As part of Miami Film Society’s monthly screening series, next week’s special event features an advance screening of Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles, where documentarian Chuck Workman takes us through the life of the legendarily uncompromising actor and director behind such classics as Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons andTouch of Evil. Beginning with Orson Welles’ early career as a dazzling yet hard-nosed young genius, the film charts his rise and tumultuous collision with the Hollywood studio system, and the toll it would eventually take, leaving him forced to do television commercials in his final years. Welles’ infamous struggles with money, women, and authority are all part of his story, as are his charm, immense talent, and astonishing work. Magician, not due out in South Florida theaters until next spring, features interviews with Steven Spielberg, Richard Linklater, Martin Scorsese and Welles’ close friends and family, and provides a strong visual sense of the world in which the enormously complex figure lived and worked.
After more than four decades, more material regarding Welles is coming to light. The New York Times recently reported that Hollywood insiders, financiers and dreamers have been obsessed by the quest to recover The Other Side of the Wind, the unfinished last film of Orson Welles—a movie within a movie about the comeback attempt of an aging, maverick director played by John Huston. Endless legal battles among the rights holders, including Welles’ daughter, kept the 1,083 reels of negatives inside a warehouse in a gritty suburb of Paris despite numerous efforts to complete the film.
The quest may be over. A Los Angeles production company, Royal Road Entertainment, said last month it had reached an agreement with the sometimes-warring parties to buy the rights. The producers say they aim to have it ready for a screening in time for May 6, 2015, the 100th anniversary of Welles’ birth, recently promoting its distribution at the American Film Market in Santa Monica, Calif., last week. Cinema buffs consider it the most famous movie never released, an epic work by one of the great filmmakers. —Tatyana Chiocchetti