The oldest surviving Charles Dickens film has been found 111 years after it was made with the discovery coming just one day after what would have been the legendary author’s 200th birthday.
The film,a minute-long short titled ‘The Death Of Poor Joe’,was discovered by British Film Institute (BFI) curato Bryony Dixon a day after international celebrations were held to mark Dickens’ birth anniversary,reported BBC.
Despite its length,the impact of the film is as bleak as Dickens’ novels with the picture showing the assumed Joe dying in the freezing snow against a churchyard wall. As he falls to the ground a watchman tries to help him and ends up cradling Joe as he dies.
The discovery of the film’s age was made when Dixon was checking the BFI archives and found a catalogue entry referring to ‘The Death Of Poor Joe’,which she linked to the character Jo from Dickens’ ‘Bleak House’.
Dixon discovered that the film had been catalogued incorrectly under a different title and listed as 1902,amending the date means that it’s now older than the previously assumed oldest works of ‘Scrooge’ and ‘Marley’s Ghost,’ both released in November 1901.
“It’s wonderful to have discovered such a rare and unique 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,” said Dixon.