The Death of Poor Joe

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The Death of Poor Joe
Full film
Directed by George Albert Smith
Starring Laura Bayley
Tom Green
Distributed by Warwick Trading Company
Release date
  • March 1901 (1901-03)
Running time
One minute[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language Silent

The Death of Poor Joe is a 1901 British short silent drama film, directed by George Albert Smith, which features the director's wife Laura Bayley as Joe, a child street-sweeper who dies of disease on the street in the arms of a policeman.[2] The film, which went on release in March 1901, takes its name from a famous photograph posed by Oscar Rejlander after an episode in Charles Dickens' Bleak House and is the oldest known surviving film featuring a Dickens character.[3][4] The film was discovered in 2012 by British Film Institute curator Bryony Dixon, after it was believed to have been lost since 1954.[5][6] Until the discovery, the previous oldest known Dickens film was Scrooge, or, Marley's Ghost, released in November 1901.[7]


  • Laura Bayley as Joe
  • Tom Green as the policeman

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "World's oldest Charles Dickens film discovered". The Guardian. London. 9 March 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Waters, Florence (9 March 2012). "First Charles Dickens film found 111 years after it was made". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  3. ^ Vanessa Toulmin, Simon Popple, Visual delights two: exhibition and reception, Publisher John Libbey Eurotext, 2005, ISBN 0861966570, 9780861966578, 266 pages, page 77
  4. ^ "Earliest Charles Dickens film uncovered". BBC News. 9 March 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "Charles Dickens film The Death of Poor Joe found - oldest ever at 111 yrs". Metro. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  6. ^ The Death of Poor Joe in the BFI Film & TV Database
  7. ^ Kemp, Stuart. "BFI’s Bryony Dixon stumbles across "The Death Of Poor Joe," a character from Charles Dickens’ "Bleak House."". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 

External links[edit]