We’re on the eve of Netflix’s worldwide debut of The Other Side of the Wind, Orson Welles’s legendary unreleased film. After four decades in limbo, the picture was finally completed earlier this year. A new documentary on Orson Welles and Wind, entitled They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead, will be available via Netflix on the same day as Wind, November 2nd. Though now obscure, there’s another documentary—directed by Welles’s friend and right-hand man—that largely focuses on The Other Side of the Wind.
Gary Graver was Orson Welles’s cinematographer from 1970 until Welles’s death in 1985. Graver was hired by Welles after cold-calling the maverick director, and the first picture he shot for him was The Other Side of the Wind. In 1993, the documentary he directed, Working with Orson Welles, was released. The doc zeros in on The Other Side of the Wind, which might seem odd, as only Orson’s most faithful would’ve known about the picture, but it speaks to Graver’s belief in the project. Working features interviews with some of the cast and crew (which often overlapped on Wind), including Peter Bogdanovich, Curtis Harrington, Peter Jason, Cameron Mitchell, Susan Strasberg, and Frank Marshall, who wore many hats during the original production, and as producer played a major role in the completion of Wind. Graver also talks at length about the movie, and some of his test footage for it is seen in the documentary. Everyone expresses their fondness for the enigmatic Welles, and while they acknowledge that he was often difficult and unpredictable, one gets the sense they wouldn’t trade the experience of working with Orson Welles for anything. There’s a lot of love here.
A candid shot of Gary Graver, Oja Kodar (actress and Orson Welles’s longtime companion), and Orson Welles on the set of ‘The Other Side of the Wind’ (photo by Frank Marshall).
Graver’s documentary was a straight-to-video release, and is now out of print. The doc is low budget, tends to jump from topic to topic, and is short on clips from Welles’s films (due to licensing issues, no doubt), but I think most Orson fans will look past its shortcomings and dig it. With anticipation high for the pending release of The Other Side of the Wind, the time for Graver’s documentary is now. It’s made all the more important as Mitchell, Strasberg, and Graver are now deceased.
L-R: Orson Welles, Peter Bogdanovich, Oja Kodar, Gary Graver, and others on the set of ‘The Other Side of the Wind.’
Working with Orson Welles has recently been uploaded to YouTube. Enjoy:
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘New’ Orson Welles film announced: His final feature comes to Netflix in November