Charlie Chaplin

Film

Orson Welles’ Too Much Johnson, restored by George Eastman House

Simon Callow, in his biography of Orson Welles, cites the Mercury actor, William Alland, on Welles' personal devastation caused by the failure the company's 1938 revival of William Gillette's (1853-1937) Too Much Johnson (1894). According to Alland, who was with him most of the time, Welles "retired into his air-conditioned tent at the St. Regis, where he lay in darkness surrounded by 25,000 feet of film...convinced that he was going to die, racked by asthma and fear and despair." Alland reported "the self-vilifications and the remorse for what he had done to those around him..." Although Welles returned to work and to his favorite diversions soon enough, it is clear that the failure of Too Much Johnson was a major defeat for him.
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