Quad treasure trove for fans of Dickens

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DERBY-based arts centre will be joining the national celebrations of the Dickens bicentenary in February with an archive film screening and a new collection of Dickens films in the BFI Mediatheque.

Dickens Before Sound (U) is a unique collection of early adaptations of one of Britain’s favourite and most adapted authors. Almost 100 film versions of Dickens’s stories were made before the advent of sound. Sadly, only about a third of them have survived and these have rarely been seen.

This collection of films, spanning 1901 to 1913, show how early cinema storytelling developed. These films are presented together for the first time with new scores by the composer and pianist Neil Brand. Dickens Before Sound (U) screens on February 21, at 1.30pm and at 6.30pm. Tickets are £7.40 and £5.75 concessions.

The BFI Mediatheque at Quad offers a chance to enjoy films from the BFI National Archive. Celebrating the bicentenary of a true giant of English literature, Hard Times: Dickens on Screen is a collection in two parts.

Charles Dickens’s work has proven popular with filmmakers since the earliest years of cinema; his social conscience is ever more pertinent today. The first part of this collection brings together a selection of film adaptations produced in Britain. Dickens’ novels have also been a cornerstone of quality British television drama for more than 50 years, their intricate plots and vivid characterisation lending themselves particularly well to the serial format, and the second part of the collection includes Dickens’s adaptations for TV.

The Hard Times: Dickens on Screen Part 1 collection includes Edwardian shorts and 1920s features, classics like David Lean’s Oliver Twist (1948), David Copperfield (1913) and Bleak House (1920), a rarely seen feature adaptation of the Dickens favourite, The Only Way (1926), a version of A Tale of Two Cities, The Old Curiosity Shop (1934) which is the first sound version of the novel.

Hard Times: Dickens on Screen Part 2 samples episodes from a rich variety of adaptations, several of which cannot be found on DVD. This collection offers a chance to compare the 1985 version of Bleak House with the 2005 hit starring Gillian Anderson; or one of the earliest surviving TV adaptations of Great Expectations, broadcast in 1959, with the lavish 1999 production starring Charlotte Rampling as Miss Havisham and Ioan Gruffudd as Pip.

With over 2,000 films and television programmes and new material added every month, the BFI Mediatheque at Quad is free to use and is open daily 11am until 8pm. For more details about using the BFI Mediatheque at QUAD, please go to: www.derbyquad.co.uk/bfi-mediatheque or ask at the box office on 01332 290606.