Dickens on Screen

Nicholas Nickleby
R: George Nichols. B: Charles Dickens (novel). K: Carl Gregory. D: Harry Benham, Mignon Anderson, Frances Gibson, Inda Palmer. P: Thanhouser Film Corporation, USA 1912

“The background settings are not simply painted sets as was typical of the time, but are naturally built environments. The characters, too, are clear, defined, and personable without too much help or interruption from captions. Even more, the short length is unlike other depictions of ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ and allows the film to be comprehensible and digestible in a short 20 minutes. Other stage performances of the novel have been said to last upwards of eight hours, with multiple meals served as respites. While all shots are taken from a static camera, it’s important to evaluate the film in its historical context with the technological limitations of the times.”
Jack Linshi
Yale Daily News

The Pickwick Papers (Pt 1: ‘The Adventure of the Honourable)
R: Larry Trimble. B: Eugene Mullin nach Charles Dickens. D: John Bunny, Arthur Ricketts. P: British Vitagraph and Vitagraph Company of America. UK / USA 1913
Print: BFI

“The three-reel The Pickwick Papers, a joint production by the British and American Vitagraph companies, starred popular American comedian John Bunny and was filmed mainly on location in England (this apparently stemmed from Bunny’s desire to play Pickwick in the authentic locations). Perhaps more than many of Dickens’ other novels, The Pickwick Papers leant itself easily to adaptation, thanks to the episodic nature of the novel and the self-contained stories which feature within it (examples of the latter being Gabriel Grub, 1904, and A Knight for a Night, 1909). Only the first and third reel from the 1913 Vitagraph version – ‘The Honourable Event’ (featured here) and ‘The Westgate Seminary’ – still survive in the BFI National Archive.”
Caroline Millar
Screen online