Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Orson Welles Lost Masterpiece Found?

Imagine an Orson Welles film starring John Huston about a director who is based on a mixture of Welles, Huston and Ernest Hemingway.

You don't have to. The Other Side of the Wind is that movie. As Welles describes the protagonist: "It's about a bastard director... full of himself, who catches people and creates and destroys them. It's about us, John."

Spanish film-maker Andres Vicente Gomez declares: "It was a film very close to him. But his physical condition was delicate. He didn't have the energy to cut it."

As the London Observer reports:

"The unedited film has been hidden away in a vault until now amid doubts that it could ever be shown.

Rumours of its release have surfaced repeatedly since it was shot in 1972, but an ownership dispute has always scuppered any plans. However, a Los Angeles lawyer told the Observer last week that the film will finally be seen...

Huston's actor son, Danny, describes the footage as 'absolutely fascinating'. In 2005 he recalled that Welles had given extensive 'editing notes' on the film to actor and director Peter Bogdanovich, who also appeared in the film.

Bogdanovich is understood to be involved in efforts finally to bring The Other Side of The Wind to the screen."

The big question is will the footage be released uncut or edited into a cinematic narrative? Controversy looms: whatever the notes Bogdanovich has, Welles always desired final cut for all his works. Gomez warns any attempt to cut the film an "act of betrayal..."

Orson Welles's unseen masterpiece set for release
Dalya Alberge
Sunday 23 January 2011

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