Between Netflix‘s film-festival acquisitions and its original feature production (not to mention its TV series), the streaming service has become an entertainment industry juggernaut. Its commitment to movies clearly extends beyond new releases, however, as evidenced by yesterday’s headline-making news that it is coming to the rescue of The Other Side of the Wind, a never-completed film by Orson Welles that a team of producers (including Filip Jan Rymsza, Frank Marshall, and Peter Bogdanovich) has been trying to assemble for release for years, to no avail. It’s an announcement about which to cheer — and now, Yahoo Movies has an exclusive first look at the effort to bring Welles’s long-unfinished project to viewers worldwide. The clip (watch it above) features Rymsza in France with the now-inventoried camera negatives of Welles’ footage, ready to be shipped to L.A. for scanning and editorial work.
As described by The New York Times, The Other Side of the Wind is “a skewering of avant-garde directors…conceptualized by Welles as a type of collage. The film is a reconstruction of a party (using various types of footage supposedly shot by guests and the paparazzi) held at the home of Jake Hannaford, a nonconformist film director, just before he dies. Scenes from Hannaford’s unfinished comeback film-within-a-film are interspersed.” Comprised of disparate types of footage Welles shot between 1970 and 1976 (he died in 1985), the film has been a nightmare to put back together, both because of rights issues, and because of the financial investment required to do so (a 2014 Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise cash fell far short of its goal). And thus, it’s no surprise that, as the exclusive video above suggests, the arduous, methodical effort to reconstruct Welles’s movie is now an intriguing story all its own.
Welles’s career was dotted with unfinished films and unproduced screenplays. His Don Quixote began filming in the 1950s, and he was reportedly tinkering with it in editing the rest of his life; a version released after his death was not well received in 1992. A 1993 documentary, It’s All True: Based on an Unfinished Film by Orson Welles, explored a project intended to be the director’s follow-up to his classic The Magnificent Ambersons in 1942, an ill-fated omnibus of stories meant to showcase and help support U.S. efforts to foster alliances in Latin America. Welles would shoot extensive footage in Brazil, some of which reportedly surfaced in other films, some of which languished in studio vaults for decades, and some of which was dumped in the Pacific Ocean.
With Netflix money giving producers the time and resources necessary to finish their task, The Other Side of the Wind now seems to have its best chance yet for completion. While no release date for Welles’ film has been disclosed, you can get an exclusive look at some of the work going into the project (as recently as last week) in the video above.
Orson Welles’ masterwork ‘Citizen Kane’: Watch an excerpt from the 70th anniversary Blu-ray re-release: