“Forgotten Hollywood”- Too Much Orson…

Posted on December 1, 2013 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

   Based on the overwhelming response to the sold-out World and American premieres of Too Much Johnson, the George Eastman House hosted a one-night-only screening of the movie in New York City. It was shown last Monday at the Directors Guild of America Theater.


   Thought to be destroyed in a fire, the George Eastman House, along with the National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF), Cineteca del Friuli, and Cinemazero, announced in August the recovery of Mercury Theatre’s long-lost Too Much Johnson, directed by Orson Welles in 1938. The piece was produced the same year Welles directed The War of the Worlds radio broadcast. The nitrate work print of the film – left unfinished by the Mercury Theatre and never shown in public – was found in a warehouse by a staff member of Cinemazero, an art house in Pordenone, Italy. It was transferred to the George Eastman House in order to be preserved with a grant from NFPF.

   Too Much Johnson was originally intended to be used in conjunction with a stage adaptation of an 1894 play by William Gillette. The Mercury Theatre planned to show the three short films as prologues to each act of the play. The three-part comedy was meant to be presented with the accompaniment of music and live sound effects, but was never finished. Joseph Cotten was cast in the lead role, with supporting roles going to other  Mercury Theatre actors, including Arlene Francis, Mary Wickes, Orson Welles, and his wife Virginia Nicholson. The play ultimately opened without the visual aid on August 16th, 1938. The cinematic work provides a unique insight to the immense talent Welles had as a filmmaker.

   Too Much Johnson had a world premiere on October 9th, at Le Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone, Italy; and its North American premiere on October 16th at the Dryden Theatre in the George Eastman House.

   We, in Hollywood, are looking forward to a West Coast premiere…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Sunday, December 1st, 2013 at 2:40 am and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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