The Kid (Charlie Chaplin, 1921)


Charlie Chaplin (A Tramp), Jackie Coogan (The Kid), Edna Purviance (The Woman), Carl Miller (The Man). Directed by Charlie Chaplin. Rating: U. Running time: 50 minutes.

What can I say that you won’t rightly assume already? Chaplin not only wrote, directed and starred in The Kid. He also produced it and even composed the music that accompanies these scenes from ninety years ago as we watch them today. It’s delightful, and it’s not like anything else we’ll ever have the privilege of seeing. The people in Chaplin’s films don’t move around like you and me; they strut, dance and jump about the screen waving their arms around like they’re involved in a high speed manic ballet, always looking for a visual gag and producing one every minute that’s perfectly in time with the music. And in The Kid that comedy is combined beautifully with a touch of real drama, as the orphan that Chaplin, as a Tramp, accidentally ends up caring for, not only hilariously grows up to help him in his life of petty crime (one smashes a window, the other walks by minutes later offering repairs), but they also gradually develop true love for one another in a father-son relationship. What ensues is a comic battle with genuinely caring undertones, as the authorities cotton on to the situation and both the Tramp and the Kid do all they can to stay together. It’s wonderful, wonderful stuff, and undoubtedly one of Chaplin’s finest.

One Response to “The Kid (Charlie Chaplin, 1921)”

  1. 1 Joshua Dixon

    Jackie Coogan went on to play Uncle Fester in the TV series of The Addams Family.

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