Friday, March 08, 2013

"Bring in that Floating Fat Man...The Baron."

It was in high school that Dune, the movie made a return to my attention when me and a friend popped it into the VCR late one night. This touched off a run of collecting Dune paraphernalia, starting with one of my high school girlfriends picking me up a Rabban action figure, in bubblepack, from a local comic shoppe for my birthday. From there, I ended up with the comics (amazingly illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz), the kid's storybook, the movie poster, the other two Harkonnen action figures, the movie cards, and other trifles...and the movie magazine that I had seen in the grocery years before.

In any event, anyone who's been following the posts this week had to know who was coming last...The Big Man...Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. I would put Vladimir up there with the best in terms of villains based in excess.  Though there is no mention of his disfiguring skin disease in the book, it is hard for me to see him otherwise, and was a coup for corruption shorthand by David Lynch in the film. Also, though it is perhaps one of the biggest over-the-top, sumptuous scenery chewing performances of all time, it is damn near impossible for me to imagine anyone but long-time character actor Kenneth McMillan in the role. (For something a little more low-key, I always liked McMillan as the aging safecracker in The Pope of Greenwich Village with Mickey Rourke.) The title for this entry refers to a line by legendary actor José Ferrer as the Padishah Emperor who calls for the Baron as if requesting someone deliver a three-week old piece of roadkill.

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