Orson Welles & “Too Much Johnson”

orson welles stony creek august 11 1938-4

I recently received a call from a neighboring library asking for some research help. An author was looking for reviews of Orson Welles’ “Too Much Johnson” which was staged in Stony Creek in 1938. I checked our microfilm records from the Branford Review and found a little information – a couple of ads for the play, and not-too-in-depth reviews. I sent PDFs of what I found back to the library and was happy imagining that I was maybe contributing to a future book.

A few days later, news broke that film from “Too Much Johnson” had been discovered in Italy. This film was intended to be shown in conjunction with the play. The play itself is a revival of a three-act comedy originally written in 1893.

It’s a farce about a married womanizer who pretends to be a Cuban plantation owner named Johnson to carry out an affair – only to find out there actually is a Cuban plantation owner named Johnson.

Welles directed about 40 minutes of film, in three sections. The film shorts were to be shown before each act. For a deeper analysis of the film, check out this site. There is a preview of the film on youtube, you can see what Welles hath wrought.

What I don’t completely understand is that in the analysis, it says the previews were suspended after a week. However, the records from the Branford Review seem to indicate a second week of the show. Who knows what really went down? But it sure is fun to see these old articles. Click on an image to see it larger.

Branford Review, Aug 1938

Branford Review, Aug 1938

 

Branford Review, Aug 1938

 

 

 

Branford Review, Aug 1938

Branford Review, Aug 1938

Branford Review, Aug 1938

Branford Review, Aug 1938

 

 

 

 

 

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