Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Don't Get Too Excited Just Yet

Everyone is buzzing about the news that Orson Welles'sincomplete final film may finally see the light of a projector. Welles spent five years making the "The Other Side of the Wind," starring John Huston as a film director who—ironically enough—dies while working on his final film. The flashback structure that follows sounds a bit like an obscure Welles film called "Citizen Kane." Welles presumably figured that no one had seen that one, so he could get away with re-using the concept.

"The unedited negatives of the film have sat in a Paris vault for more than 30 years, unseen by anyone other than Welles, who died in 1985."

In his infinite, I-Knew-Welles-and-interviewed-Howard-Hawks-and-John-Ford-too wisdom, director Peter Bogdanovich decided to announce, unofficially, that "the deal is 99.9% finished." Other men might wait for that final tenth of a percent to make things definite so that they don't get burned (again) when things fall through, but that's not how Bogdanovich rolls.

Hopefully this time Bogdanovich's efforts will bear the cinematic equivalent of tasty fruit, but it's important to note that "The Other Side of the Wind" is very incomplete. Welles editted 40 to 50 minutes and, if the New York Sun is to be believed, no one but him has seen any of the raw footage, which he said was pretty much done complete. What happens when Bogdanovich finds the footage and realizes that he has no idea what the fuck he's doing?

Did Welles share his plans for the film with any collaborators prior to his death? Did he take extensive notes? Can we ever really get something close to "The Other Side of the Wind" that Welles would have made? If we do and it is great, can we give it awards and include it on our top 10 lists like some did with "Army of Shadows?" Until these questions are answered, don't set your expectations too high.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

This is obvivously written by someone who never spent any time with Orson.