Monday Movie: The Other Side of the Wind, by Alexander Miller
Every Monday, we’ll highlight a piece of writing from our vaults. This review of The Other Side of the Wind originally ran as a Criterion Prediction.
It all seemed so strange; the long, sought after, thought-to-be-lost Orson Welles film The Other Side of the Wind is coming to life, thanks to Netflix? Naturally, I was delighted, relieved, and fluttering with that skittering level of excited confusion after the first viewing; it’s a fairly regular feeling that Orson Welles can stir up. At first I thought how amazing it was that, after so many years after his death, Welles’ movie is just as current, fresh, and exciting. The Other Side of the Wind feels just at home when the cigar smoke of old Hollywood moguls was drowned out with the cloud of pot that precipitated the changing times with an eye toward themes of the male gaze. While I was initially aghast with Welles’ contextual time traveling, but, with some time after my initial response of The Other Side of the Wind I realized, that this was the most Wellesian move in the wily bastards deck of cards. He’s been shuffling through movies, appearing in other pictures to bankroll his own, hustling his way through Othello, bouncing around sets and studios during The Third Man, between seemingly innocuous cuts of his film is two years and who knows how much money. So the magic trick that is The Other Side of the Wind, its nearly fifty-year production and its alarmingly relatable contextual groundwork, is both brazenly fresh. Still, it’s another one of Welles’ grand illusions.