Orson Welles' legendary last film: Will it finally come to the screen?

Welles' movie 'The Other Side of the Wind' was never finished and has been difficult to obtain because of the rights involved. Now it may finally be completed.

Jacques Langevin/AP
Actor and movie director Orson Welles appears during a press conference in Paris in 1982.

Legendary director Orson Welles’ final film may finally be screened. 

Welles, who directed the film “Citizen Kane,” frequently called the greatest movie of all time, worked on the movie “The Other Side of the Wind” as his last project. New York Times writer Doreen Carvajal noted that “cinema buffs consider it the most famous movie never released.” 

Now the production company Royal Road Entertainment said it will be obtaining the rights to the film and plans to have it ready to screen by May 6, which would be Welles’ hundredth birthday. Royal Road Entertainment also wants to try to figure out distribution next month at California’s American Film Market.

“Wind” stars John Huston (who starred in the film “Chinatown,” among others, and helmed many classic films himself, including the 1948 movie “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” and the 1951 film “The African Queen”) as a movie director who is trying to finish a movie despite opposition from people in Hollywood. Actors Dennis Hopper, Susan Strasberg, Peter Bogdanovich, and Lilli Palmer co-starred, among others. According to Variety, Welles based the director character on writer Ernest Hemingway.

“Wind” line producer Frank Marshall told the NYT that he and Bogdanovich will work on the movie.

“We will set up a cutting room and Peter Bogdanovich and I will assemble the film,” he said. “We have notes from Orson Welles. We have scenes that weren’t quite finished, and we need to add music. We will get it done. The good news is that it won’t take so long because of all of the technology today.” 

Writer Josh Karp, author of the forthcoming book “Orson Welles’ Last Movie,” told the NYT that the movie being finished and becoming available is “like finding the Land of Oz or some lost tomb.”

 “This film is art imitating life and life imitating art,” Karp said. “It’s become so mythical because of what happened with all the failures to finish it and the players involved.”

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