The late Orson Welles was truly ahead of his time. He was a perfectionist who loved the arts, but never wanted to make a movie. At least, until the studio heads kept bugging him to make one. That is where ‘Citizen Kane’ came in. It was so known for being “the greatest film of all time” that even with each feature made, Welles could not escape the praise surrounding it. Years later, he set out to make a film that would satirize the culture surrounding not only cinema, but the pressures of making a movie. That film would be known as ‘The Other Side of the Wind’; a film faced with many troubles that Welles never got to finish it. However, it finally did reach completion in recent years, leading to its Netflix release.
‘They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead’ is more than a claim Welles seemingly made, it is a damn good documentary that not only showcases the behind-the-scenes turmoil that ‘The Other Side of the Wind’ faced, but a personal look at the man behind the film. While Welles was known for being brash, and at times, a difficult person to work with, inside the hard shell was a man who wanted to be appreciated for his work. He could even prove himself to be likable with guest appearances on talk shows (going so far as to make a talk-show of his own, which unfortunately never saw the light of day). Those who even saw his films even claim that he was one of the greatest filmmakers of his (and all) time.
What is even puzzling is how Welles had some movies he did not finish (one of them being ‘The Other Side of the Wind). Those who knew him had said he went through legal and financial troubles trying to get his film finished. One such person was fellow director and actor Peter Bogdanovich, who revealed that he once roomed with Welles, who seemed to have a hard time with his living situation, basically being penniless and depressed.
Being that it has been weeks since I first watched ‘They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead’, my memory might be fuzzy, but after watching this amazing documentary, I now know more about Orson Welles and what he was like in his living years. I even suggest that those who need a better understanding of Welles need to watch this movie.