From Joseph McBride‘s 9.21.20 review of Hopper/Welles:
“The aspect of Hopper/Welles that is bound to cause confusion among some reviewers and ordinary viewers who don’t know Welles’s work well or aren’t familiar with the shooting of The Other Side of the Wind is that most of the time in the documentary, Welles is sitting in for Hannaford. He told me that August that he hadn’t decided whom he would cast in the role of the aging macho director trying to make a comeback in the New Hollywood, but that it would be ‘either John Huston or Peter O’Toole doing his imitation of John Huston.’
“Since he didn’t settle on Huston (the perfect casting for the legendary, gruff old cynic) until early 1974, we had to play scenes to Welles off-camera as Jake, as Hopper does here (you can tell at one point that Welles is thinking about Huston, because he addresses Hopper as ‘Kid,’ Huston’s favorite all-purpose greeting). Sometimes Hopper addresses him as Jake and makes teasing comments about him, but sometimes he seems baffled whether he is speaking to Jake or Orson, as some viewers will be too. The danger in this approach is confusing Hannaford’s often reactionary, fascist, and racist views with Welles’s own. If you think viewers can sort out this complexity on their own, you’re mostly mistaken, since numerous reviewers of Other/Wind were confused by Hannaford’s blatant sexism, assuming Welles shares his views, even though the film is, as Welles told his longtime associate Richard Wilson on the set, ‘an attack on machoism.’
“The visual focus is resolutely on Dennis Hopper, with the camera often probing his handsome, bearded face as he scratches it compulsively in extreme closeups. Wearing his trademark black cowboy hat with a blue-jean jacket, Hopper, visiting from his Taos hideaway, is drinking gin and tonic (we hear Welles reminding one of his crew, ‘You’re supposed to ply him with liquor’) and scarfing a pasta dinner while Welles, on a diet and off the sauce, sips Fresca off-camera.
“Since the setting is the birthday party at the ranch home of Jake Hannaford (John Huston, who in 1970 had not yet been cast), these two other characters are mostly scenery, which is a missed opportunity. We also catch fleeting glimpses of Schneider, who suggested to Welles that he ask Hopper why he and the Fonda clan evidently hated each other. Hopper’s antipathy to them is intense, but students of Hopper’s checkered career can better chart the feuding that caused those internecine rivalries and made him put down Jane Fonda’s claim to be a genuine revolutionary