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The Kid Details


[[Feature~V179620~The Kid~thekid]] was [[Performer~P12334~Charles Chaplin~charleschaplin]]'s first self-produced and directed feature film; 1914's 6-reel [[Feature~V113835~Tillie's Punctured Romance~tilliespuncturedromance]] was a [[Performer~P110811~Mack Sennett~macksennett]] production in which [[Performer~P12334~Chaplin~charleschaplin]] merely co-starred.The story "with a smile and perhaps a tear," begins with unwed mother [[Performer~P58092~Edna Purviance~ednapurviance]] leaving the Charity Hospital, babe in arms. Her burden is illustrated with a title card showing Christ bearing the cross. The father of the child is a poor artist who cares little for of his former lover, carelessly knocking her photo into his garret fireplace and cooly returning it there when he sees it is too badly damaged to keep. The mother sorrowfully leaves her baby in the back seat of a millionaire's limousine, with a note imploring whoever finds it to care for and love the child. But thieves steal the limo, and, upon discovering the baby, ditch the tot in an alleyway trash can. Enter [[Performer~P12334~Chaplin~charleschaplin]], out for his morning stroll, carefully selecting a choice cigarette butt from his well used tin. He stumbles upon the squalling infant and, after trying to palm it off on a lady with another baby in a carriage, decides to adopt the kid himself. Meanwhile [[Performer~P58092~Purviance~ednapurviance]] has relented, but when she returns to the mansion and is told that the car has been stolen, she collapses in despair. [[Performer~P12334~Chaplin~charleschaplin]] outfits his flat for the baby as best he can, using an old coffee pot with a nipple on the spout as a baby bottle and a cane chair with the seat cut out as a potty seat. [[Performer~P12334~Chaplin~charleschaplin]]'s attic apartment is a representation of the garret he had shared with his mother and brother in London, just as the slum neighborhood is a recreation of the ones he knew as a boy.Five years later, [[Performer~P12334~Chaplin~charleschaplin]] has become a glazier, while his adopted son (the remarkable [[Performer~P14674~Jackie Coogan~jackiecoogan]]) drums up business for his old man by cheerfully breaking windows in the neighborhood. [[Performer~P58092~Purviance~ednapurviance]] meanwhile has become a world famous opera singer, still haunted by the memory of her child, who does charity work in the very slums in which he now lives. Ironically, she gives a toy dog to little [[Performer~P14674~Coogan~jackiecoogan]]. [[Performer~P12334~Chaplin~charleschaplin]] and [[Performer~P14674~Coogan~jackiecoogan]]'s close calls with the law and fights with street toughs are easily overcome, but when [[Performer~P14674~Coogan~jackiecoogan]] falls ill, the attending doctor learns of the illegal adoption and summons the Orphan Asylum social workers who try to separate [[Performer~P12334~Chaplin~charleschaplin]] from his foster son. In one of the most moving scenes in all of [[Performer~P12334~Chaplin~charleschaplin]]'s films, [[Performer~P12334~Chaplin~charleschaplin]] and [[Performer~P14674~Coogan~jackiecoogan]] try to fight the officials, but [[Performer~P12334~Chaplin~charleschaplin]] is subdued by the cop they have summoned. [[Performer~P14674~Coogan~jackiecoogan]] is roughly thrown into the back of the Asylum van, pleading to the welfare official and to God not to be separated from his father. [[Performer~P12334~Chaplin~charleschaplin]], freeing himself from the cop, pursues the orphanage van over the rooftops and, descending into the back of the truck, dispatches the official and tearfully reunites with his "son". Returning to check on the sick boy, [[Performer~P58092~Purviance~ednapurviance]] encounters the doctor and is shown the note which she had attached to her baby five years earlier. [[Performer~P12334~Chaplin~charleschaplin]] and [[Performer~P14674~Coogan~jackiecoogan]], not daring to return home, settle in a flophouse for the night. The proprietor sees a newspaper ad offering a reward for [[Performer~P14674~Coogan~jackiecoogan]]'s return and kidnaps the sleeping boy. After hunting fruitlessly, a grieving [[Performer~P12334~Chaplin~charleschaplin]] falls asleep on his tenement doorstep and dreams that he has been reunited with the boy in Heaven (that "flirtatious angel" is Lita Grey, later [[Performer~P12334~Chaplin~charleschaplin]]'s second wife). Woken from his dream by the cop, he is taken via limousine to [[Performer~P58092~Purviance~ednapurviance]]'s mansion where he is welcomed by [[Performer~P14674~Coogan~jackiecoogan]] and [[Performer~P58092~Purviance~ednapurviance]], presumably to stay. [[Performer~P12334~Chaplin~charleschaplin]] had difficulties getting [[Feature~V179620~The Kid~thekid]] produced. His inspiration, it is suggested was the death of his own first son, Norman Spencer Chaplin a few days after birth in 1919. His determination to make a serio-comic feature was challenged by First National who preferred two reel films, which were more quickly produced and released. [[Performer~P12334~Chaplin~charleschaplin]] wisely gained his distributors' approval by inviting them to the studio, where he trotted out the delightful [[Performer~P14674~Coogan~jackiecoogan]] to entertain them. [[Performer~P12334~Chaplin~charleschaplin]]'s divorce case from his first wife [[Performer~P30662~Mildred Harris~mildredharris]] also played a part; fearing seizure of the negatives [[Performer~P12334~Chaplin~charleschaplin]] and crew escaped to Salt Lake City and later to New York to complete the editing of the film. [[Performer~P12334~Chaplin~charleschaplin]]'s excellent and moving score for [[Feature~V179620~The Kid~thekid]] was composed in 1971 for a theatrical re-release, but used themes that [[Performer~P12334~Chaplin~charleschaplin]] had composed in 1921. [[Performer~P12334~Chaplin~charleschaplin]] re-edited the film somewhat for the re-release, cutting scenes that he felt were overly sentimental, such as [[Performer~P58092~Purviance~ednapurviance]]'s observing of a May-December wedding and her portrayal as a saint, outlined by a church's stained glass window. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

  • Release date:January 21, 1921


Charles Chaplin
as The Tramp
Jackie Coogan
as The Kid
Edna Purviance
as Mother
Henry Bergman
as Night Shelter Keeper
Henry Berman
as Lodging House Proprietor
Frank Campeau
as Welfare Officer
Albert Austin
as Man in Shelter
Charles "Chuck" Riesner
as The Bully
Esther Ralston


Charles Chaplin
Charles Chaplin
Charles Chaplin
Charles Chaplin
Composer (Music Score)
Charles Hall
Production Designer