Monday, November 26, 2007

"The Other Side of the Wind" Orson Welles's Final Film Could Get 2008 Release

Yes, it seemed to take forever for the fourth Indiana Jones movie to get off the ground. But when it finally did, the hoopla surrounding its production was intense and will only gain momementum the closer we get to its May 22nd release date. In the meantime, another long-gestating film may get its greatly anticipated release in 2008— except, at least for now, its all being kept under wraps. Reportedly, in some quiet corner of Los Angeles, some post production work is afoot (as per a tidbit posted last month on

Although it's taken 15 years for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to become a reality, Jones has nothing on The Other Side of Wind (Wikipedia link), which has sat dormant since 1976! The Holy Grail of unfinished Welles projects (and there are many), this film was said by Welles himself to be entirely shot (save for some effects shots) and just needed to be assembled. A truncated rough cut existed at one time (as per the late Gary Graver, cinematographer of the film, who helped put it together; too bad Graver will not get to see the release [he died in November 2006]— at least he had somewhat of a hand in the editing, presuming this workprint was used as a partial template).

The keeper of the flame of The Other Side of Wind is and always has been Peter Bogdanovich, who year after year has promised to complete the film for Orson and his fans. Bogdanovich acted in the film and is seen on the set with Welles and lead actor John Huston in the photo above. Now, it seems that 2008 may indeed see the release of the movie.

The scenes that have been shown (most completely in the documentary Orson Welles: One-Man Band, available on the Criterion Collection DVD of F For Fake) are to me, very promising. I always expected that when the movie finally got released that Welles would get his due in the form of a posthumous Oscar win for Best Director (it would be only his second nomination as director after Citizen Kane!); or that the writers would see fit to give him Best Original Screenplay. I also forsaw a Supporting Actor nod for John Huston. This thinking would all be for naught if the film gets released on Cable TV (Showtime is reputedly footing the bill) instead of a theatrical run.

Oscar talk aside, unfortunately, the movie may not contain all the shots, could be horribly deteriorated (although the negative was kept in a film vault), or the editing may prove too daunting for the film to even be completed, much less award-worthy. There was even apparently some talk that only a documentary would be made of the film as was done with the incomplete It's All True in 1993.

Let's keep our fingers crossed. All of Welles other incomplete projects are simply far too incomplete. The only other feature length film that was attempted to be completed was Welles's Don Quixote. The 1992 reconstruction did not fare well. So this is it.

I hope, too, providing all is well, that the movie gets all the attention it deserves, and that the release is as enthusiastically received by the general public as say Vertigo's re-release/restoration was in 1996.

No comments: