Charlie Chaplin – The Kid

This 1921 movie by Charlie Chaplin teamed him up with young Jackie Coogan. You may remember the adult Coogan as Uncle Fester on the Addams Family. It’s a great film with some classic scenes between Chaplin and Coogan. This was Chaplin’s first feature film. He was finishing up his First National contract as he co-founded United Artists with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith.

Image result for jackie coogan kid and adult

The Jackie Coogan and Chaplin…Jackie Coogan as Uncle Fester

The story starts off with a woman (Edna Purviance) that abandons her baby in the back of an expensive car hoping that the owners will give her baby a life that she can not. The car is then stolen and the baby is left on the street. The Tramp (Chaplin) finds the baby and takes it home and raises him. Five years pass and he loves the kid and together they have a great scheme going on.

The kid goes around throwing rocks through windows and out of nowhere later on comes The Tramp who would just so happen to have glass and materials with him to fix the window for a price.

The authorities soon find out that the Tramp is not the kid’s father. While this is going on the mother who is doing really well now is looking for her child. The Tramp and Kid are pursued and in this film, Chaplin had some serious and tender moments combining comedy with pathos which at the time was a turning point. The movie was considered a masterpiece when it was released.

One scene that jumps out is the scene where social services are physically taking the child away and Chaplin fights…not comically but really fights to keep the Kid.

The film was written, directed, produced and starred… Charlie Chaplin. Edna Purviance makes her last appearance acting with Chaplin. She would be directed by him one more time in a drama as a leading lady. This movie kicked off Coogan’s very successful child acting career.

Jackie Coogan would become a star in the twenties. He earned 3-4 million dollars acting and when he turned 21 in 1935 he thought he was set for life only to find out the money was gone. His mother and step-father spent all of his money on furs, jewelry, and cars. His mom said that Jackie enjoyed himself acting and no promises were ever made to give him any of the money. Jackie sued his mom in 1938 and only received 125,000 dollars of his money.

Coogan had financial problems for a long while and even went to Chaplin for help which Chaplin gladly gave him money.

One good thing came out of it. The “Coogan Act” which made parents set aside at least 15 percent of their child’s earnings to a trust fund.

If you get a chance this is a great short entertaining movie.



Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

25 thoughts on “Charlie Chaplin – The Kid”

  1. I’ve never seen more than brief clips of Chaplin, some day I’ll need to try to watch an entire one. Amazing the amount of money that was in that business, even back then.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was an artist…very talented man and his movies are in pristine condition…they look much better than an Andy Griffith show rerun.


    1. Thank you…I didn’t know Jackie Coogan lost that much money. How can a mother do that do their son? His dad died in a car wrreck a few months before Jackie found out about how much he lost.


      1. Greed. Desire to be with the “in crowd”. I had a social-climbing mother. She wanted to be married to a doctor and live on the west side of town with the Country Club crowd. What she got was a cop on the east side of town & the war was on.

        Money. The root of most evil.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That had to be bad…all for the wrong reasons.

        Yes it really is. Some of my relatives are like that. Money dictates their every move.


    2. I binged on Chaplin this weekend. Tomorrow I have something about a documentary about him called the Unkown Chaplin…it’s great.


      1. I’m not moderating. I’ll check spam.
        I have meant to review that movie. I liked it and I thought he did a great job. I saw it at the theater and when they showed the real Chaplin in Modern Times everyone in the theater got into it….
        Right before that movie was when I was highly into silent movies. Ordering vhs tapes out of magazines and watching them daily.


      2. Comedy works well with silent but dramas not as much. It’s funny that comedies were looked down upon back then…little did they know…those were the ones that would be remembered.

        Dialog… Quentin Tarantino movies have some of my favorite dialog bits.


      3. I suppose you don’t need dialogue (phone just caught the spelling) for visual gags.

        Tarantino. Hm. A lot of sarcasm, a lot of cursing and, overly dramatic, bloody deaths. He must have had a rough childhood.


      4. And he grew up on early 70s B movies and blaxploitation films…but yes I think he did have a rough childhood.


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