orson welles the other side of the wind

It’s been some time since we heard about Orson Welles‘ long-overdue final feature, The Other Side of the Wind, so let’s do a quick recap. Peter Bogdanovich spearheaded a fundraising campaign that would allow a set of producers, editors, etc. to complete the shot, unedited film — using what are supposedly very detailed notes left by the editing-obsessed Welles — and release it for his 100th birthday in May of 2015. It not only failed to come to fruition — it had to lower the asked-for price by half and still couldn’t even come close to earning that much. Against best intentions and fine efforts, Wind seemed bound to continue toiling in absolute obscurity.

Now there could be a second wind (not sorry), and it comes from Netflix: Wellesnet has learned the company is discussing “the completion of the  feature film for theatrical and streaming release and creation of a full-length documentary.” But because nothing with this movie is ever too easy, that’s pending the approval of Welles’ widow, Oja Kodar, whose contract negotiation reportedly played a part in the long silence and who is apparently at the center of the sort of financial / contractual negotiations that have stymied this effort for more than fifteen years. Sacha Welles, her nephew, has “indicated negotiations have not gone as smoothly as he had hoped” and said in this longer statement:

“For decades we have been optimistic, otherwise we wouldn’t be trying for so long to get this film released. How optimistic should we be about this particular deal? Hard to tell. We have been dealing with [producer] Filip [Jan Rymsza]’s not-so-honest claims and promises; Frank [Marshall] brings the only legitimacy and fairness to their side. All in all, I am not so optimistic since they keep on chiseling away from our old agreement. Every time I give in to something they want, they come up with something else, this keeps going on and on and I don’t know where the end is.”

So… I suppose that headline-fueled optimism should be held back a smidge! Netflix certainly has the money to throw at people who will make this happen — do they continue getting involved with decades-old arguments over a movie that will get a limited scope of attention if it finally comes together? Good God, I hope so.

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