"There's nothing like opening a can and seeing something that hasn't been seen for the better part of 50 years."
It's one of those rare finds.
"My hands were shaking," said Tony Delgrosso.
The kind a guy like Tony can spend his whole career hoping to come across.
"It's exciting. As an archivist and film preservationist, you always hope to find something lost. You hope to find something really exciting and to be the first to open the can and take the first look at that."
Next week, the Dryden Theatre will screen the U.S. premiere of "Too Much Johnson." The 1938 silent film was directed by Orson Welles.
That year, New York's Mercury Theater was going to stage a play of the same name. The film was a multimedia experiment of sorts.
"What Orson Welles wanted to do was interject some cinema into that, and film some preludes to each of the acts prior to the actors coming out to perform on stage. This was his grand experiment."
The film, which was never released, was found recently in a warehouse in Pordenone, Italy. A team at the George Eastman House restored it.
"Obviously, we had to take extreme care and caution when looking at the reels. We really had no idea what kind of condition they were in and what to expect."
The cans containing the nitrate print did have a little rust. One can of film had to be shipped to a preservation lab in the Netherlands
"The rest of the image is in just absolutely remarkable shape, it looks like it's almost new right out of the can. Just remarkable to look at it up close."
Just how rare is the film? The only other known print of it until now was believed to have been lost in a fire which destroyed Welles' home in Spain in 1970.
"We can tell this was a work print. A lot of the splices were done in haste. The majority of edits were done by Mr. Welles by hand."
"Too Much Johnson" received its world premiere Wednesday at a film festival in Italy.
"You can really see the shine on the base side of that film, there's no scratches."
Knowing Rochester had a hand in making it happen is a point of pride.
"It's a very important thing we do here, and we'd really like the general population in particular to know the resource for film preservation they have in their own backyard."