A famed, and infamous, movie director, JJ Hannaford, dies in a car accident. He was about to release his latest movie and a documentary camera crew had been following him around in the days preceding his death. We see the events leading up to his death, the careers Hannaford destroyed, the enemies he made and his last film, The Other Side of the Wind.Written by
Welles's original film shot was impounded in a French vault after the Iranian revolution in 1979. The main financier was the deposed Shah of Iran's brother-in-law. Welles took up a court case to get it released to artist ownership under the "Napoleonic Code" (newsreel footage clip in They'll Love Me When I'm Dead (2018)): he lost, the French courts maintaining it was the property of the producer. See more »
In one confrontational scene, Brooks Otterlake, who Gregory Sierra's character, Jack Simon, refers to as, "Kid", is simultaneously Peter Bogdanovich and Rich Little. This is small overlap is because Rich Little was originally cast as the black turtleneck wearing, voice imitating director, Brooks Otterlake. However Bogdanovich replaced him, and Little's part was reduced to that of a Party Guest. See more »
That's the car, what was left of it after the accident. If it was an accident.
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Other reviews have shed light on the challenges and controversy surrounding the creation of this film, so I will not cover that. The initial scenes are haphazard, but after a short while, the plot adopts a firmer grasp. Some scenes were shot in b/w, and other in color, and the mix of the various film stocks does work, for the most part. Shrewd, biting humor infuse the entire film, which skewers the Hollywood studio system and offers glimpses of hangers-on, while highlighting the sordid nature of fame.
Wonderful cast, with standout performances from Huston and Foster.
Some of the the dialogue appeared improvised, and the energy was highly-charged. The upbeat jazz score by Michel Legrand was terrific. Overall, I enjoyed this wild ride. Even so, I wonder what would have happened if Welles would have had the funds to personally helm this film into full fruition? Did he genuinely intend for this film to be finished by someone else? What would have happened if it had been retained as a lengthy, experimental journey?
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