Review of The Kid (1921)

9 Dec

The Kid (1921) is a silent comedy/drama film, which is one of the best known movies, made and starring the silent era comedy icon Charles Chaplin.

Directed by Charles Chaplin (A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate (1923), The Gold Rush (1925)), who directed most of his movies.

Written by Charles Chaplin (The Circus (1928), City Lights (1931)).

Starring: Charles Chaplin, Jackie Coogan, Edna Purviance, Carl Miller and others.

Charlie Chaplin has been one of the biggest talents film comedy’s ever had and one of the biggest influences on slapstick comedy in general, being rivaled maybe only by Buster Keaton. I loved Chaplin as a kid and I still love him and find him hilarious now. This is his first feature-length film and also the first feature-length that combined comedy and drama and I’d say it is quite succesful in that aspect.

The movie starts by a woman leaving a charity hospital with a newborn child and deciding to leave it in a car. Fortunately for her, I guess, 20’s cars didn’t have lockable doors. Unfortunately, this is the same reason some criminals steal the car with the baby in it. Of course, the criminals dispose of the baby and Chaplin’s character, Tramp, finds him and is forced to take care of it.

In a classic buddy comedy scenario, Tramp is resentful at first and then warms up to the boy as he grows up and makes him a partner in crime.

It is a very entertaining film and the gags are really funny, somehow the feeling of genuineness shines through, even though all the slapstick routines have become cliché by now. Although slapstick is considered to be juvenile now, I enjoyed it a lot and found the choreography amazing. It never feels like it needs any dialogue and they rarely use the intertitle cards.

Jackie Coogan is so much more expressive and funny than any of the 6-year-olds we see in family movies today. Chaplin and him play off of each other perfectly and I really believed their relationship. This isn’t the most physical performance of Chaplin ever, but he’s great anyway.

This is a drama film as much as it is a comedy. It isn’t funny all the time. There’s one scene in the film that is so incredibly heart-breaking, I actually teared up watching it. And if a simple 1920’s silent comedy can do that, there’s something great about it.

I’d say it is a movie everyone should watch, because it is so accessible to everyone. I totally loved it and recommend it immensely. And see Charlie Chaplin’s genius at the start of his feature film career, that fulfilled his potential.

"You will know me as the most charismatic child actor of the next 90 years."

3 Responses to “Review of The Kid (1921)”

  1. manonmona December 18, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    Reblogged this on Espacio de MANON.

  2. danyulengelke May 23, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

    Great review!

    We’re linking to your article for Charlie Chaplin Friday at

    Keep up the good work!


  1. Charlie Chaplin Friday – Watch: ‘The Kid’ (1921) | Seminal Cinema Outfit - May 23, 2014

    […] except from the review at […]

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