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Oldest film based on Dickens found in Britain

posted 9 Mar 2012, 08:49 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 9 Mar 2012, 08:50 ]

A newly discovered short film from the early 1900s is believed to be the oldest surviving film featuring a character from British novelist Charles Dickens.

FILE-DICKENS FILM - It seemed like a case of pure chance when an archivist at the British Film Institute actually stumbled across a 1901 movie just one minute long which turns out to be the earliest surviving film featuring a character from the works of Charles Dickens.

Dickens, the author of classics like "Great Expectations", "Nicholas Nickleby" and "Oliver Twist", is among the most revered novelists in English literature, and he remains one of the most adapted writers in history.

Before the BFI's latest discovery, the earliest known Dickens film was "Scrooge or Marley's Ghost", released in November 1901. It remains the earliest direct adaptation.

"The Death of Poor Joe" has been identified as the work of British film pioneer G.A. Smith and is believed to have been filmed in Brighton some time before March 1901.

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