Orson Welles’ Unfinished THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND Nears Completion
It's difficult to overstate just how important Bob Murawski is to cinema as a whole.
Not only is the legendary editor an Academy Award winner (for Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker ['10]), and longtime cutter for Sam Raimi (Spider-Man 2 ['04]), but he's also one of the great exploitation preservationists, releasing such smutty gems as An American Hippie In Israel ('72), Massacre Mafia Style ('74) and both Cannibal Holocaust ('80) and Cannibal Ferox ('81) under his Grindhouse Releasing banner. In '95, Murawski discovered the elements of Duke Mitchell's unfinished Gone With the Pope ('76/'10), and began a fifteen-year restoration process, which resulted in a movie that was re-constructed using half-shot scenes, notes on bar napkins, and cutting edge post production technology. It's one of the great moments in cinematic devotion, bestowing audiences a gem that would've otherwise been lost to financing difficulties and its creator's death.
Now, Murawski is applying those same skills to bring Orson Welles' final unfinished film, The Other Side of the Wind, to audiences over forty years after principal photography commenced on the project. Murawski will be cutting Other Side with Scott Millan (Apollo 13 ['95]) acting as sound mixer - splicing a movie that was shot by Welles beginning in '70, from a screenplay he co-wrote with Oja Kodar. The Other Side of the Wind stars John Huston, Peter Bogdanovich, Cameron Mitchell, Mercedes McCambridge, Susan Strasberg, and features a post-Easy Rider ('69) Dennis Hopper.
The film covers the 70th birthday party of movie director Jake Hannaford (Huston), who's struggling to make a commercial comeback. It opens with Hannaford's death just after his party, and is said to mostly focus on the evening before his demise. Interspersed amongst this final night are excerpts from Hannaford's daring new film-within-a-film, The Other Side of the Wind. As we learn more about Hannaford, it's revealed (in trademark Wellesian fashion), that there's an actual man behind the icon, and that dark secrets will go to the grave with him after his automobile is transformed into a coffin of twisted steel.
Welles shot the film-within-a-film between '70 and '76, and then worked on The Other Side of the Wind until his death in '85, leaving behind a 45-minute work print that he had smuggled out of France (following multiple years of legal woes).The character portrayed by Huston originated from an encounter between Ernest Hemingway and Welles in '37 — four years before the release of Citizen Kane ('41) — in which a whiskey-drinking Hemingway threw a chair at Welles. Welles decided to use Hemingway as the primary model for Huston’s character, combining the man's volatility with his own battles with movie studios over the years.
The fact that Murawski (working with Bogdanovich and original production manager/producer Frank Marshall) is heading up post on this project brings this writer nothing but joy, as we'll finally get to see some sembelance of Welles' final filmic vision. This could also work as a great argument against Netflix's negative reputation within the world of cinephilia (they're financing the resoration for a 2018 release), as they're not exactly known for being a bastion of film history anymore. The Other Side of the Wind is one of the great unfinished works, so it's just thrilling to hear that this team is finally going to complete it, with utmost respect shown to the movie's original creator.