The Kid (Charlie Chaplin, 1921): USA
Reviewed by Tim Barnes. Viewed on DVD.
The Kid (1921) is one of Charlie Chaplins greatest films, and I say this knowing full well that I’ve only seen three of them. I probably laughed harder during this movie over anything else I’ve seen in ’09 ( I still haven’t seen The Hangover.)
Chaplin, who dons the infamous role of “the tramp”, is put in the strange situation of discovering and raising an orphan child. The sheer emotion involved with him and the kid as they struggle to stay afloat and stay together is so impelling that it makes the comic bits all the more enjoyable. This movie is seriously like The Bicycle Thief meets Duck Soup!
I came into it expecting pure zingers. Almost like a bugs bunny episode. Random situations for Charlie Chaplin to hilariously get out of. But the great thing about this movie, is that the slapstick moments have a function in terms of the plot.
I definitely recommend it for people (like me) who want to get a good taste of Chaplin. It’s not as grand as Modern Times, but it’s a very well crafted comedic piece. And the kid is so freaking adorable he totally steals the show!
Also, the dvd I watched had more upbeat music, compared the the composed orchestrated music in the same scenes that I’ve seen online. I wonder if this made a difference. It’s probably a big issue in the silent film world, and must be really hard to settle because they can’t hear each other. I’m pretty sure that at the time that these movies were first shown, there would be a piano player beneath the screen playing ragtime style music that wouldn’t have been so dramatic.. but who knows! I recomend finding some Scott Joplin or Jelly Roll Morton tunes to play over the amazing images on screen.