Last fall, Francis Ford Coppola went to the Toronto International Film Festival to unveil Twixt, his latest feature film. It didn’t go well — in fact, it went so poorly that there was some question as to whether the picture (unattached to a distributor) would see a release at all. It finally will, this weekend, with a single-theater engagement in San Francisco, but that seems like quite a fall for the director of The Godfather (even if his more recent work hasn’t exactly wowed us).
Meanwhile, a film that’s been in limbo for far longer than Coppola’s is inching towards a release: Dark Blood, the contemporary Western thriller from director George Sluzier (The Vanishing) that River Phoenix was working on when he died clear back in 1993. Sluzier put out a trailer back in May; last week, the film’s long-awaited premiere was announced for September’s Netherlands Film Festival. Those two resurrections got us thinking about other unreleased movies that we’re still itching to see; they’re collected for your reading (and partial viewing) pleasure after the jump.
The Other Side of the Wind
No acclaimed filmmaker left more unfinished and unreleased projects than the great Orson Welles, whose long history of disappearing funding and wandering focus left several incomplete pictures in the vaults when he died in 1985. The most tantalizing of them is The Other Side of the Wind, a semi-autobiographical film he shot in bits and pieces between 1969 and 1976. By this time, the filmmaker had been duly lionized for his contributions to the cinema, so fellow actors and (especially) directors were eager to work with him — but studios were still uninterested, so Welles had to attain his funding via a rather shady international backers. Their funds were intermittent or non-existent, and Welles ended up financing the film mostly out-of-pocket, and editing it in his free time, between acting gigs, over the last decade of his life.
After his death, the almost-complete film (and much of his unfinished material) was caught in a drawn-out legal battle between his daughter Beatrice and his longtime companion (and Wind co-star) Oja Kodar, and though Showtime — which had aired the excellent documentary Orson Welles: The One Man Band, featuring clips from the film — pledged completion funds, those copyright and ownership woes just recently came to a conclusion. The film still awaits completion and release, and we’re losing our minds waiting for it; it is, after all, the final film of one of our greatest filmmakers, and the clips we’ve seen hint tantalizingly at a daring, experimental, multi-media approach that seems decades ahead of its time.