The ongoing attempt to fund the editing of Orson Welles‘ The Other Side of the Wind is well short of an initially stated goal of $2 million. An Indiegogo campaign has raised $406,405, which came from 2,858 donors. I was told this morning by a source close to the fundraising that $406K is “just a fraction” of what will be needed. I don’t have all the information and I certainly don’t know how it’ll play out, but it sure seems as if the project needs a Daddy Warbucks.
A day or two ago I was speaking about the OSOTW situation with a journalist friend, and he mentioned that “everyone’s saying that Frank Marshall [one of the producers of the OSOTW project] should just pony up the money and get Steven Spielberg to pitch in as well, but it’s the same old story — only use other people’s money, never your own.” He suggested that a good portion of the cost could be raised “if Spielberg would sell the Rosebud sled, but that’ll be the day.”
Spielberg bought one of the three Rosebud sleds (the other two were burned during filming of Citizen Kane‘s final scene) for $60,500 at an auction at Sotheby Park Bernet on 6.10.82, or the day before E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial opened nationwide and six days after the opening of Poltergeist on 6.4.82. Today it would be worth…what? At least $250K or $300K, possibly a half million.
Can anyone imagine a more perfect and symmetrical and poetically appropriate gesture than the Citizen Kane sled being used to help pay for the completion of Orson Welles‘ final film? I have the chills just thinking about it. It would be like something out of Frank Capra‘s Pocketful of Miracles (’62). Spielberg could waltz into the OSOTW situation and be Glenn Ford in a vicuna overcoat.
Since the Spielberg purchase the Rosebud sled has probably been hanging on a wall in the living room of one of his many homes. He probably points it out to friends when they stop by for dinner. But he should let it go. He’s owned it for 33 years — let somebody else take care of it. Nobody “owns” anything of great or lasting historical value anyway. Nobody “owns” a Van Gogh painting. They just put money down so they can temporarily enjoy a sense of ownership or kinship until they die, and then somebody else comes along and “owns” it.
If Spielberg wants a Rosebud sled on his wall he could hire a craftsman to make a copy with aged wood and faded painting, and nobody would know the difference.
Will be do it? Spielberg has been quite the philanthropist since he became a flush bigshot, and helping to complete a significant film by one of the four or five greatest filmmakers in Hollywood history would certainly be smiled upon by the Movie Godz.
Spielberg is worth over $3 billion but let’s round it off. Even without the sale of the sled $500K is a drop in the bucket. You’d have to multiply $500K by 6000 to get $3 billion. Proportionally that would be like a person with $100K in the bank giving $16.66 to a bum.