The Old Curiosity Shop
Release Date
20 January 1911

The Old Curiosity Shop (1911)

Drama, Short
An old man, keeper of a quaint curiosity shop in London, lavishes all his love upon his granddaughter, Little Nell, the only person in the world for whom he really cares and who really cares for him. Poverty galls him, not because of himself, as his tastes are simple, but he wishes to see Nell surrounded by every luxury. And he finally believes he has found a way to make her wealthy. His few acquaintances wonder what it is, for he talks mysteriously yet happily of his plans, but his secret is only found out by accident. He is gambling, always with his darling's name upon his lips, for he cannot see how the blind Goddess can withhold her favors from one so lovable as Little Nell. But the result of his gambling is the usual one; the man loses all, and is finally left without a cent that he can call his own. Nell, who has heard of his folly, fears that her grandfather will be taken away from her and placed in an asylum, and flees with him in the night. They have no money and no destination; fear drives them along. Mrs. Jarley, the kindhearted proprietor of a waxwork show, befriends and shelters them, and for a time it seems that their troubles are over. But the old fascination holds the old man. He robs his granddaughter of the tiny money she has, and gambles it away, hoping to return it tenfold. He loses, of course. Then the men who have robbed the helpless old man, urge him to steal from his benefactress. He finally consents but is saved from that crime by Little Nell, who sees that the only way to save him is to fly with him from temptation. So the feeble old man and the delicate child become wanderers again. When Nell's strength is exhausted she meets a kindly schoolmaster and appeals to him for aid. Then she falls unconscious at his feet. The schoolmaster, although poor himself, takes the pair to his own home. But it is too late to save Nell. Wanderings and privations have sapped her vitality, and she dies. Her grandfather, broken-hearted, is found lifeless on her grave a few days later. The lesson that Dickens teaches in this story is, that gambling does not pay, even when conducted for the best and most noble of purposes. - Written by Moving Picture World synopsis
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