Masterpieces of World Cinema – The Kid

A few blessedly good movies never lose their charm.

The passage of time only extends their allure and appeal to a new generation of movie buffs.

Last night I watched Charlie Chaplin’s first full length film The Kid (six reels and 52:30 minutes long), made 93 years ago and released in 1921.

The Kid is available for streaming on HuluPlus as part of the Criterion Collection of classic films ($7.99 monthly subscription required). Fortunately, with the Kid I was not subject to the usual barrage of ads that has ruined the HuluPlus experience for me and made the service seem like a mighty big ripoff.

Besides writing, directing and producing the film, Chaplin also composed the music and acted in it.

As is to be expected from movies of that far-off era, The Kid is a silent film.

The Kid features Charlie Chaplin as, what else, a tramp; Jackie Coogan plays the kid and Edna Purviance is the mother/film star.

Beautiful Film

The Kid is a remarkable film, one of those rare movies that has delighted hundreds of millions over 90 plus years.

After the Kid is abandoned by the Woman, a series of circumstances lands the kid into the tramp’s hands.

Like all great movies, The Kid is a clever amalgam that raises many emotions to the surface.

There’s, of course, the comedy aspect with Chaplin playing the impoverished tramp living by his wits.

The eponymous Kid is his sidekick and accomplice in minor crime.

The beauty of the Kid is that no single emotion dominates.

The comedy is balanced by the pathos of the poor, desperate, unwed mother compelled to forsake her baby; the miserable circumstances of the tramp and kid’s lives is balanced by their enormous love for each other.

The cruel indifference of the woman’s lover and her initial straitened circumstances is complemented by her later success as a film star.

Then there’s the cold-blooded bureaucracy of the orphan asylum and, finally, the greed of the flophouse owner followed by a happy ending.

Love, comedy, pathos, indifference, greed and happiness, the reigning emotions of the human condition.

Chaplin and Jackie Coogan are the anchors of the film.

Coogan was six-years old when the film was made.

Boy, what a delightful performance the adorable little imp delivers.

Chaplin is a master worthy of all the homage he has received.

It’s astonishing that despite wearing multiple hats (writer, director, producer, actor and composer), Chaplin falters not one whit in one aspect.

I felt no loss over the absence of spoken words. The delightful music is more than adequate compensation and so in tune with the movie.

If I had any grouse about the film, it’d be the Dreamland scenes. Perhaps, Chaplin wanted to highlight the base, wretched emotions underlying the human condition.

The Kid is a movie for all ages and all time.

I bet 100 years from now, movie buffs will delight in this gem as much as countless millions have since 1921. enthusiastically recommends you schmucks set aside 52-minutes from your worthless, wretched lives to watch this gem, The Kid.

7 Responses to "Masterpieces of World Cinema – The Kid"

  1. boopalanj   December 10, 2013 at 1:23 pm


    I’ve a Chaplin’s collections DVD that should have this movie, will check it out this weekend.

    I have watched – City Lights, Modern Times, The Great dictator and The circus. Even after 70+ years after the time those movies were made, all Indian”woods” could never come close and this statement will remain intact even after another 100 years. To quote an example, the Oscar nominated “Barfi” had scenes blatantly lifted from the Circus and City Lights. City Lights will simply make the love-obsessed Indian cinema and directors look foolish.

    I remember you had launched a series of reviews for Movies of Vijay. If you considered for a moment and went on to review Chaplin’s movies instead of Vijay’s ones, you would have had a healthier mind and a longer lifespan.

    You cannot miss the first three of the aforementioned movies. Responds:

    The Kid is a great drama that most people will relish.

    To the extent possible, I intend to highlight one world classic a day for the next two months.

    I’ll try to watch Circus tonight!

    • boopalanj   December 10, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      Just to give you a glimpse,

      City Lights – is a romantic comedy, it was ranked as one of the greatest films by AFI in “100 years..100 Movies” list. A reason why I watched it.

      Modern Times – is a comedy that depicts effects of industrialization and,

      The Great Dictator – as you might know already, parodied Adolf Hitler under the name of Adenoid Hynkel 🙂 As of what I remember, there is even a scene which portrays Mussolini. Today, Kollywood actors will not even touch a subject that goes against politicians / leaders after witnessing what happened to “Courageous-on-screen-Cowardly-otherwise” actors Kamal / Vijay. Responds:

      I have access to all of them via convenient streaming.

      Intend to watch and review soon!

      Modern Times – Second impact is being felt on labor via the proliferation of the Internet.

  2. vjcool   December 10, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    Chaplin and Buster Keaton are lovely. Great dictator has speech, not just music.

  3. sam   December 11, 2013 at 5:13 am

    Homosexuality is a crime: Supreme Court Responds:

    So the Indian Supreme Court has buggered Gay Rights!

    Things will get worse for LGBTs (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transvestites) if BJP comes to power!

    • sam   December 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm


      Whats your take? Is it a just a normal behaviour or something abnormal? Responds:

      Which holes consenting adults want to use for their self-gratification or pleasure is entirely up to them.

      I do not consider LGBTs (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transvestites) deviant in the smallest degree!

      I’m for full rights and benefits to LGBTs and their partners (rights like marriage, divorce, pensions, healthcare etc).

      • sam   December 11, 2013 at 11:00 pm

        In US these issues wont come up as big because public has recognized them as normal individuals with their share of happiness, sorrow etc., but in India, public still look upon them as taboo, perverted. Moreover, politicians here, will use this issue merely as a tool to broaden their vote share. Yesterday hullaballo on TV whole day about this.

        I am sure that the politicians must be going through the statistics now to find out whether they form a potential voter base, If yes, they would come forward and criticize the judgement, otherwise, they would care zilch about this. Responds:

        1. As you say, the anti-gay sentiment is a combination of both people’s attitudes and the opportunistic political leaders.

        2. You Write: In US these issues wont come up as big because public has recognized them as normal individuals with their share of happiness, sorrow etc.,

        Not completely true.

        Even in the U.S., gays still face discrimination and hurdles, particularly from the Christian Right and the Republican Party.

        But things are far better in the U.S. for the LGBTs.

        We have gay parades, gay bars (in big cities like NYC, Philadelphia etc), gay music, gay cinema, gay magazines/publications etc.

      • kage_11   December 12, 2013 at 4:39 am

        @ SI: I’m for full rights and benefits to LGBTs and their partners (rights like marriage, divorce, pensions, healthcare etc).

        It is against nature’s will.

        If your ancestors had thought of the same, then the great SI blog would not be here to enlighten us all.. 😉 Responds:

        You write: It is against nature’s will.

        All of us are entitled to our beliefs but not entitled to impose them on others.

        That said, I also believe homosexual behavior is largely a function of body chemistry/genes.

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