Too Much Johnson (1938)

 |  Comedy  |  30 August 2014 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 288 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 13 critic

A woman has two lovers. When one man finds out about the other, he acts as a villain and chases after the protagonist.



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Credited cast:
Virginia Nicolson ...
Lenore Faddish (as Anna Stafford)
Edgar Barrier ...
Ruth Ford ...
Eustace Wyatt ...
Guy Kingsley Poynter ...
Henry MacIntosh (as Guy Kingsley)
George Duthie ...
Keystone Kop
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John Berry
Marc Blitzstein ...
Herbert Drake ...
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Duelist / Keystone Kop
Erskine Sanford ...


Posing as wealthy Cuban plantation owner Joseph Johnson, Augustus Billings is having an affair with married Clairette Dathis. Augustus is able to get away just before Clairette's husband, Leon Dathis, comes home. But Leon finds out about the affair. With Augustus' photograph in hand, Leon goes on a search for his wife's lover. The ensuing chase leads to one sight gag close call after another. Eventually, the real Joseph Johnson in Cuba gets unwittingly into the act. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis







Release Date:

30 August 2014 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Previše Džonsona  »

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The only known copy of the film was said to have been destroyed in a fire at Orson Welles' villa in Madrid, Spain, in August 1970. However, as of 2013, a copy has turned up in Pordenone, Italy. The restoration's premiere: October 2013. See more »

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User Reviews

Enjoyable for non-movie scholars too
26 June 2015 | by (Portland, Oregon, United States) – See all my reviews

If you aren't a movie scholar, and don't know the full history of this long-lost Orson Welles film, and don't know the summary of the play that this film was made to support, can you still enjoy it? Yes. I watched the film without reading any reviews or much background, and not knowing the play at all. And I seem to have enjoyed it far more than other reviewers.

I found the music, and the images, hypnotic. It was like watching a French expressionist/surreal film. The imagery of the film is striking

  • Welles' uses building angles and shadows in a way I have never seen

in any silent film before. It's striking to see a tiny character walk across the vast landscape of the roof of a building, a white suit against a dark background - like a dot moving erratically across the screen.

Every take of each scene is used, so you see the same scenes, over and over, from different angles, each slightly different, or entirely different. Sometimes, you even see what were obvious outtakes, such as someone breaking character, or people screaming over and over, with the original intention being that only one of those screams would have been used - instead, we get them all. And that just makes the film all the more mesmerizing. Most reviewers seem to not like the music - I thought it was perfect, adding to the surreal, foreign feeling of the film - repetitive, like the scenes. It's by Remate, a contemporary music group out of Spain.

Joseph Cotton pulls off a wonderfully physical performance, with breath-taking stunts - if you enjoy nothing else, you will enjoy that. And the obvious fun the company had putting this together (look at the faces in the crowd scenes).

If you watch it, don't have any distractions - no laptop, no smart phone, no tablet. Just watch the film.

Too Much Johnson was originally intended to be used in conjunction with Welles's stage adaptation of play from 1894 by William Gillette. You don't need to know a thing about that play at all to understand most of the film, except for the ending and the secondary story which is barely there at all anyway. This movie is actually three short films, and Welles' Mercury Theatre planned to show each as prologues to each act of the play. It was meant to be shown not only with music but also with live sound effects.

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Question: mkluge
there IS a silent 1919 version... ksf-2
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This film is wild bobo-29
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