British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Dickens Before Sound

Synopsis
This collection of films, the majority of which are previously unreleased, shows how early cinema storytelling developed, as practitioners of this new art struggled to transform a tale from page to screen. This DVD includes the first existing Dickens adaptation, Scrooge; or Marley’s Ghost (1901) photographed a mere thirty-one years after the author’s death; an entirely original attempt to animate a series of original lantern slides depicting the story of Gabriel Grub; the first Dickensian sound film with Bransby Williams as the character Grandfather Smallweed from Bleak House, and a version of Oliver Twist (1922) featuring Jackie Coogan and Lon Chaney. The films are presented for the first time with new scores by the composer and pianist Neil Brand.

Contents of Disc One (90 mins) are: Gabriel Grub (date unknown) (8 mins); Scrooge; or, Marley’s Ghost (W R Booth, UK, 1901, 4 mins); The Cricket on the Hearth (D W Griffith, USA, 1909, 14 mins); Oliver Twist (J Stuart Blackton, USA, 1909, 9 mins); The Boy and the Convict (David Aylott, UK, 1909, 12 mins); Nicholas Nickleby (George O Nichols, USA, 1912, 20 mins); The Pickwick Papers - The Honourable Event (Larry Trimble, UK/USA, 1913, 15 mins); David Copperfield (Thomas Bentley, UK, 1913, 8 mins extracts).
Contents of Disc Two (98 mins) are: Oliver Twist (Frank Lloyd, USA, 1922, 74 mins);
Dickens’ London (Frank Miller and Harry B Parkinson, UK, 1924, 12 mins); Grandfather Smallweed (Hugh Croise, UK, date unknown, 12 mins).

DVD extras include: 40-page booklet with introduction, notes on each film and original production stills; spoken word performance by Ken Campbell of Dickens’ original text over Gabriel Grub and The Pickwick Papers; voiceover commentary by screenwriter Michael Eaton on The Cricket on the Hearth; downloadable essay by Dickens scholar Graham Petrie.
Language
English
Country
Great Britain; United States
Year of release
2006
Year of production
1901-1922
Subjects
Literature; Film Studies
Keywords
archive films; Dickens, Charles (1812-1870); early cinema; film adaptations; silent films

Credits

Writer
Charles Dickens

Distribution Formats

Type
DVD
Format
Region 2 PAL
Price
£12.99
Availability
Sale
Duration/Size
171 minutes
Year
2016

Distributor

Name

BFI Video

Email
video.films@bfi.org.uk
Web
http://www.bfi.org.uk External site opens in new window
Phone
020 7957 8957
Fax
020 7957 8968
Address
21 Stephen Street
London
W1T 1LN
 

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