The big­gest ob­sta­cles to fin­ish­ing Or­son Welles’ fi­nal film over its fivedecade pro­duc­tion

Empire (Australasia) - - PREVIEW - JONATHAN PILE

SHOT BE­TWEEN 1970 and 1976, The Other Side Of The Wind would have been Or­son Welles’ fi­nal film as a di­rec­tor. But he didn’t fin­ish it. Fi­nally, af­ter var­i­ous at­tempts, pro­duc­ers Frank Mar­shall and Filip Jan Rym­sza have com­pleted it. These are the five big­gest chal­lenges they faced.

Find­ing Fund­ing

Frank Mar­shall was part of the orig­i­nal crew, and re­calls how Welles strug­gled to get fund­ing. “We’d shoot in lit­tle spurts, in be­tween the movies I was mak­ing with Peter [Bog­danovich]. Fi­nally, in ’74, Or­son called to say, ‘I’ve got money. We can fin­ish it.’” It took a fur­ther two years.

Re­cast­ing night­mares

On the fi­nal night of film­ing, Welles found his sec­ond lead, Rich Lit­tle, had left the Ari­zona set for home. Un­able to shoot, Mar­shall shut pro­duc­tion down. “Or­son was re­ally up­set,” he says. Bog­danovich took Lit­tle’s place, ne­ces­si­tat­ing reshoots.

Tan­gled rights is­sues

Com­plet­ing it af­ter Welles died was tough, as mul­ti­ple stake­hold­ers were in­volved. “The rights were the rea­son no-one fin­ished the film,” says Filip Jan Rym­sza. “Some­body al­ways held up the process.

All par­ties had to step aside and trust us.”

Tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties

A workprint ex­isted, as did thou­sands of cans of film, but bring­ing them to­gether wasn’t easy. “We didn’t have the orig­i­nal sound,” says Rym­sza. “We had to go to third or fourth gen­er­a­tion au­dio.” Mar­shall be­lieves they wouldn’t have fin­ished the film with­out mod­ern edit­ing tech­nol­ogy.

The Fi­nal Cut

In Jan­uary they held a screen­ing to ask for feed­back. “Quentin Tarantino gave a few notes about pac­ing,” says Rym­sza, “and Rian John­son con­firmed what Frank and I were think­ing about the end­ing.”


Above: Or­son Welles, The leg­endary be­hind the cam­era dur­ing the orig­i­nal Other Side Of The Wind shoot. Right: Footage from the ‘film within a film’, by pre­vi­ously leg­endary film­maker J.J. ‘Jake’ Han­naford, played by John Hus­ton (be­low).

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