8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2009
This is a wonderful two disc set; the first disc containing the movie itself, restored and with a musical score composed by Chaplin in the early 1970's for the re-release of the film.
The story itself concerns an unwed mother who can't keep her child. She writes a note and leaves the child where he might be found. The child is found by the Little Tramp (Charles Chaplin) who tries to find someone to take the baby. Eventually he keeps the child and claims it as his own. He brings up the child in abject poverty, and the affection and caring between the two makes this a very touching film. Probably the most heart-wrenching scene in all Chaplin films, is in "the Kid." The child at one point is being taken away from the Tramp when it is discovered that he is not the child's real father. The child (Jackie Coogan) is crying pitifully and reaching out to the Tramp as he is being taken away from the only home and parent he has ever known. The film includes comedy, of course, but the pathos and sweetness of the film makes it one of my all time favorites.
On the second disc, there are many supplementary features, the first is a short documentary by David Robinson, Chaplin's biographer which sets the film in its historical perspective and background. This disc also includes deleted scenes, several shorts starring Jackie Coogan and Chaplin, one is footage of Chaplin recording the new musical score in 1972. A longer feature included is "My Boy," starring Jackie Coogan and running 55 minutes. A feature I truly enjoyed is "How to Make Movies" recorded in 1918 and showing Chaplin's studio and a little bit "behind the scenes" of what went into making movies in that era.
One interesting observation on my part, is that I have a hard time believing that this movie was made in 1921! It seems so fresh and timeless. Part of that may be due to the beautiful musical score and restoration of the film, but the story is so touching and well-acted that you forget that it is a silent film.
Altogether, this is an excellent DVD set, essential to every Chaplin fan or vintage movie fan.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Kid is one of Charles Chaplin's best films ever. Although it runs less than an hour long, the story is most memorable as it packs in many laughs, a few tears (I admit I shed some) and a spectacular dream sequence that must have amazed audiences at the time. When they say Chaplin worked long and hard to make this film I fully believe them! Everything is so well done; and the acting couldn't have been any better. I liked the sets; the costumes; the musical score and the casting was well done, too. In addition, the second DVD contains numerous wonderful bonus features that I really enjoyed.
When the story begins, we meet an unwed mother (Edna Purviance) who has given birth to a baby boy at a charity hospital. She is quite despondent and hopeless about their future so she pins an anonymous note to her baby's blanket asking anyone who finds the baby to care for it as if it were their own. She then places the baby in the back seat of a fancy limousine and goes off to ponder what sort of life she could lead--if any.
But of course much more happens. The limousine is stolen by two thugs and when they discover the baby inside they put it out with the trash! It isn't long before The Little Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) discovers the baby; he tries to give it to someone who can care for it with some rather funny unexpected situations. Eventually the tramp reads the note tied to the baby's blanket and decides that despite his living in abject poverty he will care for the baby, name him John and raise John as if he were the baby's real father.
Five years pass; we see just how fond the tramp and John are of each other. The tramp takes good care of the boy and they share meals and even the cooking responsibilities; we also see how they eke out a living on the streets. But when John gets very sick and the doctor discovers that the tramp is not the boy's real father, trouble ensues when the doctor notifies the county orphanage. Look for an incredible sequence in which the boy is taken from the tramp as the tramp tries to get him back; it's hard not to shed a tear when seeing the little boy crying and screaming to be reunited with the man who raised him.
And there's more. The boy's mother, who did not kill herself, has become a famous entertainer and she discovers that John is indeed the boy she gave away five years prior. Now the relationship between the tramp and the boy is threatened by the mother who wants John back; a greedy man who wants a $1,000 reward for bringing the baby to the mother and the county orphanage who is still after the boy.
The 2nd DVD has so many extras and they're all excellent. I particularly liked the eye-opening and informative documentary "Chaplin Today" by Alain Bergala; "How to Make Movies" from 1918 where we see Chaplin building his studio; the color footage from 1971 of Chaplin conducting an orchestra for a new musical score for "The Kid;" the extra entitled "Nice and Friendly" with Jackie Coogan as well as Lord and Lady Mountbatten and "Charlie on the Ocean."
I highly recommend "The Kid" for any Chaplin fan; it is an equally good choice for people just discovering Chaplin's artistry simply because everything is so thoughtfully and tastefully done. People who appreciate silent film and classic comedies with elements of drama will not be disappointed.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I'll admit to having shed a few tears when watching the extremely tender and movie film, but I'm not ashamed for this film is one that should reach any fathers heart. I am new to the Chaplin fan club (as I made obvious within my review of `City Lights') and this film has got to be, not only my favorite Chaplin film, but one of my favorite films of all time. Honestly, it is one of the purest expressions of human love and devotion I've seen in a long time, and what makes the film so moving is that it never reaches the saccharine levels of sentiment that so many films feel the need to broach today. Instead, `The Kid' allows your heartstrings to swell from the realness of each and every scene, capturing the love between this man and boy with a natural and realistic (never forced) air.
`The Kid' tells the story of the Tramp who stumbles upon an abandoned baby, a young boy who is left by his mother who is not able to care for him. The Tramp, who is barely able to care for himself, feels sorry for you infant and decides to take him in. The film progresses forward to when the boy is a few years old and is living with the Tramp as father and son. The Tramp is very protective of the boy and very caring of him.
Then events take place that place their relationship in jeopardy when the authorities attempt to separate the two.
The film works brilliantly in creating an attachment with the audience, making us a part of the Tramp and kid's family, moving us to tears at the thought of their separation. The performances by both Chaplin and his `mini-me' Jackie Coogan are utterly fantastic, both of them completely convincing in their respective roles. Little Coogan is a perfect costar for Chaplin, matching him gag for gag, appearing natural and adorable in the process, and Chaplin is so invested in this character (tragic events involving the death of his own child most likely inspiring this very inspired performance) that he reaches the very pit of the audiences soul with his emotional connection. Edna Purviance also delivers a nice performance as the boy's mother who has a change of heart after she has made a name for herself and wishes to reconnect with her long lost son.
`The Kid' is one of those classic films that must be seen and admired by everyone. I don't see how anyone could find their heart not moved by the film and its emotional connective powers, for there are few films made that have the strength this one has. Chaplin was a masterful storyteller, and `The Kid' is truly one of his finest stories.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Kid is another one of Charlie Chaplin's great films. What you have to like about the Chaplin films is that they have both humor and morals. In this one, a baby is abandoned by his mother and, when she goes back to find the child when she has second thoughts, it is gone. The Tramp (Chaplin) stumbles upon the child, and, after initially trying to rid himself of the responsibility, decides to keep him after finding a note with a plea to take care of the child. Chaplin's antics are one again numerous in the film, especially as he tries to figure out how to raise a child. The film fast forwards 5 years to the young boy now adjusted to life with the Tramp. However, fates will cross, and the mother who once left a child will reenter the scene.
Chaplin has a way with making something so simple seem hilarious. Take the scene with his son fighting the bully, and then having the older bully's brother show up. Chaplin has a quality of personifying the underdog so much in these kinds of moments, and it makes it that much more entertaining to watch. There are also several scenes where Chaplin must outwit a police officer who is after him.
Although this is a short film, it is a fantastic sample of Chaplin's comedic genius. Even though I enjoyed City Lights and Modern Times more than The Kid , I still consider this film a gem that many modern films don't measure up to.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2006
Chaplin is a rare gem. I don't give five stars lightly, and I don't give them to praise old respected classics. Citizen Kane deserved less. A Buster Keaton silent film was nothing compared to Chaplin. He makes you laugh and cry. What more could you ask for in a movie?
There are some similarities to another Chaplin gem, City Lights. He liked to put comic boxing scenes in his movies. He also liked beautiful and loving women. And the cops are always bad guys giving the tramp a hard time.
The Kid, the title character, is very cute, and very well played by Jackie Coogan. He helps to make it a precious film, and I mean that only in a good sense.
I like happy endings too, and Chaplin is happy to oblige. But one thing I'd really like to see is the sequel to this one, to see how the lives of the three main characters develop.
This film is so far superior to almost every movie coming out today. And I'm not one to praise the old simply because it is old. If an old movie is terrible, I'll say so. But this movie right here is far superior to almost every movie in the theatres right now.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2013
The Kid (1921) was Charlie Chaplin`s first and most autobiographical feature film. Produced for First National, it fulfilled his ambition to move beyond shorts. Critics immediately hailed it as a masterpiece, but its reputation has since suffered due to its many flaws. Of course, no work of art is flawless and the film's status remains intact. It is, in many ways, a synthesis of Chaplin's previous work and the work which followed. Chaplin began filming shortly after losing his infant son with first child bride, Mildred Harris. The Kid is, in part, a fantasy about what might have been, which Chaplin wedded to his own bitter childhood memories. The film was also a blueprint for Chaplin's work process. He took his time filming, much to the chagrin of the studio, who applied considerable pressure on him to speed up the process.
It opens with Edna Purviance as a (single) woman "whose sin was motherhood." Chaplin, who was himself illegitimate, edits the image of the suffering woman with a shot of Christ carrying the cross. This is visual storytelling, of course, so Chaplin's not done with the manipulation yet. Our Scarlet Letter-styled heroine sees a couple coming out of a church. The bride, looking shell shocked, is all of about 16 years old. She drops a withered flower, symbolizing her loss of virginity. Her groom emerges, a white-bearded man who is at least 70. The minister and congregation bless the wedding. Edna, empathizing with the bride from afar, is accentuated with a halo round her head as she holds her bastard son. Within a few seconds, Chaplin takes his big swipe at hypocritical American piety, puritanism, and organized religion.
Edna sees an open limousine, darts in through its door (a device he reworked in 1931′s City Lights) and dumps her shame in the back seat, with a letter: "please love and care for this orphan child."
Now Chaplin has fun. Two robbers steal the car, find the squalling brat in the back seat, duck into an alley and dump him in a nearby trashcan. Cue the Tramp. He finds the bundle of joy and does everything imaginable to dispatch of it, including contemplating throwing the infant into a street grating. This vignette is, often, hilariously cold-blooded. Finally, the Tramp accepts his fate and unofficially adopts the Kid, christening him "John." The Tramp ingeniously turns a tea pot into a milk bottle and, with a pair of scissors, transforms an ordinary chair into a potty training seat. Meanwhile, the grief-stricken Edna has seen the error of her ways and will, henceforth, lead a life of charity.
Five years later, the infant is Jackie Coogan: the first and probably greatest child star actor in cinema history. The Kid is dressed in oversized clothes, a reflection of the Tramp. Daddy Tramp is teaching junior Tramp the fine art of swindling, which puts them under the radar of resident cop Tom Wilson. High octane slapstick follows.
Loss of mother, poverty, fear of the orphanage, and surreal amorous escapades are all movements in Chaplin's opus. The Tramps do get plenty of pancakes to eat with the money they swipe from gullible patrons. Little doubt this is fantasy from Chaplin's own destitute, half-starved London childhood.
John's fight with a bully neighborhood kid leads to a further fight between the bully's brother (Charles Reisner, in shoulder pads) and the Tramp. Edna, now a worldwide star (!) arrives to preach the gospel of turning the other cheek. Good news for Charlie that the bully listens, and the second that said bully gets soft, Charlie takes full advantage with a brick in his hand.
When the Kid gets sick, a visiting doctor discovers Edna's old letter and contacts the authorities. Orphan Control soon arrives and kinetic slapstick is masterfully blended with pathos. Coogan's acting is simply stunning. Only an ice cube would remain unaffected.
The Tramp flees to a flophouse and, again, the cruelty of poverty blended with inventive slapstick is nearly seamless. What follows has long been a source of controversy: the Heaven dream sequence. Having lost his child, the Tramp dreams of heaven. The Tramp gets his wings and, it turns out, heaven's not that different from the earthly realm. Temptation arrives in the form of 12-year old Lita Grey, whom Chaplin would marry and bitterly divorce in real life (Grey was the source of inspiration for Vladimir Nabakov's "Lolita"). Jealousy leads to a brawl and celestial murder. To some, it is an ill-fitting surreal sequence. Yet, it is an aesthetically potent bridge to the finale, which is, thankfully, a happy one.
The Kid is, indeed, awash in mawkish sentiment. However, fused with the fierceness of street survival, apathetic institution, and surrealistic hope, The Kid is a landmark in film as visual storytelling.