When’s the last time a new movie was released that featured a lead actor and director who died more than 31 years ago? The Other Side of the Wind—which will be shown for the first time in select theaters and on Netflix on November 2—is Orson Welles’ manifesto avant-garde commentary on the state of Hollywood in the transitional 1970s. And it features motorcycles in numerous surreal motorcycle scenes.

Other Side of the Wind
Shot over many years in many locations, The Other Side of the Wind had many crew members, some of whom may be difficult to ascertain.Netflix
The Other Side of the Wind poster
Director Orson Welles died in 1985, two years before John Huston.Netflix

Shot between 1970–1976, Welles dug into his magic bag of classic Hollywood filmmaking, mixing the style of New Hollywood and lampooning the Italian film director Michelangelo Antonioni (1912–2007), who produced enigmatic and intricate mood pieces, and rejected action in favor of contemplation, focusing on image and design over character and story. Fans of Antonioni believe he “redefined the concept of narrative cinema” and challenged traditional approaches to storytelling, realism, drama, and the world at large. And it’s for this reason an amazingly complex and gifted Welles (Citizen Kane) felt compelled to make The Other Side of the Wind, which struggled on its way to the silver screen for more than 40 years.

Other side of the wind screenshot
The plot of the movie focuses on Jake Hannaford, an aging Hollywood director who was killed in a car crash on his 70th birthday. Just before his death, Hannaford was trying to revive his flagging career by making a flashy film, laden with gratuitous sex scenes and violence, with mixed results.Netflix

Starring larger-than-life Oscar-winning director John Huston as the Ernest Hemingway figure named Jake Hannaford in the center of the film, Welles’ mockumentary also featured director, actor, writer, and producer Peter Bogdanovich, best known for his 1971 film The Last Picture Show. Bogdanovich’s New Hollywood peers included Brian De Palma, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, and Francis Ford Coppola, who were changing the way Hollywood pictures were produced, directed, and distributed.

“Our story is about a pseudo-Hemingway, a movie director,” Welles told a group of prospective financiers at a 1966 banquet to raise funds for the project. “So the central figure... You can barely see through the hair on his chest; who was frightened by Hemingway at birth. He’s a tough movie director who has killed three or four extras on every picture…[but is] full of charm. Everybody thinks he's great. In our story he’s riding around following a bullfighter, and living through him…but he’s become obsessed by this young man who has become…his own dream of himself. He's been rejected by all his old friends. He’s finally been shown up to be a kind of voyeur…a fellow who lives off other people’s danger and death.”

Screen grab
Huston, a close friend of Welles, worked for the nominal fee of $75,000—some of which is still owed to his estate, after one of the film’s producers embezzled part of the budget.Netflix

The film features several film directors in acting roles, including Claude Chabrol, Norman Foster, Gary Graver, Curtis Harrington, Dennis Hopper, Henry Jaglom, and Paul Mazursky, mostly playing Hannaford's entourage of journalists and young filmmakers. Hopper is best known as the director, co-star and co-writer of Easy Rider (1969) with Peter Fonda.

The film features several film directors in acting roles, including Claude Chabrol, Norman Foster, Gary Graver, Curtis Harrington, Dennis Hopper, Henry Jaglom, and Paul Mazursky, mostly playing Hannaford's entourage of journalists and young filmmakers. Hopper is best known as the director, co-star and co-writer of Easy Rider (1969) with Peter Fonda.

Part of the film was shot in Bogdanovich’s own Beverly Hills house, which Welles stayed in for nearly two years, and which doubles for other parts of Hannaford’s house. Other scenes were shot in Culver City and Reseda, California (where the drive-in cinema scenes were filmed in the same location as the climax of Bogdanovich’s Targets), the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer back lot, Connecticut, France, the Netherlands, England, Spain, and Belgium.

Welles inspired by Hemingway
The project evolved from an idea Welles had in 1961 after the suicide of Ernest Hemingway. Welles had known Hemingway since 1937, and was inspired to write a screenplay about an aging macho bullfight enthusiast who is fond of a young bullfighter. Nothing came of the project for a while, but work on the script resumed in Spain in 1966, just after Welles had completed Chimes at Midnight.Netflix

Post-Production Supervisor Ruth Hasty joined the production in 2014. Her other credits include Mission Impossible, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, and Jurassic Park among others. Editor Bob Murawski joined the production in 2017, with editor credits on The Hurt Locker and three Spider-Man movies.