Orson Welles' Too Much Johnson, screened for the first time to a full house at Pordenone Festival of Silent Cinema, comes trailing clouds of mystery like so much else in the life and work of its maker.
We know Welles shot the film in 1938 with a newsreel cameraman, intending it as a series of insert sequence within a play he was producing with the Mercury Theater. For various reasons, the three sequences, intended to carry the exposition in William Gillette's 1894 farce, were not ready or could not be projected when the play opened, and as a result the show was not a success.
Now George Eastman House has restored what it describes as Welles' cutting copy, apparently discovered in a warehouse in Pordenone itself. It consists of several reels of loosely ordered material with multiple takes, and was presented without any alteration apart from the preservation necessary to make the material projectable. »
- David Cairns
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