Q4 2018

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76 CINEMONTAGE / Q4 2018 by Peter Tonguette portraits by Martin Cohen F ew directors were more familiar with the pleasures and perils of film editing than Orson Welles. On the one hand, his best films owe much of their power and potency to the innovative, imaginative work of such editors as Robert Wise, ACE (Citizen Kane, 1941), and Fritz Muller (Chimes at Midnight, 1965). But on the other, Welles considered such otherwise stellar films as The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) and Touch of Evil (1958) to have been spoiled by re-cutting ordered by studio executives. So, in his 1978 documentary Filming Othello, Welles spoke with unique authority and bluntness about the power contained in the cutting room. "When we say that we're 'editing' or 'cutting' a film, we aren't really saying enough," Welles explained, posing behind a Moviola. "Movies aren't just made on the set. A lot of the actual making happens right here... Here, films are salvaged — saved, sometimes, from disaster — or savaged out of existence. This is the last stop on the long road between the dream in a filmmaker's head and the public to whom that dream is addressed." In the case of The Other Side of the Wind, which was filmed in the early-to- mid-1970s, Welles attempted to "save" that (until now) unfinished film many times over. A succession of editors joined him in his efforts to shape, refine and make sense of the film, which revolves around the close yet fraught relationship between two directors — one on his way out the door, Jake Hannaford (John Huston), and the other on his way up the ladder, Brooks Otterlake (Peter Bogdanovich). After decades of delays, Netflix released Wind earlier this fall (see related article, Page 68). Yet, according to the editor hired to finish the film, Bob Murawski, ACE, the legacy of its original editors remains; Murawski estimates that nearly a third of the film features material fine-cut by the director and his colleagues. During the past year, CineMontage spoke with several of the editors who helped Welles achieve the dream that for so long existed only in his head. THE FRENCH CONNECTION In the early 1970s, editor Roberto Silvi — later renowned for cutting several of the final films of Wind co-star Huston, including Under the Volcano (1984) and The Dead (1987) — was among the first to reckon with material from the Wind footage. At the time, he had just a single film to his credit as editor, but the opportunity to collaborate with Welles — then living in Strasbourg, France while he appeared as an actor in Claude Chabrol's Ten Days Wonder (1971) — was too good to pass up. "He wanted to do editing of some Wild Was 'The Wind' Orson's Original Editors Revisit Their Work on the Film Decades Ago A scene from The Other Side of the Wind. Netflix/José María Castellví Opposite: The original picture editors of The Other Side of the Wind: Steve Ecclesine, left, Jonathon Braun and Roberto Silvi in the backyard of the Stanley Avenue residence in LA, where Orson Welles lived and worked on the film in the early 1980s.

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