British Film Institute uncovers oldest Charles Dickens film depicting Bleak House extract

14:46 09 March 2012

The 200th anniversary of author Charles Dickens

The 200th anniversary of author Charles Dickens' birth is being celebrated

The British Film Institute has uncovered the world’s oldest surviving Dickensian film, The Death of Poor Joe, the day after the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth.

The discovery was made by BFI silent film curator Bryony Dixon whose research has revealed this to be the earliest film made featuring a Dickensian character.

Until now the earliest known Dickens film was believed to be Scrooge or Marley’s Ghost (1901), currently on nationwide release from the BFI National Archive and it remains the earliest direct adaptation.

Ms Dixon was actually researching early films of China when she noticed a catalogue entry referring to a film called The Death of Poor Joe which she instantly realised could be a reference to a character in the novel Bleak House.

Archivists routinely check for any surviving copies of films they have come across as a title reference with little hope that the film actually survives as the majority of films made in this period have been destroyed.

“It’s wonderful to have discovered such a rare and unique film so close to Dickens’ bicentennial,” she said. “Not only does it survive but it is the world’s earliest Dickensian film!

“It looks beautiful and is in excellent condition. This really is the icing on the cake of our current celebration of Dickens on Screen.”

The film will be screened as a special late addition to the programme of Dickens: Pre-1914 Short Films on March 9 and 23 at BFI Southbank.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Paul Bettany has said playing an on-screen character in the latest Marvel film means working harder than when he was simply providing a voice.

Read more

Emmerdale’s Ryan Hawley thinks Robert Sugden’s feelings for Aaron Livesy are purely superficial.

Read more

Mark Addy was a bit taken aback when he was offered the role of Hercules in Atlantis.

Read more

Promoted content

Established in 1987, Tucci is one of the North's premier stores for branded clothing, footwear and accessories.

Save up to 70% on designer brands for Men and Women, including G-Star, Diesel, French Connection, Firetrap and many more….our sale is now on.

[Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images]

It’s the new year and you’re looking forward to booking your summer holidays - but how do sunny getaways change when you’ve got children?

It’s easy to lose sight of how beautiful London is when you’re crammed into a commuter train. Let these flying Instagram users take you on a bird’s eye tour of London.

People have pretty good memories when it comes to the outstanding performance of a tub of lard on HIGNFY.

The UN ambassador unveiled IMPACT10X10X10, a new initiative to end gender inequality as part of the HeForShe campaign.

David Cameron and Tony Blair are among those paying tribute.

Quirky London