The Kid

Considered one of Charlie Chaplin's best films, The Kid also made a star of little Jackie Coogan, who plays a boy cared for by The Tramp when he's abandoned by his mother, Edna. Later, Edna has a change of heart and aches to be reunited with her son. When she finds him and wrests him from The Tramp, it makes for what turns out be one of the most heart-wrenching scenes ever included in a comedy.


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  • ★★★★ review by Todd Gaines on Letterboxd

    A Tramp and Uncle Fester share a special bond in this timeless classic from Charlie Chaplin. Burned photograph. Crying babies scare gangstas. Pimpin' cigarette box. The way Charlie Chaplin tips his hat. Umbrella beatdown. The letter. Bootleg baby bottle. Street hustling like a boss. Rocks break windows. Charlie's giggle. The little kid runs faster than a jaguar. Smooth lobby boy. Charlie Chaplin's mustache is crooked. Booger picker. I'm still cracking the fuck up because the little kid grew up to be Uncle Fester from the Addams Family. Bully beatdown. The even bigger badder bully's muscles. Brick knockout. Ass kick. Quack doctor. The way Charlie Chaplin pushes a motherfucker. The kid is crying and I want to cry. Such passion. Such strong intense emotion. Hug and kiss. Charlie might be short, but I wouldn't fuck with him. Unmistakable penmanship. The Fat Guy's beard. Snoring pickpocket. Charlie's flat feet. The shit people do for a cash reward. Halo dreams. Angel doggie? Flying Tramp? Seductive devil. The dream sequence is some serious trippy shit. Angels enjoy playing harps. Police harassment. Reunion. Charlie Chaplin is a comedic genius. His swag is undeniable. He might not do the batshit crazy stunts Buster Keaton did, but he's still a badass motherfucker. The Kid is a powerful heartfelt film about fatherly love. Both Chaplin and Little Uncle Fester Jackie Coogan shine in the starring roles. Highly recommended for fans of silent cinema and films that make you appreciate the finer things in life.

  • ★★★★★ review by CinemaClown on Letterboxd

    Charlie Chaplin's first feature-length theatrical is one of the greatest achievements of silent era of filmmaking that paints one of the most heartfelt portrait of father-son relationship on the silver screen, presents the gifted talent at the prime of his creativity, and despite being nearly a century old classic, can still put most comedies of today to shame.

    A comedy with a smile & perhaps a tear, The Kid tells the story of a tramp who after coming across an abandoned baby takes him under his care after which the film jumps five years in the span of which the grown child now works as his father's sidekick, helping his glazing business by breaking windows around the town. But an unfortunate set of events soon put their relationship into jeopardy.

    Written, produced, directed, composed & edited by Charlie Chaplin himself, who also stars as his signature character, The Kid is clearly a one-man show yet there isn't a single aspect where Chaplin's work isn't impressive enough. Plus his remarkable ability to fuse comedy with elements of drama in a seamless manner not only makes this tale a roller-coaster ride of rib-tickling laughter but also an emotionally moving story.

    The chemistry between Chaplin & Jackie Coogan, who plays the young kid, is absolutely spot-on plus their on-screen bonding feels wholly convincing. Technical aspects are full of little innovations, Cinematography crisply captures the unfolding events, Editing is tight for the most part but that dream sequence did feel a bit unnecessary. However, the wonderful background score beautifully enhances the whole experience.

    On an overall scale, The Kid remains one of the most memorable, influential & greatest films of all time whose significance & contribution to the art of cinema cannot be downplayed. It has effortlessly managed to stand the test of time for what soon will be one whole century and thanks to its universal themes, will continue to do so for as long as cinema exists. Truly an unforgettable classic, definitely one of Chaplin's finest & certainly amongst my all time favourites, The Kid comes strongly recommended.

  • ★★★★ review by ScreeningNotes on Letterboxd

    Insert Here: Standard opening about how I don't deal well with silent films and how impressive it is that my fascination with Chaplin's comedies continues. These films are a great access point for audiences looking to broaden their horizons beyond sound film.

    The Kid is easily the most melodramatic of Charlie Chaplin's work. This isn't particularly strange since despite their roots in slapstick comedy, Chaplin's films have always had a deeper side grounded in sympathetic emotionalism. But The Kid has a sad side which is darker than most.

    It opens with a young mother abandoning her newborn baby played over a melancholic string arrangement that will make your heart wrench before you even know what's happening. The Tramp takes the kid under his wing, and together they get into both hijinks and shenanigans of the most hilarious order; but then the melodrama returns with social services coming to take the kid away from his new father. It's a little saccharine and schmaltzy at times, but in general these emotional moments succeeded in getting me to sympathize with the characters and giving more weight to the comedy.

    The real reason to check this one out though is the way the Tramp and the Kid play off each other. Chaplin is always capable on his own, but with a partner in crime he reaches new levels of slapstick comedy gold. Watching him teach the Kid how to properly eat maple syrup with a knife isn't something I'll soon forget.

    It's cute and lovable, and most of all it's consistently funny. I didn't want it to end. 50 minutes is too short.

    Charlie Chaplin | Best of its Year

  • ★★★½ review by Justin Peterson on Letterboxd

    Criterion Collection Spine #799

    If your looking for something to smile about, you can always turn to Chaplin!

    The Kid is one of writer and director Charlie Chaplin's earlier feature films, and is a delightful story about his famous character the tramp finding and raising an orphan.

    There are plenty of memorable moments throughout like when the young boy gets in a fight and Chaplin wants him to loose so he does not get beat up. Or simpler moments like the two sharing a large meal of pancakes together. The kid played by Jackie Coogan really lights up the screen with his range of emotions that come across so well. It's fascinating to see special effects they pulled off during the dream sequence toward the end to help wrap of the story.

    I have noticed a stereotype some older movies have with characters taking issue with a child being raised by a signal parent. While I did not find myself tearing up about the story I definitely was invested and found it to be a joy to watch.

    It is interesting to notice the slight jump cuts throughout, and I am not sure if that was caused by the restoration or simply reflects the limitations of early editing.

    The Kid is a really good, short, and entertaining silent film that would be a great introduction for those who not come to appreciate this early form of cinema.

    “I'll be back.”

    - The Terminator

    Happy movie watching ... SKOL!

  • ★★★★ review by Esteban Gonzalez on Letterboxd

    "A comedy with a smile--and perhaps a tear"

    Charlie Chaplin's first self-produced feature film, The Kid, is a tender and sweet tale that once again manages to balance those emotional moments with a great amount of slapstick comedy. The master of pantomime surprised me here by taking a step out of the spotlight and letting it shine on the young newcomer, Jackie Coogan, who steals every scene he is in. Coogan is extremely cute and he held his own next to Chaplin in the comedic department as well. As the title suggests, the main character in this film is the kid who has given the character of the tramp something to live and fight for. The scene that stands out for me is the one where the social workers show up and try to take away his adopted son from him. That scene is a real tearjerker, but at the same time there are some excellent moments of physical comedy that balance them out. The editing was also very well done giving the action scenes some believable effects as Chaplin runs through the roofs to rescue the kid. I actually watched Chaplin's re-edited 1971 version of The Kid that includes an original score and is 15 minutes shorter than the original, but I really enjoyed it and found it moving.

    This silent film written by Chaplin opens with a sobbing unwed mother (Edna Purviance) walking out of a charity hospital with a baby in arms. Along the way she spots a fancy car in front of a mansion and decides to leave the baby hidden in the back seat with a note asking for whoever finds the baby to take care of him. As she walks away a couple of thieves unexpectedly steal the car and once they discover the baby in the back seat they dump him off in an alley. After having second thoughts for what she did, the mother decides to return to the mansion but once she arrives the owners tell her that the car has been stolen. Meanwhile, the tramp (Charlie Chaplin) stumbles across the baby as he is passing by the alley. At first he tries to get rid of him, but eventually he decides to keep the baby and adopts him. Five years have passed and we are now introduced to the tramp and his kid (Jackie Coogan). He is working as a glazier, and business seems to be going well thanks to his kid who helps him out by smashing the neighbor's windows. The child's real mother has become a famous Opera singer and continues to feel haunted for abandoning her son. She does charity work in the same neighborhood where the tramp and the kid live. The tramp and his kid have overcome many obstacles together, but when the boy becomes ill new trouble arises and it could separate the two forever.

    The Kid might be almost a hundred years old, but it is still a fascinating watch. It has a great amount of heart and it feels fresh thanks to the tender and sweet story. Chaplin's films are a delight to watch and there is something powerful in the way he portrays his message without using dialogue. His films are told through action and his physical performance is always impressive. In the Kid, Chaplin has found a great sidekick in Coogan, who makes the film all that more tender. I wasn't a huge fan of the dream sequence which felt a bit out of place, but the rest of the film was really a delight. The Kid is a special film and one that cemented Chaplin's status as the best producer, director, writer, and actor during the silent film era. It also has a touching father and son narrative that despite being simple reaches for the heart. It's a beautiful film with a perfect running time for a silent film.

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