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Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Other Side Of The Wind (2018)

A legendary film director (John Huston) finds the money has run out in the middle of shooting his latest movie. That evening he attends a birthday party in his honor thrown by a famous actress (Lilli Palmer). Directed by Orson Welles. Begun in 1970 but still never completed for a myriad of reason when Welles died in 1985, the film has taken on mythic proportions for the cineaste community. Here, others (principally Frank Marshall, Filip Jan Rymsza and Peter Bogdanovich) have taken on the task of posthumously completing the film with (presumably) Welles intentions. Alas, it's not the masterpiece everyone had been hoping for and who knows if this is the film Welles would have wanted released. But it is Welles so there's much to admire here. There's a film within the film that appears to be a parody of 1970s cinema (EASY RIDER, ZABRISKIE POINT come to mind) that cries out (intentionally) pretentious. That movie is woven into the fabric of the narrative of the party sequence. Here, Welles gets his revenge on Pauline Kael as embodied by Susan Strasberg's pushy film critic. The film runs over the two hour mark but I suspect Welles would have edited down easily to something like 90 to 100 minutes. I liked it a lot but it's nowhere near Welles' greatest achievements and frankly, outside of film buffs, I don't think the film will have much appeal to anyone. With Peter Bogdanovich (as annoying a screen presence as ever), Edmond O'Brien, Mercedes McCambridge, Cameron Mitchell, Paul Stewart, Norman Foster (in the film's best performance), Dan Tobin, Dennis Hopper, Paul Mazursky, Tonio Selwart, Oja Kodar and Robert Random.      

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