Hollywood, despite a history filled to overflowing with brash, bravado-driven, larger-than-life personalities, has seen few directors laden by such undeniable talent and bloodied by so many self-inflicted wounds as George Orson Welles.
Recently, reports surfaced that, through the painstaking work of to Danny Huston, Peter Bogdanovich, and others, we were soon get the chance to see his “unfinished masterpiece,” The Other Side of the Wind:
The Other Side of the Wind portrays the last hours of an ageing film director. Welles is said to have told John Huston, who plays the lead role: “It’s about a bastard director… full of himself, who catches people and creates and destroys them. It’s about us, John.”
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.
Over at www.wellesnet.com, skepticism (and downright anger) reigned, reminding me once again that the truth about Welles, his actions, his wishes, and nearly all of his projects is almost impossible to find. The fact that Welles was the creator of one of the first (and probably the finest) of all mockumentaries — F for Fake — is quite possibly the most fitting epitaph one could imagine for the great director, and one which which he would probably be more than satisfied.
Whether or not The Other Side of the World will be allowed to challenge that epitaph remains to be seen.