Medium Rehash: “The Other Side of ‘The Other Side of the Wind'”

It’s Christmas time. And I have material littering the internet.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to write another post, so here’s a little something that I posted earlier this year on Medium.

It was written after I was informed that I was going to be laid off. So while at work, instead of doing my job, I wrote this post instead.

I don’t know what the status is of this production. I quit following it because I don’t want to see it completed. So maybe Netflix came to their senses.

Nevertheless, this is my thoughts on the matter.

branches&creatures

Just because you can do a thing, doesn’t mean you should do a thing. This age old advice seems to go missing in the age of the Internet.

The legacy of Orson Welles, for better or worse, entails his inability to complete projects. And although his career left a lot on the table, perhaps he is best known for being…Orson Welles. Independent of the films he failed to complete, his legacy will stand.

But in the age of the Internet, all dreams become reality. Netflix has permitted Peter Bogdanovich to complete post-production on the failed Welles comeback, “The Other Side of the Wind”.

The product of the 1970s, this film was to be Welles’ grand return to Hollywood. The plot was essentially the production of the movie, with legendary director John Huston playing an aging filmmaker attempting to complete the pretentiously titled “The Other Side of the Wind.”

But the real-life production fell into the standard 70s filmmaking pitfalls; chaos during filming, reach exceeding its grasp, etc. Welles was already a pioneer in regards to editing, and “The Other Side of the Wind”, was to be his greatest achievement. But because this vision went unrealized, Welles (perhaps more than any of his other projects), desperately wanted to see this completed.

Much of the movie was filmed. And both Peter Bogdanovich and Oja Kodar made their campaigns throughout the years to complete post-production. Kodar would even go so far as to accuse Oliver Stone of ripping Welles’ quick-cuts and cinematography for films “JFK” and “Nixon”. While those accusations might be an exaggeration, it isn’t difficult to see her point.

Which leads us to a dark truth…Oliver Stone did it much, much better. By watching the rare footage on YouTube, “The Other Side of the Wind” appears to be groundbreaking…yet a chaotic mess, very much resembling its production. If released today, its achievements would go noted, but under appreciated.

Yet “The Other Side of the Wind” works best as an unfinished product, a tall tale of the turbulent times that was 1970s Hollywood. Peter Bogdanovich might feel that he owes Orson Welles, but perhaps Welles made HIS perfect production, albeit unwittingly. Welles is already a legend as a filmmaker, Citizen Kane alone has cemented that. But the man himself, was much, much more.

Yet in the age of the Internet, all dreams come true.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s