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Early Orson Welles Film to Premiere This Fall, Plus Watch Welles' First Short Film, 'The Hearts of Age' (VIDEO)

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood August 7, 2013 at 2:25PM

As the New York Times' Dave Kehr points out in a recent highlight piece, Orson Welles' filmmaking debut came seven years before 1941's "Citizen Kane," with an eight-minute short titled "The Hearts of Age." Teenager Welles made the film with a friend from school, William Vance. In this early endeavor, Welles dons old-age makeup -- a sign of disguises to come in "Kane." Watch below.
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Orson Welles
Orson Welles

As the New York Times' Dave Kehr points out in a recent highlight piece, Orson Welles' filmmaking debut came seven years before 1941's "Citizen Kane," with an eight-minute short titled "The Hearts of Age." Teenager Welles made the film with a friend from school, William Vance. In this early endeavor, Welles dons old-age makeup -- a sign of disguises to come in "Kane." Watch below.

A frame from "Too Much Johnson"
George Eastman House A frame from "Too Much Johnson"

The main gist of Kehr's article, however, focuses on forty minutes of footage filmed by Welles in 1938, made to be shown with theatrical production "Too Much Johnson," a revival of an 1894 comedy the director planned for the 1938 season of the Mercury Theatre.

When the show closed following a negatively received preview in Stony Creek, Connecticut, Welles put the footage aside. Mercury Theatre members, including eventual screen star Joseph Cotten and Welles' wife at the time, Virginia Nicholson, were part of the abandoned film.

Recently restored by the George Eastman House, "Too Much Johnson" is set to have its premiere at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival on October 5, and at the Eastman House October 16.

This article is related to: News, News, New York Times


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.