Why Netflix took such a huge risk to finish ‘The Other Side Of The Wind’
Producer Frank Marshall talks us through the 48-year journey to finish Orson Welles' final film, admitting that putting it together was like a treasure hunt.
The Other Side Of The Wind would still not be finished without Netflix.
Orson Welles actually begun filming on it in 1970. But then production repeatedly stalled and he struggled for 15 years to get it finished.
Ultimately, he died in 1985 without ever completing his Hollywood satire, which was obviously semi-autobiographical as it revolved around John Huston’s exiled director retuning to America to try and finish his comeback movie.
Because of Welles’ genius, though, a devoted group of filmmakers and artists, which included Peter Bogdanovich and Frank Marshall, made it their mission to complete “The Other Side Of The Wind.”
Marshall, who worked on the film as a novice back in 1970 as a production manager, recently told me that he has spent the last 33 years trying to get his hands on the negative for “The Other Side Of The Wind” so that he could do finally finish it. But that only really started to become a reality when Netflix got involved 6 years ago.
“Ted Sarandos, who is the chief content officer for Netflix, is a huge Orson fan. He knows how much of a visionary filmmaker he was,” Marshall recently explained to me over the phone.
“Netflix is a great site for films and storytelling in all different kinds of ways. I think he understood the importance of this for cinema history and for Orson’s career.”
There was just one problem, though. “I couldn’t tell him what we needed to finish it because we needed to see that negative. But we couldn’t get the negative before we had somebody who would pay for it. It was a Catch-22.”
That didn’t stop Netflix putting their hands deep into their pockets for "The Other Side Of The Wind," though.
“Then finally Ted said, ‘Go for it.’ So Filip and I pulled things together. They were supportive of anything we needed. There was never a question from them.”
“I’ll admit, we went over budget. They never questioned what we were doing or why we were doing it. That’s why we are here today.”
But things only got more complicated once they had their hands on the negative for "The Other Side Of The Wind."
“Essentially it was a big treasure hunt, a scavenger hunt even, that’s a better way.”
“Because it was a giant puzzle. We had a script, we had Orson’s notes, we had cut sequences, we had a lot of guide posts along the way.”
“But we had to assemble all of the film and get it downloaded and organized first. Because I didn’t know if he had shot everything. There was no-way to know. He never kept any logs, and notes were scattered all over the place. So we had to sit down and organize the film, and that took nearly a year.”
Ultimately, though, Marshall insists that the now completed version of "The Other Side Of The Wind" is the perfect conclusion to Welles’ career. Especially as Netflix have also made two documentaries on Welles and the film to coincide with its release.
“It is nice to be the bookend to his career. Because it is a full-length feature film. Because before this 'F For Fake' was his last, and I wouldn’t call that a feature. So you go from 'Citizen Kane' to this, and film historians will be studying this for a long time. I do think it is a fitting film for his legacy.”
“The Other Side Of The Wind” is released on Netflix on November 2.