In the Air

Orson Welles's Unfinished 1972 Film, 'The Other Side of the Wind'

by Stephen Rowland

3 February 2011

 

The world needs more Orson Welles, and we just might get it. Though quite the Renaissance man, Welles’s directorial efforts always seemed to be struggles. Even after Citizen Kane began appearing on lists as the greatest film ever made, the debacles never seemed to end. Works such as Chimes at Midnight and The Deep are basically forgotten, Mr. Arkadin was slapped around and sort of released in several different cuts, whether on his own volition or not, he was uncredited for The Lady From Shanghai and Black Magic, and for crying out loud, his magnum opus The Magnificent Ambersons hasn’t even seen the light of day on DVD!

This is just not fair.

Now, filmed in 1972, locked in a vault, never completely finished or properly edited, The Other Side of the Wind will most likely be available in the near future. A film about a director by a director starring other directors (John Huston, Claude Chabrol, Peter Bogdonavich), as well as Dennis Hopper and Oja Kodar (Welles’s lover at the time), Other Side was never released due to legal problems involving producers who are now selling their interests in the film.

John Huston’s son, actor Danny Huston, has called the footage “fascinating”, but there is still debate among the film’s living collaborators as to whether it should be edited into cohesion, released raw, or released at all.

The likely outcome is that Bogdonavich, who received “extensive notes” regarding the editing during filming, will be putting it together. There is no information about a theatrical or DVD release, distribution, or rights at this time.

 

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