68 Min. | Comedy – Drama – Family | February 1921
IMDB Rating: 8.3
Director: Charles Chaplin
Starring: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Jackie Coogan
The Kid Review
Charlie Chaplin was perhaps the most innovative auteur of the silent era and certainly the most famous. His character, the Tramp, is now a cultural icon and will forever be a symbol of poverty and travesty that was American society in the early 20th century, but something all of us can overcome. In one of his first roles with this character, he played opposite a very young Jackie Coogan, who would go on to play Uncle Fester in the cult TV series The Addams Family. Taking himself and this very talented young boy, Chaplin made a masterwork, one that he truly could call his own as he wrote, directed, starred in and composed the score for The Kid.
Here, Chaplin feeds to one of the most basic of all human desires, to care for a child and be needed and loved by one another. The Tramp finds an abandoned baby in an alley and in order to not be caught by a policeman he takes the child in as his own. He hasn’t got much but he does have love, which is more than can be said for the child’s mother. Flash forward five years, and now the mother wants her son back. Circumstances arise and soon the Tramp is fighting for the right to keep his little companion. Even so, the story is thin but I believe Chaplin was going for something more deep and meaningful. This also gave him a chance to work on some different visual styles and comedic gimmicks, things not used much at the time in the movies.
Using these little tricks and ideas, Chaplin creates a real persona not just for himself but also the supporting cast and involving us in the story. However, at the heart of the story are the emotions about fighting for the right to be a parent/guardian, someone the kid can look up to and sleep beside and confide in. It tugs at your heart all while making you laugh, sometimes in the same scene. This shows the work of a true genius, someone who knew what he wanted to create and the style in which he wanted to portray it. Overall, The Kid is a worth watch.
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