In the final fifteen years of the life of legendary director Orson Welles he pins his Hollywood comeback hopes on a film, The Other Side of the Wind, in itself a film about an aging film director trying to finish his last great movie.
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Sophia Siddique Harvey,
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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
The film was never completed due to financial problems. One of the financiers was the brother-in-law of the Iranian leader Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. In 2004 Peter Bogdanovich said that there was still hope that the film would soon be finished. See more »
Look, I was salivating at the thought of seeing this as much as anyone. The idea that there was a final fully shot movie by Orson Welles, that no-one had ever seen, hanging around in film cans for over 30 years is just wonderful. And the title is wonderful too.
As long as this wonderful dream *remained* a dream, it could be anything you wanted: you could imagine the most beautiful, mysterious, moving work of art ever. It could be - and could always remain - perfect.
But judgment day has marched along and The Other Side Of The Wind has finally been exposed to the inevitable harsh light of day, to scrutiny and evisceration. And the objective results are really not all that pretty. The final product is a shoddy, sloppy, self-indulgent and unattractive 70s student film, with badly staged, badly dubbed and badly acted performances all round, everyone looking rushed and amateurish, like they grabbed 5 minutes of people's time in between shooting a proper film. Only John Huston looks like he's actually IN his role, and even then the way he is filmed diminishes any potentially powerful and memorable moments amidst all the chaos, working continually against the work as a whole.
In my dream ALL the film would have looked like the film *within* the film, which are the only moments of beauty, the only moments that actually feel like a real movie anyone would want to go see. Robert Random and Oja Kodar both look very beautiful and otherworldly. As someone in the film says, the magic picture box loves them.
I'm very thankful for all the work that went into completing this thing, it has been an amazing and unprecedented and inspirational phenomenon, seeing so many people from all walks of life doing what they could to to make it a reality.
But the sad fact is that Orson Welles only directed one truly great film. And this is most decidedly not it.
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