Too Much Johnson. 1938. USA. Directed by Orson Welles. With Joseph Cotten, Ruth Ford, George Duthie, Edgar Barrier. 35mm. Silent. 66 min.
Welles’s first professional undertaking as a filmmaker was this unfinished project, a silent film in three parts meant to be shown with the Mercury Theatre’s 1938 production of William Gillette’s 1894 stage farce. Though Welles seems to have completed the editing of only the first seven minutes before the film component of the production was abandoned, the surviving 66-minute work print—discovered in a warehouse in Pordenone, Italy—offers a world of wonderment to Welles, revealing its director to be well on the way to the stylistic advances that would startle the world in Citizen Kane three years later.