sheikh, or leader). The Fremen believe that the actions of the sandworms are directly the actions of God, and so the worms have been given numerous titles such as the Great Maker, the Worm who is God, Old Man of the Desert, Old Father Eternity, and Grandfather of the Desert. By controlling the sandworms, Paul proves he is an instrument of the divine.

Some interesting facts about the Pain Box:

Herbert's highway-patrolman father often threatened to subject young Frank to a lie detector. As an adult Frank Herbert made good on his father's threat, actually purchasing a lie detector and often forcing his sons Brian and Bruce to submit to it. Brian compares the lie detector to the Pain Box from his father's book, an instrument of control through torture. He later learned that his father had rigged the box to give him whatever answer he wanted. :confused

The Pain Box also inspired the makers of the cult horror film, "Phantasm." In the film are apparently many references to Dune. In this case, the DUNE-inspired prop was the 'Do Not Fear' box that the kid couldn't get his hand out of at the creepy old woman's house.

Some people hated DUNE for David Lynch's "acid trip interpretation" of Frank Herbert's classic novel. Here's a humorous summary of the plot from http://www.badmovies.org:

Dune is an awesome book by Frank Herbert. Then David Lynch made it into a movie with an all-star cast and kind of screwed it up in places by leaving out three or four of the main characters altogether and confusing the hell out of us. The story begins with Princess Irulan (who you may recognize as "that chick from 'Candyman'") (Gabe's note: and most recently, "Sideways") giving us a rough outline of the future. Basically, it's the year 10,191 and there is this special spice that everyone needs to travel through space and read minds and such.

Then we are taken to the Emperor of the known universe's palace. It's surrounded by several confusing things (like a guy with a metal nose) but it is actually a few seconds later where all sense is abandoned, as a giant tumor in a tank rolls in and a bald woman sits in another room thinking about him. If you look closely to the left of the tank, one of the guildsmen falls over. Hahaha.

So, then we move on to the Atreides family. There's this guy called Leto who is the Duke and his son Paul, the hero of the story. To cut a long story short, they all move to a big desert planet (where the special spice comes from) and they all get attacked in a plot by the Emperor and the Harkonnens (a bunch of evil, arrogant redheads who install heart plugs in people so they can pull them out for a laugh). The Harkonnens are allied with the Sardaukar, the Emperor's guys, who wear radiation suits and waddle about.

The Guy Who Plays Bluto in the "Popeye" movie runs around a lot, laughing. Dogs run around a bit and they all get killed, except for Paul and his mother Jessica. They flee to the desert, using the power of their robot impressions to escape the clutches of the bad guys and falling into the clutches of the Fremen. The Fremen immediately accept Paul as their leader and he recognizes Sean Young from his dreams, so he immediately assumes her as his lover. Paul says "spice" about 10,191 times throughout the course of this movie, be prepared for that.

He rides around on a giant sandworm, drinks some blue water, and blows up all of Bluto's spice factories with small video cameras. Bluto runs around with evil glee on his face as Sting looks on, arrogantly.

At one point, the Baron is flying around a room. Sting steps naked out of a big box filled with steam, Bluto walks in, pushes over a midget and eats part of a cow. Through it all the guy with big hair from "Eraserhead" is twisting a box that makes an irritating squeaking noise. Then they give a bald cat, suspended in a box with a rat stuck to it, to Thufir. Seriously.

Paul meets up with Gurney, Jessica has a daughter, and they all plan a big strike on the Emperor. They use atomics at one point, but this seems to make absolutely no difference. They all move into the room. Paul's sister kills the Baron, the Emperor kills Bluto, and Paul kills Sting in a fight and then blows him up. If you look carefully, you will notice that Thufir is there one minute and gone the next, despite efforts to hide this with other footage.

Paul's sister proclaims Paul to be the Kwisatz Haderach (super being) and then it starts to rain. Some guy with a beard and a widow's peak says "It is the legend," as he has been doing every five minutes throughout the whole bloody movie. Then Paul and Stilgar exchange a knowing glance, as they have been doing every five minutes throughout the whole bloody movie. Then Paul says "spice," as he has been doing every five minutes throughout the whole bloody movie.

And a couple of select fan reviews:

"Paul riding on the back of the giant worm, leaning back and letting the wind blow through his massively feathered head of hair, exchanging knowing looks with Stilgar and his Fremen buddies as the worm sucks up his enemies to a rockin' Toto soundtrack...I've never used cocaine before, but the people who made this movie probably went through a ton of it."

"In this movie, a man is presented with a cat with a rat tied to its back and told he must milk it and drink its milk to live. Don't give me that "but it's David Lynch and his imagination made it so it must be worshipped by you" @#$%.. IT'S A CAT WITH A RAT TIED TO ITS BACK. Despite being ludicrous, this was somehow presented in such away as to make me not laugh."

Also from www.badmovies.org:

"Things I learned from this movie"
  1. Don't trust bald women with metal teeth.
  2. Every major power in the universe has one guy with massive eyebrows that wears smeared lipstick.
  3. People in the future prove that they are humans by setting their hands on fire.
  4. Barons find drinking a piece of coal and then throwing the container into some water hilarious.
  5. Space travel makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
  6. Good guys are always in the vicinity of dogs.
  7. All people with orange hair are evil.
  8. If your mother can grab a tribal chief by the throat, they will immediately accept you as their leader.
  9. Shouting "garden" or "toga" through a small video camera is fatal.
  10. Drinking blue water gives every bald woman in the universe a nosebleed.
:D

Some good DUNE Web resources:

The most comprehensive DUNE film site on the Web:

http://www.duneinfo.com/index.asp

An interview with Ron Miller on his role in DUNE:

http://groups.msn.com/TheLandsraad/ronmiller.msnw

An interesting site comparing Star Wars to DUNE:

http://www.jitterbug.com/origins/dune.html

The movie Quicktime trailer:

http://www.movie-list.net/classics/dune.mov

DUNE on the Intenrational Movie Database (IMDB):

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087182/

Memorable sounds from DUNE:

http://www.engr.uky.edu/~wgroe0/Dune_sounds/

I hope that for some of you, this post was a walk down memory lane to revisit a beloved film and behold a unique and central prop to the story's plot. To those who are new to DUNE or didn't much care for it the first time around, you now have an opportunity of seeing the longer version of the film which never was released in the U.S., packaged in a special edition DVD re-release with tons of bonus material that is now finally available:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007PAMR...?v=glance&n=130

A Dark Horizons online article about the new release: http://www.darkhorizons.com/news05/050330b.php

I'd like to end with a personal request: Ron Miller is an awesome, very giving guy, and no doubt some of you would like to contact him about his DUNE collection and stories. I asked him ahead of time if he would welcome private contact if I divulge his name in my show-off thread, and being the gracious person that he is, he of course said yes. I didn't HAVE to mention his name, but I wanted to give him due credit for this amazing prop and for playing such a crucial role in designing the look and feel of DUNE.

But I know this place all too well: there are sadly members and lurkers who will exploit a person's generosity, talent, friendship, and openness for personal gain simply because they can, and because to them that person is nothing but a resource. So I appeal to the maturity factor and honor in you all and BEG of you: PLEASE don't ask him for photos of his DUNE collection and artwork, or inquire if he's willing to part with any other items. I already did, and he is not. I'd hate to see him have to answer that second question another 50 times... :rolleyes

However, Ron DID share with me lots of images of his DUNE-related work and collection, many of which he scanned to honor a request by the producers of the new DVD for inclusion in the Bonus Material disc. I'll be happy to post some of these and will consider private requests, all in an effort to protect Ron's privacy and sanity. I owe him that for his sacrifice and generosity, and if I find out ANYONE is abusing his goodwill, I will personally rip them a new one. :angel

So thanks for looking, and a thousand "thank you"s to Whackychimp for hosting my pics. :thumbsup

Now I'll be happy to answer questions to the best of my abilities. :D

- Gabe
 

trekkieb47

Well-Known Member
Holy cow.

An amazing prop and certainly PRICELESS. Congrats.

Also thanks for the little trip through the DUNE universe... certainly gets people up to speed.
 

Serafino

Sr Member
GABE.. Congratulations, what a fabulous story and find.

:confused Karma is right. Holy smokes. The best best possible way to get a prop IMO, could not be a better story.
 

Nexus6

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Wow, congratulations bro. That film had some WONDEROUS props.

And now...





I WILLLL KILLLL HIIIIM....

:D
 

Prop Runner

Sr Member
Thanks, guys. :D

Ooh - Feyd Rautha's Emperor's blade... ME WANT........... :cry

(And why is Geronimo standing there in the background? :lol )

There's no end to all the eye candy in this movie. Not a scene without some of the most amazing sets, props, creatures, and costumes ever designed for a film since Star Wars...

The only other recent film that even BEGINS to come close is Chronicles of Riddick, but only in terms of the production values and originality in design. Plot and acting wise, it doesn't even hold a candle to Dune. :p

- Gabe
 

Lupus Yonderboy

Well-Known Member
Congratulations mate :)
Very nice prop from a brilliant movie, and an interesting story to go with it.
Cheers,
Pontus
Originally posted by Prop Runner@Dec 14 2005, 08:19 AM
There's no end to all the eye candy in this movie.  Not a scene without some of the most amazing sets, props, creatures, and costumes ever designed for a film since Star Wars...
[snapback]1135471[/snapback]​
 

qwa_raig

Active Member
I always thought that prop should have a backstory, great history, unbelievable score, un....b...leeeeeev...able, congrats..
 

nightrider

Sr Member
Gabe, I am so excited for you. Dune, Blade Runner, and OT-SW all 3 tie as my favorites. It's funny that most people who like Dune like BR also or Vis versa. I can't imagine owning that prop, I collect boxes of all kinds anyway so that would be the ultimate for me, enjoy. :D

Chris
 
Originally posted by franz bolo@Dec 14 2005, 06:26 AM
WOW.

I don't know if the prop, or your joyous enthusiasm is more impressive..

FB
[snapback]1135452[/snapback]​

Have to agree with FB well done on your fantastic aquisition.

I think I will watch the movie over the weekend in your honour.

:thumbsup :thumbsup :thumbsup :thumbsup :thumbsup :thumbsup :thumbsup :thumbsup :thumbsup :thumbsup


Cheers Chris.

P.S. I was going to give you a 21 thumb salute but you can't post that many emoticons.
 

Darth Domain

Well-Known Member
Congrats on the prop, cool review of the film, however, you didn't mention Patrick Stewart and his part, as he is a classicly trained British actor who was involved in shakespearian acting, and also the near imortal Jean Luc Picard i demand he gets a mention :p
 

Prop Runner

Sr Member
Originally posted by Darth Domain@Dec 14 2005, 03:38 AM
Congrats on the prop, cool review of the film, however, you didn't mention Patrick Stewart and his part, as he is  a classicly trained British actor who was involved in shakespearian acting, and also the near imortal Jean Luc Picard i demand he gets a mention :p
[snapback]1135528[/snapback]​
That's what this thread is for - so you can fill in the blanks, lol. Did you expect me to paste the entire DUNE Encyclopedia? ;)

Here you go, mate - Patrick Stewart as Paul's trusted bodyguard and combat instructor, Gurney Halleck:



More pics here:

http://orelye.menor.free.fr/Album/Dune/Dune.htm

and even a few Gurney Halleck sound files, just for you:

This is a Harkonnen animal.

Not in the mood?.?.

We cool? B)

- Gabe
 

phase pistol

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Hey don't put your hand in there... ya silly... :rolleyes

Oh hey, Ron Miller. Great guy, I love his work. I wonder when his updated edition of his book "The Dream Machines" is coming out.

Now all we need is that deluxe region 1 DVD box set that's been delayed for years. :D

- k
 

Prop Runner

Sr Member
Originally posted by phase pistol@Dec 14 2005, 04:11 AM
Oh hey, Ron Miller. Great guy, I love his work. I wonder when his updated edition of his book "The Dream Machines" is coming out.
I don't know the answer to that, but I'll be happy to ask him. He'll be checking in on this thread, so I'm sure he'll have some additional input, which I'd be happy to share on his behalf. :)

In the meantime, here's also a VERY small (and downsized) sample of the pictures Ron gifted me on a CD-ROM. Some (or all) of these will appear in the Bonus Features disc out with the re-release DVD.

Giles Masters (Tony Masters' son) with the hero worm plate spreader (notice the 2 maker hooks laying on the table behind him):



Paul's poison detector and Yuehs lapel pins:



Worm sketches by Ron Miller:





Sandworm prototype by Ron's wife, Judith:



The Carlo Rimbaldi sandworm sculpture:



Stage 4 Guild Navigator prototype by Judith Miller:



Atreides soldiers rehearsing and resting:



Atreides rifle:



Hanging scale model of Duke Leto Atreides' ship for the landing scene:



Ron's sketches of Harkonnen and Atreides ornithopters:





Judith Miller's paper models of the Atreides ornithopter and Emperor's Tent/Ship:





Ron's sketches of the Harknonnen ship and the Arakeen Palace:





Last but not least, woman's hero stillsuit and Paul's battle training robot room:





I felt these were the most impressive of the lot. I've got tons more, and Ron's promised me a second CD-ROM, so more eye candy as time allows... :)

Enjoy, and thanks again to Whacky. :thumbsup

- Gabe
 

Darth Domain

Well-Known Member
Originally posted by Prop Runner+Dec 14 2005, 12:07 PM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Prop Runner @ Dec 14 2005, 12:07 PM)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-Darth Domain
@Dec 14 2005, 03:38 AM
Congrats on the prop, cool review of the film, however, you didn't mention Patrick Stewart and his part, as he is  a classicly trained British actor who was involved in shakespearian acting, and also the near imortal Jean Luc Picard i demand he gets a mention :p
[snapback]1135528[/snapback]​
That's what this thread is for - so you can fill in the blanks, lol. Did you expect me to paste the entire DUNE Encyclopedia? ;)

Here you go, mate - Patrick Stewart as Paul's trusted bodyguard and combat instructor, Gurney Halleck:



More pics here:

http://orelye.menor.free.fr/Album/Dune/Dune.htm
good on ya mate :D
and even a few Gurney Halleck sound files, just for you:

This is a Harkonnen animal.

Not in the mood?.?.

We cool? B)

- Gabe
[snapback]1135533[/snapback]​
[/b]
 

Bryancd

Master Member
Gabe that is awesome. I love Dune, I have even been reading all of Brian Herberts prequel stuff which is pretty good. Although I like the Sci-Fi remake a bit more than the movie version, I loved the Harkonnens more in Lynch's version but those damn voice amplifiers just kill me.
 

amish

Sr Member
Gabe,

Absolutely brilliant. You have made this Dune fan's day.

Thanks for sharing EVERYTHING....

Tom
 

Prop Runner

Sr Member
Originally posted by Bryancd@Dec 14 2005, 05:55 AM
those damn voice amplifiers just kill me.
You mean the weirding modules Lynch invented, huh? :lol

Oh well... I loved their "cool factor" enough to suspend my disbelief (as if anything in the book didn't require tons of suspended disbelief. ;) )

Here's my modest collection of DUNE prop replicas:



and a hero Fremen weirding module (wish it were mine... :p ):



:D

- Gabe

[Edit] Tom: for your kind words, may the Maker protect you always. ;)
 
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