The Other Side of the Wind (2018)

other side of the wind poster 2018 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Interesting layered movie

Probably more interesting now then it would have been in the 1970s

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Other Side of the Wind

Studio:  Royal Road Entertainment

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  August 31, 2018 (Venice Film Festival)/November 2, 2018 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

other side of the wind jake hannaford john huston orson welles

What’s Hannaford playing at?

Jake Hannaford (John Huston) is a famed Hollywood director past his prime but attempting a comeback with a racy experimental film called The Other Side of the Wind.  Unfortunately, the filming has become a mess, the press is questioning his techniques, and his leading actor John Dale (Bob Random) quit during filming leaving the production in jeopardy.  As Hannaford celebrates his seventieth birthday with a preview screening, backers and journalists question if The Other Side of the Wind will ever see the screen…and Hannaford’s long storied career could be ending.

Directed by Orson Welles (who co-wrote the script with Oja Kodar who appears as “The Actress/The Red, Red Indian” in the film), The Other Side of the Wind was an unfinished satire-drama.  Welles funded the film but couldn’t find a studio to back it.  Largely complete, the movie sat idle for decades with legal battles over the content after Welles’ death.  With Netflix investment and crowdfunding, the film was finally completed and screened at the Venice Film Festival and released on Netflix on November 2, 2018.

Orson Welles is a real enigma.  He was a classic director who made one of the greatest films of all time but then was destroyed for it.  He made some obvious money-grab decisions in his project choices in life including horror films and his classic Findus frozen peas fiasco, but he also was making experimental films like F for Fake and A Safe Place.  It is the latter films that resemble The Other Side of the Wind, and it also is a satire of the tempest that seemed to surround Welles.

other side of the wind movie within movie oja kodar bob random

The movie within the movie…

The film was inspired by Hemmingway’s suicide more than Welles’ life (Hemmingway is even referenced), but it feels like Welles is really inserting himself in the lead of Hannaford.  He has Hollywood reporters speculating about his life, his relationships, and criticizing him without knowing him.  He’s surrounded by people who he both trusts intimately and those he knows aren’t really thinking of his best interests.  The story in non-sequential with the ending revealed at the beginning like Citizen Kane (Hannaford dies), but it is the path to that death and the questions surrounding that which lead to the plot.  It is an interesting puzzle that reward rewatching once you know the characters and their roles.

John Huston is the obvious lead and does a great job as the broken director.  He is enigmatic, but also lives out loud (much like Huston, Hemmingway, and Welles).  Within the film, he has tons of supporting characters, and they too are strong.  Oja Kodar and Bob Random play the characters in the movie who largely direct the events of the film and director Peter Bogdanovich (who came back to help finish the movie by doing an opening for the film) plays a significant role.  Bogdanovich had Welles staying with him during the filming and replaced Rich Little in the role.

other side of the wind john huston peter bogdanovich

Will the fake Other Side of the Wind ever be finished…will the real Other Side of the Wind be finished?  That question is finally answered…

The film is largely experimental in its shooting style.  The film jumps between black and white and color and is choppy and stylized.  The movie feels modern and you can see many of the new directing styles in the film.  It is still edgy today and moves a lot faster than many of today’s films…it still looks great.

The Other Side of the Wind is an interesting adventure, and since it was shelved for so long, it is like discovering an undiscovered film (and the irony that it is about an unfinished film is not lost either).  I don’t know if the movie would have been very successful if it had been released in the 1970s like it had been planned because it is similar to many of the post-modern films of the time (the party reminds me a lot of the party scene in Midnight Cowboy and the chaos surrounding the events feels like Nashville).  I also sometimes wish that Welles had played more with the idea that people read too much into film and criticism…like Nabokov novel Pale Fire and impose their beliefs of what the director is thinking and attempting.  Regardless what you think, the movie feels big and unique, and if you are interested in film and the story of film, it should be watched.  Orson Welles relationship with critics is a big aspect of the film…to critique it is almost to fall into the trap of the plot and become part of it.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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