Too Much Johnson

Watch Too Much Johnson

  • NR
  • 1938
  • 33 min
  • 5.7  (787)

Too Much Johnson is a silent comedy film that is directed by Orson Welles, who later directed revolutionary films like Citizen Kane. It marked the film debut of Joseph Cotten who was a long time collaborator with Welles. The film, although originally intended to serve as a prelude to a stage production, was never released to the audience because of its poor condition. It was rediscovered in 2013 in a warehouse, following which a team led by George Eastman House screened it, remastered and restored it.

The story of the film is set in New York in the year 1895 where Cotten plays the character of Augustus Billings, an over-enthusiastic womanizer who is having an affair with a woman named Lena who is played by Virginia Nicholson. They are caught in the act by her husband who chases Billings across the rooftops of Manhattan. His escape lands him in Havana, Cuba where he accidentally gets mistaken for another man named Johnson.

Augustus is then roped in by a wealthy businessman to act as a spy and get evidence that Johnson has been cheating him out of an inheritance in Costa Rica. Augustus sneaks into Johnson's room and finds a collection of photographs where Johnson has photographed himself with different women at different locations in different outfits. The photographs form the basis of the blackmail that Augustus will have to use against the businessman's enemies.

The movie is a fast-paced, slapstick comedy that features elements of mistaken identity, chases and clever stunts. The film is divided into three parts, the first of which introduces the main character Augustus and sets the stage for the story that is to unfold. The second part is shot in Havana which provides a beautiful background for the plot, and the third part is set in Costa Rica where Augustus finally meets Johnson.

The film is remarkable for its use of multiple exposures and rapid-fire editing and features some of the hallmarks that would later come to be associated with Orson Welles' films - experimental cinematography, unconventional narrative technique and comic wit. The film extracts some incredible performances from the actors, especially Cotten who is brilliant as Augustus and Nicolson who is charming as Lena.

Overall, the movie Too Much Johnson is an excellent example of a silent comedy that captures the humor and tone of the era. Although it has been lost for many years, the restoration of the movie ensures that it can now be celebrated and appreciated by a new generation.

Too Much Johnson is a 1938 comedy with a runtime of 33 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.7.

Too Much Johnson
Where to Watch Too Much Johnson
Too Much Johnson is available to watch free on Plex, Pluto TV and Tubi TV. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Too Much Johnson for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    33 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.7  (787)