While some look at the sudden emergence of Netflix as the beginning of the end of movies as we know them, the streaming service has just made a huge move to honor a piece of film history. For decades there has been an effort to complete Orson Welles' final film, The Other Side of the Wind, with Indiana Jones producer Frank Marshall leading the charge. However, legal battles always got in the way, so that nothing ever came of it. Last year Marshall joined up with Netflix to negotiate a deal, and now the waiting is just about over.
Netflix will finance the completion of Welles' final movie, while also acquiring global rights to its distribution. The film is a Hollywood satire following the last days of legendary director Jake Hannaford as he struggles to forge a comeback as a major filmmaker. He's trying to complete his masterpiece, titled The Other Side of the Wind. John Huston stars as Hannaford, and he's joined by Peter Bogdanovich, Oja Kodar, Robert Random, Lilli Palmer, Edmond O’Brien, Cameron Mitchell, Mercedes McCambridge, Susan Strasberg, Norman Foster, Paul Stewart and Dennis Hopper.
Welles began filming it in 1970 and couldn't complete it over the course of five years, although he left significant notes on how it should be finished. Marshall, Bogdanovich, and producer Filip Jan Rymsza will be part of overseeing the film's restoration and completion.
This is huge, and cinephiles are sure to pack theater houses to see it, assuming Netflix wants to give it a theatrical run. Let's hope they do. Now if only someone can find that original cut of The Magnificent Ambersons everything will be as it should be.