The Kid


Film: Review

Classic Movie (1921).   Cast | Crew | Making | Charlie Chaplin | The Kid Video On Demand: Rent or Buy | Search Site

"All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl."
- Charlie Chaplin


t h e   k i d  c a s t  ]

  • Charles Chaplin .... Tramp
  • Edna Purviance .... Mother
  • Jackie Coogan .... The Kid
  • Baby Hathaway .... The Kid as a baby
  • Carl Miller .... Artist
  • Granville Redmond .... His friend
  • May White .... Edna's maid
  • Tom Wilson .... Policeman
  • Henry Bergman .... Night shelter keeper
  • Charles Reisner .... Bully
  • Raymond Lee .... His kid brother
  • Lita Grey .... Flirtatious Angel (as Lillita McMurray)
  • Edith Wilson .... Lady with baby carriage
  • Baby Wilson .... Baby in carriage
  • Nellie Bly Baker .... Slum nurse
  • Albert Austin .... Man in shelter
  • Jack Coogan Sr. .... Pickpocket/Guest/Devil
  • Edgar Sherrod .... Priest
  • Beulah Bains .... Bride
  • Robert Dunbar .... Bridegroom
  • Kitty Bradbury .... Bride's mother
  • Rupert Franklin .... Bride's father/Extra in reception scene
  • Flora Howard .... Bridesmaid
  • Elsie Sindora .... Bridesmaid
  • Walter Lynch .... Tough cop
  • Dan Dillon .... Bum
  • Jules Hanft .... Physician
  • S.D. Wilcox .... Cop
  • Kathleen Kay .... Maid
  • Minnie Stearns .... Fierce woman
  • Frank Campeau .... Welfare officer
  • F. Blinn .... His assistant
  • John McKinnon .... Chief of Police

    rest of cast listed alphabetically

  • Bliss Chevalier .... Extra in wedding scene (uncredited)
  • Frances Cochran .... Extra in reception scene (uncredited)
  • Elsie Codd .... Extra in alley scene (uncredited)
  • Estelle Cook .... Extra in wedding scene (uncredited)
  • Lillian Crane .... Extra in wedding scene (uncredited)
  • Philip D'Oench .... Extra in wedding scene (uncredited)
  • Florette Faulkner .... Extra in wedding scene (uncredited)
  • Sadie Gordon .... Extra in heaven scene (uncredited)
  • Frank Hale .... Extra in reception scene (uncredited)
  • Martha Hall .... Extra in wedding scene (uncredited)
  • Louise Hathaway .... Extra in alley scene (uncredited)
  • Ed Hunt .... Extra in reception scene (uncredited)
  • Lulu Jenks .... Extra in heaven scene (uncredited)
  • Irene Jennings .... Extra in wedding scene (uncredited)
  • Grace Keller .... Extra in wedding scene (uncredited)
  • Sarah Kernan .... Extra in wedding scene (uncredited)
  • V. Madison .... Extra in wedding scene (uncredited)
  • Clyde McAtee .... Extra in reception scene (uncredited)
  • Ethel O'Neil .... Extra in heaven scene (uncredited)
  • Lew Parker .... Extra in heaven scene (uncredited)
  • Charles I. Pierce .... Extra in wedding scene (uncredited)
  • Laura Pollard .... Extra in heaven scene (uncredited)
  • Evans Quirk .... Extra in wedding scene (uncredited)
  • Esther Ralston .... Extra in heaven scene (uncredited)
  • Henry Roser .... Extra in heaven scene (uncredited)
  • J.B. Russell .... Extra in wedding scene (uncredited)
  • George V. Sheldon .... Extra in reception scene (uncredited)
  • Mother Vinot .... Extra in alley scene (uncredited)
  • Amanda Yanez .... Extra in alley scene (uncredited)
  • Baby Yanez .... Extra in alley scene (uncredited)
  • Elsie Young .... Extra in wedding scene (uncredited)

    The Kid


    t h e   k i d  c r e w  ]

    Produced by:

  • Charles Chaplin .... producer

    Original Music by:

  • Charles Chaplin (composed in 1971)

    Non-Original Music by:

  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (from "Symphony No.6 'Pathetique'") (uncredited)

    Cinematography by:

  • Roland Totheroh (as R.H. Totheroh)

    Art Direction by:

  • Charles D. Hall

    Second Unit Director or Assistant Director:

  • Frank Powolny .... assistant director

    Other crew:

  • Charles Reisner .... assistant: Mr. Chaplin
  • Charles Reisner .... associate director
  • Eric Rogers .... musical director
  • Eric Rogers .... orchestrator
  • Jack Wilson .... second camera operator

    The Kid


    After the triumph of Shoulder Arms (1918) Chaplin made Sunnyside (1919) which was a comparative failure. In 1919 with his marriage to Mildred Harris already showing signs of strain, he was at a crisis of self doubt. He relates in his autobiography that he would go to his studio day after day, along with his stock company of actors in the hope of inspiration that never came.

    Just when he had despaired of finding a new idea, he went to the Orpheum Music Hall where Jack Coogan was appearing in his eccentric dancing act. Jackie made a brief appearance along with him, and Chaplin was so engaged by the little boy's personality and way with an audience that he promptly began thinking up a scenario that would team up the child and the tramp. Jack Coogan had just signed a new short term contract with Fatty Arbuckle but the child was still free and Chaplin quickly hired him; as he recalls in his autobiography the father's words were 'Why of course you can have the little punk'

    Jackie Coogan played Chaplin's younger son in A Day's Pleasure (1919) as a preliminary to his major role in The Kid. Chaplin found the child a natural performer and quick learner. Chaplin said:

    'There were a few basic rules to learn in pantomime and Jackie very soon mastered them. He could apply emotion to the action and action to the emotion , and could repeat it time and again without losing the effect of spontaneity.'

    The very real affection that grew up between Chaplin and Jackie is quite evident in The Kid. According to Chaplin, the poignant scene where Jackie cries real tears as the orphanage men are taking him away was achieved by the simple ruse of Jackie's father threatening that if he did not cry then he would be taken away from the studio to the real workhouse.


    The film opened with a title 'A Picture with a Mmile - Perhaps a Tear.' Although previous Chaplin films had introduced sentiment and pathos, this was the first time that anyone had risked mingling a highly dramatic near-tragic story with comedy and farce.

    The film was also much longer - six reels or 88 minutes at silent running speed - than any he had previously made. With his customary care (the one minute scene of Charlie and Jackie's pancake breakfast is said to have taken two weeks and 50000 feet of negative to achieve), his shooting schedule was long and costly. The sum of $500,000 which he claimed to have invested was enormous for a comedy at that date.

    It was completed under extreme diffiulties. Mildred Harris was in the process of divorcing him by the time he was editing. Fearing that her lawyers might try to seize the film, Chaplin smuggled 500 reels of film to Salt Lake City where the picture was cut in a hotel room with only a small elamentary cutting machine on which to view the material. Even when a preview was arranged at the local movie theatre, Chaplin had still not seen the finished picture on a screen.


    His inevitable apprehensions proved unfounded; from his very first screening, audiences responded very wholeheartedly to the film, accepting totally the mixture of moods from high sentiment to low comedy.

    Critics were not all so convinced. The playwright J.M Barrie was among those who found the dream sequence out of place, which perhaps it is, though it is delightful with its slum angels (one of whom was , by chance, Chaplin's future wife,Lita Grey). Others were rather stuffy about vulgarities such as Charlie's investigation of the foundlings sex, a joke about the child's dampness and the conseuent devising of toilet facilities. Today such endearingly truthful touches have ceased to shock. The sentimental elements are more alien to modern audience's; and when, almost half a century later, Chaplin reissued the film with new music of his own composition he trimmed some shots that he felt would be unacceptable to a new public. He need hardly have worried. The film, his comic invention and Jackie Coogan's remarkable performance have lost none of their power - it is one of the most durable of all silent movies.


    The Kid made Jackie Coogan a star and world-wide celebrity. His trip to Europe,when he was received by the Pope, monarchs and presidents, was a royal progress. He went on to a highly profitable film career,playing such classic juvenile roles as the leads in Peck's Bad Boy (1921) and Oliver Twist (1922).

    His beloved father, however was killed in a road accident; and when with adolescence and manhood he found his star waning, his mother and stepfather withheld his earnings from him. Most of what remained was lost in lawsuits. This case had permanent results in the California legislation known as 'The Coogan Act' to secure half of the earnings of minors for their own future use. In later years Coogan with no trace of his cute baby looks, made occasional film appearances; and on television played the grotesque Uncle Fester in The Addams Family.

    L I N K S


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