‘The Other Side of the Wind,’ an unfinished marvel

Edwin J. Viera, Columnist

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The year is 1970 and what is going to be one of the most awaited unfinished films has just started refilming. Its director is the notorious Orson Welles, who made a name for himself through the film “Citizen Kane,” and the infamous Halloween broadcast of “The War of the Worlds.” His film was supposed to be completed over eight weeks in 1970, but instead filming would take six years.

Welles’ film was titled “The Other Side of the Wind,” and similar to “Citizen Kane,” the new film was about discovering the life of a man, in this case film director Jake Hannaford. But unlike “Citizen Kane,” this movie does not star Orson Welles, and it faced a daunting number of challenges during its creation.

For starters, Welles apparently made nightly changes to the script, and shooting it was of amazing complexity. It was shot in a variety of different styles; color, black-and-white, still photography, 8mm, 16mm and 35mm film, all rapidly intercut together, and was planned as a collage of these different styles

Now the film has resurfaced many years after Welles’ death and is going to be completed. The people who are trying to finish this mysterious film are the very people who have become a center fold of our daily lives. Netflix.

A deal was commissioned for $5 million to finish the movie. Originally, it was supposed to be released in 2015, but due to setbacks, the film’s new release date has yet to be announced. In doing this Netflix is signing on for a challenging task.

Many of the actors that starred in the film are deceased, plus the multiple types of cinematography that Welles used will make the film difficult to complete. It is a daunting task, but will Netflix’s “The Other Side of the Wind” be as good as Welles intended?

When it comes to original content, Netflix is on a roll. From their original show “House of Cards” to their film “The Do-Over,” Netflix seems to have an eye for cinematography. Although they do have one strike against them, which is season four of “Arrested Development.”

“Arrested Development” originally ran on FOX but was cancelled after three seasons. Netflix brought the show back in 2014 and botched it up worse than Meg Ryan’s numerous plastic surgeries. The continuity of that one season doesn’t flow with the rest, and it makes very little sense to have tampered with something that was perfect to begin with.

The task of filming “The Other Side of the Wind” is the way it was filmed. Using the idea of a story within a story, Welles envisioned this movie as a parody of what was then considered “New Hollywood.” Now with that sort of phased out of existence, it seems that the film will be lost in a different time; it could quite possibly go unappreciated by many.

While Netflix appears to know what they are doing, it seems as though the film should be presented the way it is. With so many problems plaguing it “The Other Side of the Wind” might as well be left as an unfinished marvel. With proper editing it could be just the thing to keep Welles’ name untarnished.

If the movie is completed, a companion book should come out of the same name when the film is released. The book should provide a copy of the script so people know the way it was meant to end, and should talk about filming it. This only seems fair since the film was not completed by its original creator.

“The Other Side of the Wind” will be something similar to the Titanic, before it sank, and the Spanish Basilica, Sagrada Familia; it will be a mysterious masterpiece of untold proportion. Perhaps Welles did top “Citizen Kane,” but only time and a possible Netflix release date can tell.

email: viera.record@outlook.com

 

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