A FILM starring Norman Wisdom, which was made in Darwen, has been found after four years of searching and is to be screened publicly for the first time in 40 years.

There Was A Crooked Man was filmed around the town in early 1960 and featured many local residents as extras.

It is not available to buy and was shown on television only once.

In the newly-found film, Wisdom stars as an explosives expert who unwittingly uncovers dodgy dealing by a high-profile member of society.

Susannah York and Andrew Cruickshank also feature.

Last month, a friend of Darwen Library Film Society treasurer, Brian Dixon, found the film with a private collector in the South of England.

Wisdom was the subject of a BBC documentary earlier this month which showed him suffering from dementia in an Isle of Man care home.

Mr Dixon said the film could get extra attention after the BBC docume-ntary brought Wisdom back into the limelight.

He said: "I did watch the programme, and it was sad in a sense because I was always a big Norman Wisdom fan."

Mr Dixon said that he had been searching for There Was A Crooked Man for a while.

He added: "I asked a lot of people I know in the film world to look for it and after a lot of hard work, one of my friends got in touch with a private collector who had it.

"As far as I know it's the only one in the country.

"It was an independent film made by Knightsbridge Productions who went bust, and I think that's the reason it is so rare.

"We are only borrowing the film and we're not allowed to copy it.

The film will be shown at 2pm at Darwen Library Theatre on Tuesday, February 19, and later in the evening at a time to be confirmed.

Tickets cost £5 and all money raised will go towards the £3,000 cost of buying Darwen Film Society their own projector.

They currently borrow one from Blackburn.

Mr Dixon added: "I'm thrilled about it for the people of Darwen.

"We started looking for the film because a lot of local people who were child extras in the film are now grown up and want to see the film again.

"It was last seen in Darwen at the Paladium or the Savoy in the 1960s and once on television."

Carol Gaul, 34, of Elliot Avenue, Darwen, had also been trying to get hold of the film for her mum Jean Davenport, 60, who appeared in the film skipping alongside her younger sister Mary.

Carol said: "I've been on Norman Wisdom websites leaving messages and no-one has had the film.

"I've got tickets to see the film in February with my mum.

"She's absolutely chuffed to bits it's been found."

Shirley Pilling, who runs a stall on Darwen Market, was 11 when the film was made and has fond memories of meeting the stars.

She said: "We had a puppy they wanted to film crossing the road but it wouldn't behave and they had to use a cat instead."

To book tickets for the screening call 01254 706006.