|John Huston: Jake Hannaford|
|Peter Bogdanovich: Brooks Otterlake|
|Oja Kodar: The Actress|
|Bob Random: John Dale|
|Lilli Palmer: Zarah Valeska|
|Edmond O'Brien: Pat|
|Mercedes McCambridge: Maggie|
|Cameron Mitchell: Zimmer|
|Paul Stewart: Matt Costello|
|Script: Orson Welles & Oja Kodar|
|Cinematography: Gary Graver|
|Production Designer: Polly Platt|
|Producers: Orson Welles & Dominque Antoine|
In the hundred-plus years of filmmaking, there are few more tantalizing stories than those of unfinished films. When it's a director of Orson Welles' stature, the stories only get bigger, the films more legendary. Alongside Don Quixote, Welles' other long-discussed unfinished project, The Other Side of the Wind, remains as elusive as ever, seemingly within reach of being completed in some form, yet subject to the ever-frustrating machinations of both the film business, with its attendant money and power struggles, and the owners of the film and the Welles estate.
The Other Side of the Wind tells the story of Jake Hannaford, an aging film director played by John Huston, who is trying to make a film, albeit with great difficulty. He is surrounded by flunkies, journalists and wanna-be's, many of whom are not so subtly patterned after people in Welles' life, although he denied any autobiographical quality to the film. While few will believe such a claim, Hannaford himself differs in many ways from Welles. Oja Kodar helped Welles with the screenplay, and thanks to her input, the film has a more explicit sexuality than any other film in Welles' career.
Judging from the clips made public, the film promises to be Welles' most radical and experimental work of all, and is sure to put off many. One report even has Oliver Stone claiming the film was too experimental. Welles planned on blending footage of multiple stocks and aspect ratios, which would create a collage effect, and with Welles' bravura editing on F for Fake, the possibilities are endlessly fascinating for what he could (and did) have achieved with Wind.
The links below are to two articles about the film:
Article: "Is The Other Side of the Wind Orson Welles' Unseen Masterpiece?" by Lawrence French
Article: "Panning for Gold: Looking for Welles' Lost Last Movie" by Tim Cumming
The French film magazine Positif has published numerous Welles articles over the years, among them interviews with Dominque Antoine (producer of F for Fake and Other Side of the Wind) and Oja Kodar. Antoine, in a 1998 interview, had this to say about the film's possible completion (my translation): . "Some of the film is in storage in Los Angeles, the complete edited work copy which he carried with him. The negative has always been always in Paris, in the hands of Bousheri, and he can do nothing with it unless an agreement is found with Oja Kodar, who inherited all unfinished films of Welles, and a possible purchaser who would undertake all the business aspects of the film. All that remains to do on it is to clean it a little, perhaps tighten it up, like Orson wanted, to make the negative conform with the work print of Oja, to mixer. If somebody can make all this work, it is Oja, with whom Orson had left his plans... After Orson's death, Oja also showed Huston the film to ask whether he could finish it, but he stopped that on the editing table and I understand his reservations: even if they were very close, very similar in viewpoint, they did not make the same type of film at all. Our idea, Oja and I, it would be to come out with the film such as it is, to present it as an unfinished work of Orson Welles. And it has been stopped by all the vultures who would like to make a finished film of it. Finished by whom? Who can you substitute for Welles?"
And in a 1999 interview with Kodar, printed in 2001:
"The film is practically finished, with 50 minutes edited by Welles and the rest ready to be edited. All is the footage is in good shape and secure, controlled by Gary Graver and myself. And I believe that what has happened here (unfinished Welles retrospective in Munich) will help to convince our respective financial backers to find an arrangement. They want to do that, and it is simply a question of knowing who gets what. Our Iranian co-producer dreamed of getting a fortune with the last film of Orson Welles. Like many others, he was overcome by the name of Welles, without taking into account that this name will not bring in millions. I would like that to be true, as I have financial interest in the film, but he needs to reduce his claims and I have hope that it can be released soon."
Translations are mine, so I don't guarantee absolute perfection. The original articles can be found in Positif #449/50 and 479.