9 user 14 critic

Too Much Johnson (1938)

A woman has two lovers. When one man finds out about the other, he acts as a villain and chases after the protagonist.



1 win. See more awards »


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Mr. Arkadin (1955)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An American adventurer investigates the past of mysterious tycoon Arkadin...placing himself in grave danger.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Peter van Eyck, Michael Redgrave
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An American ballistics expert in Turkey finds himself targeted by Nazi agents. Safe passage home by ship is arranged for him, but he soon discovers that his pursuers are also on board.

Directors: Norman Foster, Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dolores del Rio
Macbeth (1948)
Certificate: Passed Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In 11th century Scotland, nobleman Macbeth and his wife plot to murder the king and usurp the throne in order to fulfill an evil prophecy made by three witches.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Jeanette Nolan, Dan O'Herlihy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A colonial scene in the U.S. An old lady sits astride a bell while a man in blackface, wig, and livery pulls the bell rope. From an upper door emerges an old man, dressed as a dandy, who ... See full summary »

Directors: William Vance, Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Virginia Nicolson, William Vance
Black Magic (1949)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Hypnotist uses his powers for revenge against King Louis XV's court.

Directors: Gregory Ratoff, Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Nancy Guild, Akim Tamiroff
The Deep (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A couple's honeymoon trip aboard a yacht leads to a claustrophobic drama when another vessel runs into their voyage, apparently drifting.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Michael Bryant, Oja Kodar, Laurence Harvey
Othello (1951)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The Moorish general Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his lieutenant Michael Cassio when in reality it is all part of the scheme of a bitter ensign named Iago.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Micheál MacLiammóir, Robert Coote
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The spoiled young heir to the decaying Amberson fortune comes between his widowed mother and the man she has always loved.

Directors: Orson Welles, Fred Fleck, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Tim Holt, Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello
The Stranger (1946)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An investigator from the War Crimes Commission travels to Connecticut to find an infamous Nazi.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young
Comedy | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The career of Shakespeare's Sir John Falstaff as roistering companion to young Prince Hal, circa 1400-1413.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Jeanne Moreau, Margaret Rutherford
Crime | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Three stories of murder and the supernatural. In the first, a museum worker is introduced to a world behind the pictures he sees every day. Second, when two lifelong friends fall in love ... See full summary »

Directors: David Eady, George More O'Ferrall, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Orson Welles, John Gregson, Elizabeth Sellars
Don Quixote (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The story of a Spanish gentlemen gone mad and his dim-witted squire sancho panza, who set forth on a journey to right wrongs and accomplish good deeds in the name of chivalry.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Francisco Reiguera, Akim Tamiroff, Pepe Mediavilla


Credited cast:
Virginia Nicolson ...
Lenore Faddish (as Anna Stafford)
Ruth Ford ...
Eustace Wyatt ...
Guy Kingsley Poynter ...
Henry MacIntosh (as Guy Kingsley)
George Duthie ...
Keystone Kop
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
John Berry
Marc Blitzstein ...
Herbert Drake ...
Keystone Kop
Duelist / Keystone Kop

What You Missed at San Diego Comic-Con 2017

From the madness of the convention floor to the emotional panel reveals and star-studded interviews, catch up on all the unforgettable sights from Comic-Con.

Browse Our Guide to Comic-Con



Posing as wealthy Cuban plantation owner Joseph Johnson, Augustus Billings is having an affair with married Clairette Dathis. Augustus is able to get away just before Clairette's husband, Leon Dathis, comes home. But Leon finds out about the affair. With Augustus' photograph in hand, Leon goes on a search for his wife's lover. The ensuing chase leads to one sight gag close call after another. Eventually, the real Joseph Johnson in Cuba gets unwittingly into the act. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis







Release Date:

30 August 2014 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Previše Džonsona  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film consists of three parts, all introductions to acts of Orson Welles' play. A total of 66 minutes of footage were found in Italy (including some "dailies"-style multiple takes) but were never finished being edited down to the workprint length of 40 minutes. It is not known for sure why the film was never released, possibly because Welles was too busy working on other projects. See more »


References Safety Last! (1923) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

a brief history of Johnson, and an overview of the TCM airing
2 May 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's always a miracle when a lost film is discovered, or an unreleased one or whichever, and for those looking for the scraps of what Orson Welles left behind and have never been able to see, the most prized missing stuff is... The Magnificent Ambersons, of course! But among the films thought lost to the ashes of time, one of them was Too Much Johnson, an experimental work that Welles made in conjunction with a play by William Gillette. I haven't read the play, but I've read about it, and it basically concerns a man who goes to Cuba, but also has a dalliance of some kind with a woman. And then there's a chase, and wackiness ensues about infidelities and husbands and wives and so on.

Actually, I may be confusing the play with what Welles filmed, which were, according to history, supposed to be bridging-segments during scene changes on stage. Also, Welles wanted to possibly try to convince Hollywood he could direct film - prior to this he'd done one really amateur short, The Hearts of Age, and this was either before or around the time that War of the Worlds happened, which got him his carte-blanch deal anyway - and what better way than to go another step further past his theatrical experiments (Macbeth with voodoo, Julius Caesar in modern dress) and make a true-blue independent film?

The problem in seeing Too Much Johnson today are two-fold at least: 1) Welles never left behind a fully finished cut, even in the form of what the segments would've really looked like edited together for the stage hybrid, and 2) what the Turner Classic Movie channel decided to do (in conjunction I suppose with an Italian restoration from the discovered footage from 2013) is just throw on TV at the end of a Welles 100th birthday celebration... everything. One might get the wrong idea tuning in in the middle of the night (which is when it officially aired) trying to get a potential glimpse at the Boy Wonder a few years before Kane to see what kind of work he was capable of - AND think, without the proper research, that it's a completed feature. It isn't.

What was shown on TCM is a work-print, basically anything that Welles and company shot; multiple takes included, many moments of Joseph Cotten just looking around or something taken a second time like characters on a horse carriage, and the coverage of angles. And, on top of this, the footage is scored with new music by some dude that is rather inappropriate, even for an unfinished product. If one is trying to watch it outside of the confines of stuffy film history, as, you know, an entertainment experience, it's all music that should be meant for some modern thriller (at best), NOT a Keystone Kops style comedy featuring the kind of set pieces that would later be emulated by Scooby Doo and Benny Hill.

Now, this isn't to say it isn't without some interest to watch this or seek it out if you may have also DVR'd it or, by chance, it finds its way online or whatever: Welles clearly shows, years before he met Greg Toland and the legend of the "You can learn everything about filmmaking in a few hours", that he already knew where to put the camera and direct actors. This isn't to say it all works; even the segments where things do cut together cohesively, it all moves super fast and oddly, and most of what's shown is just an extended chase (again, bridging the gaps of the play and experimenting).

But if you are looking at this and want to see some fun material, certainly Cotten in the lead, and women players Arlene Francis, Mary Wickes and Edgar Barrier (complete with giant mustache), plus Welles' wife at the time Virginia Nicholson, deliver on physical comedy, BIG expressions and gestures, and Welles accomplishes a lot of very daring physical feats and action. That he got away with so much - I don't know if they had those things called 'film permits' back in 1938 - is nothing short of remarkable. And considering how jumbled things are put together like this, I was surprised how much I COULD tell was going on.

But, again, all of the context about what this was counts. Watching this is for historical, cinephile-like, Welles-junkie reasons most of all. Compared to what's presented here, It's All True is a whole product. You're basically getting a series of glimpses into what was already apparent about this filmmaker, of his sense of play and imagination and just trying things out (a sequence involving knocking off hats, and how each man comes together to form a gang, is hilarious even in this rough form). If you go into it thinking it's a full feature you'll not merely be mistaken, you'll probably want to turn it off before it ends out of the monotony of multiple shots and jarring takes (plus raw footage that wasn't quite cleaned up).

So, needless to say, at 66 minutes long (!) this may be, ahem, too much Johnson, and whoever chose the music should be ashamed of themselves. But in this world where his unfinished works have attained a legend of their own, it's another piece of the puzzle. Last thing, though you may see a '7 out of 10', I really give no rating to this, as it wouldn't be fair - akin to grading a student film.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: