Orson Welles’ TOO MUCH JOHNSON
Thursday, February 5
A UNIQUE FILM & LIVE THEATER EVENT!
SPECIAL ADMISSION: $25 non-members, $13 members
SOLD OUT! Some tickets may be available at the box office on the day of the performance.
A standby line will form at 7:00 pm.
(1938) Welles’ first professional film — starring Joseph Cotten in a role combining Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd — was intended to be used in conjunction with his new staging of William GIlette’s 1894 farce. But the idea was scrapped. Long thought lost, the raw footage was miraculously discovered in Italy in August 2013.
Tonight, the film — newly edited by William Hohauser from Welles’ rough cut — will be screened for the very first time— ever —as Welles originally intended: as prologues to the play’s three acts, performed in a live reading by the Film Forum Players and directed by Allen Lewis Rickman, who has also newly adapted the play from both the Welles and Gillette versions. Produced by Bruce Goldstein. Presented in association with George Eastman House. Approx. 100 min.
The Mercury Theatre Players (on film): Virginia Nicolson (Welles' then-wife), Edgar Barrier, Ruth Ford, Eustace Wyatt, Guy Kingsley, Mary Wickes, Erskine Sanford, Howard Smith, and Arlene Francis.
The Film Forum Players (live): Allen Lewis Rickman, Carl Wallnau, Yelena Shmulenson, Jacqueline Sydney, Bob Ader, Karen Sklaire, Ben Rauch, Jonathan Smith, Steve Sterner
Film preserved by George Eastman House, Cinemazero, Cineteca del Friuli, with partial funding from the National Film Preservation Foundation. Special thanks to Paolo Cherchi Usai, Caroline Yeager, Daniela Currò, and Anthony L’Abbate.
“A MAJOR REDISCOVERY, one that deeply traces the roots of Welles’s art, both stylistically and thematically. He was already, secretly, a filmmaker for the ages. The unexpected discovery was too good not to be widely known, and to enter belatedly into the history of cinema intact.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker
“Anticipates the themes and visual flair the wunderkind would soon bring to Hollywood… Filmed in and around the city, Too Much Johnson salutes the bygone silent era with an exuberant spontaneity and array of dynamic images.”
– Kristen M. Jones, Wall Street Journal