The descriptions of Too Much Johnson (1938), that long-lost Orson Welles “film” that’s now being restored for a 10.9 premiere in Italy and a 10.16 screening at the George Eastman House, suggest that it’s no big deal. For one thing it’s not a “film” but three shorts that Welles shot as prologues for the three acts of his adaptation of William Gillette‘s 1894 comedy. And for another the play died out of town. So we’re basically talking about an old cinematic sideshow, a diversion, a bauble.
“This is by far the most important film restoration by George Eastman House in a very long time,” said Paolo Cherchi Usai, the curator who supervised the project for George Eastman House…oh, blow it out! “Holding in one’s hands the very same print that had been personally edited by Orson Welles 75 years ago provokes an emotion that’s just impossible to describe”…oh, take it easy!