The Kid (1921)

Film and Plot Synopsis

The Kid begins as a single mother leaves a charity hospital with her newborn baby. As she passes a church wedding, she puts the child in a limousine with a note before walking away to kill herself. After some thieves steal the car, the Tramp finds the baby and makes a home for him. Five years pass, and the woman is not only still alive, but a famous opera star with hopes of finding the Kid she gave up. After a doctor finds the Kid living with the Tramp and her note, he reports his findings to authorities. His men remove the Kid from the Tramp’s home to take him to the Orphan Asylum. Will the Tramp or the Woman ever find the Kid again?

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The Kid (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

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‘The Kid’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
The Kid (1921)“A comedy with a smile, and perhaps a tear…”

Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid is a silent movie masterpiece. An unwed Mother (Edna Purviance) leaves her baby in an expensive car with a note. The car is stolen and the thieves, upon discovering the infant in the car, leave him in the street and take off.

On his daily “promenade” the Little Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) discovers the child in need. At first he tries to dump the kid (Jackie Coogan) on someone else, but eventually gives in and raises the child. They don’t have material things, but they have a home full of love and humor.

Flash forward several years, the Tramp and his ward have a racket where the kids breaks windows and the Tramp offers his services to fix them. Meanwhile, the baby’s mother has become a celebrity. While doing charity work, she holds a baby and wistfully remembers the child she gave up when she was down and out.

She also unknowingly gives toys to her long-lost son. The Kid gets into a fight with a much bigger kid when these new toys are stolen and stands up well for himself. The Tramp doesn’t do as well when the younger bully’s brother comes after him.

The Mother has contact with her true son and calls a doctor when she finds him ill. The authorities come for the child and in one of the most memorable film scenes I have ever seen, a devastated Kid is taken away from the Tramp. The Tramp steals the Kid back and they hide out.

The Kid is discovered and turned over to his Mother for a reward. The Tramp has a strange dream sequence where he and the Kid are Angels surrounded by Demons. When he wakes he is taken to the Kid and his Mother at her upscale home. I believe that they all live happily ever after.

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First National Pictures released The Kid on February 6, 1921. Charlie Chaplin directed the film starring Charlie Chaplin, Edna Purviance, and Jackie Coogan.

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    1. Yep! This might be her favorite of the Chaplin films. It looks amazing on the restored 4k Criterion version.

        1. Yes, I joined that one and Patrick and I recorded a Criterion review for it as well.

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