Written by / 11/04/2018 / No comments / , , , , , , , , , , ,

ORSON WELLES LONG-AWAITED 'THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND'

Oda Kodar and Robert Random in the film's film YEARS: 1972-2018
The anticipated Orson Welles film THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND is two pictures in one...

The first is a pseudo documentary using multiple cameras centered on veteran director Jack Hannaford, played by John Huston, at an all-night anti-wrap party where people are coming and going around a jump-cut patchwork of color and mostly black-and-white footage...

Much like Orson's buddy, Henry Jaglom's decades-later SOMEONE TO LOVE, which was the last movie Welles appeared in (playing himself but without his name being mentioned) and George Lucas's low-budget masterpiece, AMERICAN GRAFFITI, it's a dusk-to-dawn experience, and in this case, the two-hour run time can often feel like eternity...

Represents how much we get to know Huston's Jake
With guests that include an uptight critic played by Susan Strasberg; Mercury Theater's JOURNEY INTO FEAR director Norman Foster with actor Paul Stewart providing color commentary; Gregory Sierra as a high-strung mainstream filmmaker; a strung-out Dennis Hopper as himself...

And as Welles's real life friend and collaborator Peter Bogdanovich converses with Huston, it's unfortunate that they share the most important scenes being ultimately the most uninteresting characters: an old mentor and his young protege...

From TARGETS to SAINT JACK, Bogdanovich always seemed to really love acting. Maybe because he worshiped actors. And while he's always relaxed in front of the camera, he wasn't entirely convincing or all that... interesting...

Kodar in a provocative nightclub scene
On the other hand, Orson's real life girlfriend, Oja Kodar, is extremely interesting — by her exotic and intoxicating looks alone. As is Hannaford's young leading man,  John Dale played by long-haired "he looks like a girl" pretty boy Robert Random...

For a hardcore Welles buff, the shoddy F FOR FAKE style fake-documentary feels more collected and edited than written and directed...

Making the unfinished, avant-gard film-within-the-film, being viewed either in a projection room, projected at the party or later at a drive-in theater, the best example of how the CITIZEN KANE auteur would have played-out in the early post-1960's/1970's, and it's actually titled THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND — where the male and female beauties wander around, mostly naked, through ZABRISKIE POINT inspired desert terrain; what looks like the ruins of broken down homes, apartment buildings, bombed-out movie sets casting splintered shadows; ride in a car having wild sex; or hanging-out at a noisy psychedelic night club...

The women's restroom scene teasing at taboo TOSOTW Rates: ***
Lit by exploitation cinematographer Gary Graver, shots of the counter-culture Adam and Eve crisscrossing each other while doors open and close around them — while no THE TRIAL or TOUCH OF EVIL — displays Welles's style in flowing motion, and is far more mesmerizing to simply sit and space-out on than the documented, jazz-soaked party is to intentionally and pretentiously suffer through.

"Who knows," Huston's Jake Hannaford states at the end of the picture. "Maybe you can stare too much at something," Which won't be a problem with THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND. Unlike most of Welles's work, it's not the kind of experience to have to (or be able to) experience again.
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