What Was Orson Welles’ First Movie? Well, It Wasn’t CITIZEN KANE


Citizen Kane is often cited as Orson Welles’ first film, but that’s not completely true. Back in 1938, Welles shot and edited the comedy film Too Much Johnson… though it was never completed.

The film was intended to be used as part of a theatrical production of William Gillette’s 1894 stage play of the same name. But rights issues and financial trouble doomed the film, which was never shown publicly. The only known print was believed to have burned in a fire at Welles’s Madrid home.

A print of the long-lost film, however, was recently re-discovered in an Italian warehouse, and is currently undergoing restoration at the George Eastman House. It’s scheduled to finally see the dark of the theater at Italy’s silent film fest Le Giornate del Cinema Muto on Oct. 9. The film will make it’s U.S. debut at the George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y., on Oct. 16.

If you live in or around Rochester and want to see the film, you can get information from the George Eastman House here. Save that link, too, because they’ll have additional screening information in the future. I know ever cinephile will want to be one of the first to see this movie, including myself.


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