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  • 3/12/2012

Oldest Dickens-adapted film found at British Film Institute

charles dickens

An archivist at the British Film Institute Bryony Dixon discovered an entry referring to The Death of Poor Joe a character in Charles Dickens' novel Bleak House.

"It's wonderful to have discovered such a rare and unique film so close to Dickens' bicentennial," Dixon said adding “not only does it survive but it is the world's earliest Dickensian film! It looks beautiful and is in excellent condition."

The 1901 Death of Poor Joe has been identified as the work of British director G.A. Smith staring his wife Laura Bayley. The movie is believed to have been filmed in Brighton some time before March 1901.

It shows Dickens' Jo, a poor street sweeper from The Bleak House, against a churchyard wall freezing in the winter snow with his broom.

According to the BFI, the short film may have been inspired by not only Dickens but Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Match Girl in which a girl dies in the snow while fantasizing about the warmth she needs.

Before the BFI's recent discovery, the earliest known Dickens adaptation was Scrooge or Marley's Ghost, released in November 1901.

Death of Poor Joe is slated to be screened as a special addition to the program of ‘Dickens: pre-1914 Short Films’ on March 9 and 23 at the BFI in London.

Charles Dickens was an English writer and known as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period for his iconic novels and characters.

Presenting a literary style of fantasy and realism, Great Expectations, Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield and Oliver Twist are some of his renowned works.

Source: presstv.com

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