The biggest obstacles to finishing Orson Welles’ final film over its fivedecade production
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND IS ON NETFLIX FROM 2 NOVEMBER
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).