30 Years After Orson Welles's Death, His Final Unfinished Film Will Be Completed For Netflix
The movie, an experimental look at a director who dies on his 70th birthday while trying to make a comeback, was ultimately left unfinished due to Welles's own death in 1985.
Filmmaking legend Orson Welles intended to release his film The Other Side Of The Wind in the 1970s, but the Citizen Kane director shelved the project when legal troubles and production difficulties made it impossible to complete. The movie, an experimental look at a director who dies on his 70th birthday while trying to make a comeback, was ultimately left unfinished due to Welles's own death in 1985.
Since then, the film has been one of the biggest "what if?" curiosities in Hollywood, with directors and producers alike referring to it as one of the most famous movies to never be made. Fortunately, it will finally see the light of day quite soon — thanks to Netflix.
How Netflix Saved Orson Welles's Final Film
Producer Frank Marshall, who worked on The Other Side Of The Wind — before going on to produce classics such as Back to the Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Goonies and The Sixth Sense — spent decades trying to find a way to finish Welles's final movie. The cost of the rights made those efforts impossible, even as recently as 2014, until Netflix unexpectedly gave a commitment. Marshall told the New York Times:
"I can’t quite believe it, but after 40 years of trying, I am so very grateful for the passion and perseverance from Netflix that has enabled us to, at long last, finally get into the cutting room to finish Orson’s last picture.”
Netflix's chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, added that Netflix's contribution to the film is a labor of love:
"This is a labor of love and a gift to the legacy of one of history’s greatest directors."
Netflix is already known for producing some of the best and most original content available for home streaming, but releasing The Other Side Of The Wind brings them a new kind of cinematic prestige. Citizen Kane is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential films ever made.
That being said, there's no telling how audiences are going to respond to Welles's mockumentary-style film — the 1970s-era script might or might not be relatable in today's world, and his style of filmmaking could just perplex younger audiences. Hopefully, though, Welles delivers one final masterpiece, even though he's not around to see it.