Posted Nov 04 2018

The Other Side Of The Wind - This Final Movie Does Not Rock

Dir: Orson Welles

Starring John Huston, Oja Kodar, Peter Bogdanovich, Susan Strasberg

“Is the camera eye a reflection of reality or is reality a reflection of the camera eye? Or is the camera merely a phallus?” Yes, Orson Welles’ long discussed and finally “restored” final movie is THAT kind of movie. Shot during the early ‘70s and focused around a birthday party for an aged and legendary filmmaker (Huston in for Welles himself, in essence) and drip fed with lingering (often naked) shots of Welles girlfriend Kodar, the man who made The Magnificent Ambersons’ lost masterpiece is a woefully self-indulgent piece, set in a world where everyone is filming everyone constantly (a little bit of prescience there) and where the constant sound of film running through cameras quickly becomes as annoying as the tinkly-tinkly jazzy score of Michel Legrand.

Welles shot this portrait of an aged and much admired filmmaker on the hoof over a six year period in the early 1970s, and then spent almost twice as long editing and playing with the vast amount of disparate footage – Dennis Hopper shows up at one point simply because he was hanging out at the time – but he could never finish it. {Possibly for the fact that he never really finds a story to tell.) Producer Frank Marshall and filmmaker – and co-star here – Peter Bogdanovich have opted to complete Welles’ vision. And whilst it’s interesting in abstract, it’s remarkably tiresome in reality.

For fans of ‘70s self-reflective experimental filmmaking, Welles completists, and those who long to hear the dulcet tomes of the late great Huston once more, then there is something here. For others, check out Morgan Neville’s They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead, a documentary about the making of this final movie. It’s a far more revelatory film, and a far more enjoyable one.


The Other Side Of The Wind is now on Netflix


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