I reported on 4.5.16 that Netflix had been negotiating “for months” to acquire distribution rights to Orson Welles‘ The Other Side of the Wind, and that the approval of Oja Kodar, Welles’ longtime partner and a key rights holder, was necessary to finalize things. I was told nonetheless that Kodar had “continued to block progress in her usual grasping way.”
But now this odious and grotesque situation has finally come to an end. It was announced today that Netflix has sealed the deal, which can only mean they coughed a lot more dough for Kodar than she was getting before.
I wrote last April that “Oja the Terrible is reportedly still refusing to allow the film elements (which are apparently still stored somewhere in the outskirts of Paris) to be inspected and is demanding even greater financial renumeration now that Netflix is involved.”
This pathetic psychodrama and restoration saga has been going on for a long time, but the first indication that Kodar might be willing to show at least a little consideration for her ex-boyfriend’s legacy came when Doreen Carvajal‘s N.Y. Times story, titled “Orson Welles’s Last Film May Finally Be Released,” popped on 10.28.14.
The piece reported that Kodar, the chief stopper in this situation along with Welles’ daughter Beatrice, had agreed to embrace a certain amount of trust and allow the film to be assembled and restored in good faith. Not really. Oja’s behavior for the last two and half years reportedly veered between the realm of unreasonableness and that of possible psychosis.
Press release: “Producer Frank Marshall, who served as a Production Manager on the original 1970 film, will oversee the completion of the film, working closely with fellow producer Filip Jan Rymsza, whose involvement was instrumental in pursuing the film’s completion.
“Working with Netflix, Marshall will oversee the restoration and completion of the film with consultation from Peter Bogdanovich.
“A satire of Hollywood, The Other Side of the Wind focuses on the last days of a legendary film director named Jake Hannaford (John Huston), who is struggling to forge his last great comeback as a major filmmaker.
“The film, which has remained unfinished for decades, was shot by Welles beginning in 1970, features a screenplay by Welles and Oja Kodar, and stars Huston, Peter Bogdanovich, Oja Kodar, Robert Random, Lilli Palmer, Edmond O’Brien, Cameron Mitchell, Mercedes McCambridge, Susan Strasberg, Norman Foster, Paul Stewart and Dennis Hopper. The film is a Royal Road Entertainment production and was originally produced by Welles and Les Films de L’Astrophore.”