View our current Customer Support status
  View site in English, Español, or Français
The fair-trade ticketing company.
Sign Me Up!  |  Log In
Find An Event Create Your Event Help
Puget Soundtrack: William Tyler presents Too Much Johnson
Northwest Film Forum
Seattle, WA
Share this event:
Get Tickets
There are no active dates for this event.


Puget Soundtrack: William Tyler presents Too Much Johnson
Fri Oct 19: 7.00pm

Series - Puget Soundtrack
Live Music
** Live score by William Tyler (Silver Jews, Lambchop)! **

The rediscovered footage for the Mercury Theatres production of Too Much Johnson makes for fascinating but challenging viewing. Never finished and long presumed lost, the film survives as 10 reels of an abandoned, partially edited 35mm nitrate workprint created in the summer of 1938 by the 23-year-old Orson Welles. The footage was most fully edited by Welles in its opening reel, but most is a rough assemblage, and all of it lacks the intertitles he planned to write. The 66-minute print went unseen publicly until its rediscovery in a warehouse in Pordenone, Italy.

For the Mercury Theatres inventive 1938 stage production of Too Much Johnson, William Gillettes 1894 marital farce was intended to become a breakneck multimedia comedy, each of its three acts to be prefaced by a silent movie. Gillette drew closely from an 1891 French farce, La Plantation Thomassin, with perhaps an assist from a British adaptation of the same year, The Planter. (Although the origins of Johnson as phallic slang are uncertain  uses can be found as early as the 18th century  its likely that Gillettes title slyly comments on the farces sexual shenanigans.) Welles, always at home with the past, loved revitalizing old warhorses, and one can also see the appeal to him of the plays central character, Billings, an unflappable philanderer who lies to his mistress that his name is Johnson, who never lets dull facts stand in the way of a good story, misdirecting the lives of others with cheerful abandon.

Throughout his career, Orson Welless projects balanced innovative achievements against ambitious disasters. Too Much Johnson is a textbook case of the latter. But now, with the recovery of the films and just a little imagination, its possible to see the intended Mercury production in the theater of the mind. Theres always room to hope for a premiere of the films with the 1938 play script, now that all the pieces have, amazingly enough, resurfaced.

excerpted from film notes by Scott Simmon, curator of five of the National Film Preservation Foundations DVD anthologies


Northwest Film Forum (View)
1515 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
United States




Contact us
1-800-838-3006 (Temporarily Unavailable)
Ticket Buyers
Track Your Order
Browse Events
Event Producers
Create an Event
Buy Pre-Printed Tickets
The Venue List
Find out about local events
Get daily or weekly email notifications of new and discounted events in your neighborhood.
Sign up for local events
Connect with us
Follow us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Follow us on Instagram
Watch us on YouTube
Read our blog
Get to know us
Use of this service is subject to the Terms of Usage, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy of Brown Paper Tickets. All rights reserved. © 2000-2022 Mobile EN ES FR