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    A long-lost Orson Welles film that was believed destroyed in a 1970 fire has been discovered in a northern Italian warehouse and will finally make its public debut 75 years after being filmed, an Italian film archive announced Thursday.

    The silent film "Too Much Johnson," a slapstick comedy made just before Welles went to Hollywood to film "Citizen Kane," was found in a box that had been stored for years in the northeastern city of Pordenone before being identified, said Giuliana Puppin, a spokeswoman for the archive, Cineteca del Friuli.

    How the 35mm nitrate print arrived in Pordenone remains a mystery.

    Found by a shipping company, it was turned over at some point to a local film society – but the film seemed of no particular value and was left unopened for many years, Puppin said.

    "We don't know where the box came from. There were no documents with it. We don't know the road it took," Puppin said.

    "Too Much Johnson" stars Joseph Cotten and is less a feature film than a series of scenes made to be shown as part of a production of the play by the same name, said Circo Giorgini, an Italian expert on Welles who identified the film about three years ago. It was never finished and never shown publically.

    While the existence of the film was known, the only remaining copy was believed to have been destroyed in a 1970 fire at Welles' home in Madrid. It is not known how many copies of the film were actually made.

    Giorgini said he knew immediately "Too Much Johnson" had been found when he got a call from a friend saying he believed he was in possession of a Welles film that starred Cotten wearing a straw hat – the give-away.

    "I said, `It is something very precious, take care of it. You have found a film that has been missing for decades,'" Giorgini said.
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