Netflix to restore and release unfinished Orson Welles film

The company will finance the restoration of The Other Side of the Wind, the director’s 1970 film starring John Huston and Dennis Hopper

Netflix has announced a plan to restore and release Orson Welles’ film The Other Side of the Wind, unfinished since the early 1970s.

The project will be overseen by Frank Marshall, who also worked on the original film. “I can’t quite believe it, but after 40 years of trying, I am so very grateful for the passion and perseverance from Netflix that has enabled us to, at long last, finally get into the cutting room to finish Orson’s last picture,” he said.

Production on the self-aware industry drama began in 1970 but was left unfinished after work ended in 1976. It starred John Huston as a veteran film-maker struggling to complete his final film while trying to compete with a new raft of younger directors. It also starred Dennis Hopper and Peter Bogdanovich, who will also consult on the restoration.

Bogdanovich had been working on a previous attempt to get the film released as part of a crowdfunding campaign backed by Clint Eastwood and JJ Abrams, but it failed to come together. More than $400,000 was raised, but there were rumors circulating around a dispute over ownership of the negatives.

The production of the film was rife with difficulty, including financial problems and an ambitious editing process by Welles that saw him working on five different versions of the film simultaneously.

“Like so many others who grew up worshipping the craft and vision of Orson Welles, this is a dream come true,” said Ted Sarandos, the chief content officer at Netflix. “The promise of being able to bring to the world this unfinished work of Welles with his true artistic intention intact, is a point of pride for me and for Netflix. Cinephiles and film enthusiasts around the world will experience the magic of Orson Welles once again or for the very first time.”

Welles, whose masterpiece Citizen Kane has been described as the greatest film of all time, died in 1985.

Guardian staff

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