If machine is booting but screen is dead / dim
you could try connecting machine to external monitor (flat screen TV) use Fn+ F key with blue square to switch to external monitor.
It's possible it could be just a loose connection to the screen / invertor or backlight failed.
Hard drive can be fitted into a caddy see here and connected to your machine.
However to access the files you may need to take permission so what op system are you using Vista?