Josh Karp, in Vanity Fair, recounts the story of another never-finished Orson Welles masterpiece film, The Other Side of the Wind. Imagine a film about a troubled director in which Orson Welles collaborated with both John Huston and Peter Bogdanovich. What could possibly go wrong?
In early 1970, director Orson Welles returned to Hollywood after more than a decade in Europe, and later that year he began work on his innovative comeback movieâ€”The Other Side of the Wind.
The movie was the story of a legendary director named Jake Hannaford, who returns to Hollywood from years of semi-exile in Europe with plans to complete work on his own innovative comeback movieâ€”also entitled The Other Side of the Wind.
Welles said it wasnâ€™t autobiographical.
The story line of The Other Side of the Wind was supposed to take place during a single day. At one point, Welles intended to shoot it in eight weeks. Instead, it took six years, and the film remains unfinished nearly four decades later.
Based on a script Welles revised nightly, the film was financed principally by the Shah of Iranâ€™s brother-in-law and offered possibly one last shot at topping Citizen Kane. The making of The Other Side of the Wind began as a tale of art imitating life, but ultimately morphed into life imitating art, on a set where it sometimes became difficult to tell the difference between the movie and real life.
During production many people asked Welles what his movie was all about. To his star, John Huston, he once replied, â€œItâ€™s a film about a bastard directorâ€¦. Itâ€™s about us, John. Itâ€™s a film about us.â€