British curators just discovered a 1901 film called “The Death of Poor Joe”, the earliest known film based on a Charles Dickens story. Chimney sweeps, street urchins, unscrupulous misers, consumption patients, pious paupers, shadowy benefactors, plucky orphans, and psychotic spinsters were unavailable for comment.
A still from the 1-minute long film.
In the film, “Poor Jo” is seen at night against a churchyard wall, freezing in the winter snow with his broom. A watchman comes along swinging his lamp and catches Jo as just as he falls to the ground dying; the watchman tries to help but it’s too late as he shines his lamp down into Jo’s face, Jo puts his hands together in prayer, taking the lamp for heavenly light as he dies.