Orson Welles was ready to make a comeback with one last movie — with a movie about a director making a comeback with one last movie. It was called The Other Side of the Wind and Welles shot it with a number of actors, including John Huston, but it was never completed due to ongoing financial and legal battles. However, this might all change.
A group of producers set up an Indiegogo account and are looking for donations to fund the editing and postproduction for The Other Side of the Wind. Welles completed principal photography, but died before he could finish this process. The legendary filmmaker behind such titles as Citizen Kane, Don Quixote and Touch of Evil attempted to fund the project himself. However, he eventually had to enlist a number of backers, with a number of them backing out. Welles took a number of acting gigs — television, commercials and film — to finance the rest of the film, as well as battling for full proprietary control. When he died in 1985, there would be 30 more years of legal battles before the rights were eventually settled in 2014 by Filip Jan Rymsza, Frank Marshall and Jens Koethner Kaul. It’s these producers who are behind the Indiegogo fundraiser campaign and are hoping to raise $2 million by June 14.
Welles began conceiving The Other Side of the Wind back in 1937 when he famously feuded with Ernest Hemingway. As Vanity Fair chronicled in a recent issue, a 22-year-old came in to perform the voiceover for a Spanish Civil War documentary, the narration for which was written by the famous writer. Welles made some suggestions to improve the script which led to Hemingway throwing an offensive gay slur that led to verbal comebacks, and eventually Welles and Hemingway were locked in a heated battled with chairs as their weapons of choice. While the two reconciled shortly afterwards in a heap of laughter and alcohol, Welles would use this as inspiration for a story about a man’s-man writer on the decline. Hemingway’s eventual suicide prompted the filmmaker to change it to a man’s-man director. Welles began filming The Other Side of the Wind in the 1970s with a cast that included Dennis Hopper, Lilli Palmer, Oja Kodar and Peter Bogdanovich.
A number of items are available to anyone looking to contribute funds, depending on the amount donated, including a limited edition poster, a coffee table with rare photos of Welles, custom cigars made to celebrate Welles’ birthday, tickets to the premiere and a 35mm copy of The Other Side of the Wind. If you’d like to learn more about the tumultuous process, Vanity Fair’s article is worth a read.