Will Orson Welles’ Unfinished Film be Better than Citizen Kane?

Netflix has just announced it has bought the rights, and will finance the completion and restoration of an unfinished Orson Welles film, The Other Side of the Wind.

It was the last project of the Citizen Kane director before his death in 1985, and there have been efforts to finish it for over four decades by original cast and crew members. Frank Marshall, the production manager on the original production, will co-produce alongside Filip Jan Rymsza, with the film starring John Huston, Peter Bogdanovich, Oja Kodar, Dennis Hopper and more.

John Huston

The footage (eight pallets full of reels), that has been kept with archivists in Paris for the past 40 or so years, has now been shipped to LA to begin production. According to Vanity Fair, the script is something that Welles would revise nightly, which partly explains why the initial shooting period of eight weeks became six years. Welles claimed the film was never autobiographical, but the main character (played by John Huston) had many parallels to both himself, and Ernest Hemmingway. It’s a movie within a movie—character Jake Hannaford is a well regarded, alternative director who returns to Hollywood after many years away to work on his comeback movie, also titled The Other Side of the Wind. Many had hoped this film would be Welles big follow up to Citizen Kane, which is possibly why $400, 000 was crowdfunded for its completion prior to its purchase by Netflix. Where that money went no one really knows, but here’s hoping that with enough Netflix money behind it and input from original cast and crew, this holy grail of footage gets the completion that Welles intended.

Dennis Hopper

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