(France/Iran/US - 2018)
Directed by Orson Welles. Written by Orson Welles and Oja Kodar. Cast: John Huston, Oja Kodar, Peter Bogdanovich, Susan Strasberg, Lilli Palmer, Bob Random, Norman Foster, Edmond O'Brien, Mercedes McCambridge, Cameron Mitchell, Paul Stewart, Henry Jaglom, Paul Mazursky, Dennis Hopper, Curtis Harrington, Claude Chabrol, George Jessel, Gregory Sierra, Tonio Selwart, Dan Tobin, John Carroll, Stafford Repp, Geoffrey Land, Joseph McBride, Cathy Lucas, Pat McMahon, Peter Jason, Angelo Rossitto, Stephane Audran, Rich Little, Gary Graver, Frank Marshall, Cassie Yates, William Katt, Cameron Crowe, Les Moonves. (R, 122 mins)
Orson Welles died in 1985, but 33 years later, his "last" film has finally been completed and released as a Netflix Original. One of the most famous of "lost" movies, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND has spent decades mired in various legal, personal, and political quagmires among numerous involved parties. As was usually the case in Welles' European exile years in the 1950s and 1960s (the exception being his last Hollywood studio work as a director, 1958's TOUCH OF EVIL), funding came from his lucrative actor-for-hire jobs and when that ran out, he would constantly find himself hustling for cash from various wealthy investors from all over the world, who were always more than happy to partner with a revered filmmaker of Welles' stature until they realized they probably weren't getting their money back. Notorious for doing things his own way and clashing with Hollywood execs as far back as 1942's THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, Welles would rarely enjoy a hassle-free project other than 1962's THE TRIAL, and while he did have to cut corners when future SUPERMAN producer Alexander Salkind ran out of money by the end of production, he remained grateful that Salkind trusted him and left him alone to make the film he wanted to make.
|Huston, Welles, and Bogdanovich apparently|
coining the question "How 'bout a Fresca?"
|Cameron Mitchell, Paul Stewart, Mercedes|
McCambridge, and Welles on the set.
The party is a Who's Who of Hannaford's world, with tight-knit, ENTOURAGE-like acolytes like Boyle, retired actor friends Pat Mullins (an ill-looking Edmond O'Brien, who would retire from acting himself in 1974 after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's), Lou Martin (John Carroll), and Al Denny (Stafford Repp); former business partner "The Baron" (Tonio Selwart); loyal secretary Maggie Noonan (Mercedes McCambridge); his manager Matt Costello (Paul Stewart); and longtime makeup man Zimmie Zimmer (Cameron Mitchell), who attends the party even though he's fired en route. There's also macho screenwriter Jack Simon (Gregory Sierra), who's no fan of Hannaford's, and film critic Juliet Rich (Susan Strasberg), who's notoriously critical of the work of both Hannaford and Otterlake. As everyone mingles, drinks to excess, and wonders about everything from Dale's absence to Hannaford possibly being a closeted homosexual, the director screens an unfinished workprint of THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND, an experimental, avant-garde, Euro-tinged, psychedelic art film starring Dale and a nameless actress (Kodar). The film-within-a-film (shot mostly in 1970) has some striking imagery, whether it's a sex scene in the passenger seat of a garishly lit car that looks like a Dario Argento cab ride (this sequence was shot in 1974), or Dale and "The Actress" spending most of the screened film wandering around nude on the MGM backlot with no dialogue. The power goes out, forcing the party to use generators that also fail, at which point the screening moves to a nearby drive-in. When The Baron informs the projectionist that he's showing the reels out of order as "The Actress" happens upon a giant, erect cock in the desert, the response is "Does it matter?"
THEY'LL LOVE ME WHEN I'M DEAD--is ultimately more fascinating than the film itself.