Too Much Johnson

Watched the workprint version, which often features alternate takes and untrimmed scenes, though the thing wasn't meant to be watched as a cohesive narrative anyways. What strikes me about Welles's approach to slapstick comedy is his bold use of deep focus to create three dimensions, as well as exploit this for comedic purposes. This isn't meant at all as a knock on Keaton, Chaplin, and Lloyd, but their films often operate in a two dimensional manner for the most part (height and length). With Welles, the chase sequences are often dependent on depth, and the slanted camera angles make the heights seem much more daunting than a flat camera angle would have created. His action is often dependent on unlocking what would otherwise be negative space in the background or foreground. Some of the gags in the warehouse, and the intense editing between faces, reminded me of the final part of The Lady From Shanghai. Welles isn't exactly adept at gag construction (the fight near the end with the parasol lacks any sort of rhythm), but as a document demonstrating the potential of Welles to become a supreme comic filmmaker (sadly never coming to pass), this is quite something.

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