July 21, 2024


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Nudity in Frank Herbert’s Dune


Executive Producer of both Dune miniseries, Richard P. Rubinstein, recognized it would be impossible to squeeze any of Frank Herbert’s novels into a two-hour movie. The same goes for any other significant literary work. In his words the miniseries were “science fiction for people who don’t ordinarily like science fiction” and suggested that “the Dune saga tends to appeal to women in part because it features powerful female characters”. Somewhat illogically that also means there is much more emphasize on the sexual themes, notably seduction. The nudity in Frank Herbert’s Dune was not without controversy at the time, even now I put this on a separate page so as not spoil the main article for Google’s search engine.

Up until the release of Frank Herbert’s Dune in 2000 nudity on TV was still a rarity. The days of topless scenes in every premiere episode of a new series were still in the future. As such a number of versions of the Dune miniseries exist. For the American audiences the such scenes were removed to obtain a better rating – but are available on DVD. Below is an overview of the different versions.

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There is the 265 minute version for broadcasting in the US without scenes involving nudity. Such as those with the character Farrah, Chani and the Sietch orgy. However, this also necessitated removing other scenes. The foreign broadcasting versions run between 272 and 277 minutes though sometimes referred to as the 280 minutes version. With the nudity scenes included the story makes more sense as there are fewer cuts. As the US audience only ever saw the 265 minute version the director’s cut is especially worthwhile for them. The nudity is by today’s standard tame, a few breasts, women in thongs and a male butt. That of actor Matt Keeslar.

Nudity in Frank Herbert's Dune Barbora Kodetová topless

Farrah and Princess Irulan

The deleted scenes involving nudity practically remove the character of Farrah from the story. Although only created for the series it leaves some story aspects dangling. From the scene we see how she seduces Feyd-Rautha. With the scene deleted it is implied Irulan did this. I do like the character Farrah, shot though her role is, as it ensures Princess Irulan is a lot closer to the action. The character of Farrah was portrayed by Czech actress Teresza Semlerova who was just 20 at the time of filming. Since then she works as a vocalist and teacher.

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A second deleted scene is set in the hideout when Jessica and Paul accompany the Fremen to Sietch Tabr. To depict the fact that the Fremen are not shy we see them strip from their still-suits. We see some male nudity including a funny moment when Paul looks away to avoid seeing Stilgar naked. The camera just happens to also pan away. However, the character Chani – played by Barbora Kodetová – does undress and reveal her breasts. Until that is, she feels Paul’s gaze upon her with her Fremen senses. There are a few more minor scenes, such as Paul and Jessica having sex and the Fremen Sietch orgy, but they don’t involve much nudity. That was it for my in-depth analysis of the nudity in Frank Herbert’s Dune.