A film made by cinema legend Orson Welles three years before his breakout movie Citizen Kane has been unearthed and restored for a premiere screening in Italy.

Historians were led to believe that the footage shot for Too Much Johnson, which the actor/director made in the late 1930s when he was just 20, had been destroyed in a fire.

But a nitrate print of the never-before-seen silent farce, which Welles also scripted, was discovered in a warehouse in Pordenone, Italy, and brought to the attention of archivists in December (12).

Now, 75 years after it was made, the hour-long movie, starring Joseph Cotten, will debut in at Italy's Le Giornate del Cinema Muto silent film festival on 9 October (13), reports The Hollywood Reporter.

Italian film experts worked with officials at the National Film Preservation Foundation to restore the movie, which will also be screened a week later in Rochester, New York.