The Kid (1921)

14 Jun

Chaplin – or I should say a Chaplin film seen through modern eyes – is occasionally a little…you know…gooey with sentiment. Some are guiltier than others, but times change, and anyone who’s ever attempted to deal with the comic parts of Shakespeare can attest, comedy ages in complicated ways. The twentieth century moved faster than most.

Chaplin, Charlie (Kid, TheThe Kid (on TCM Sunday, June 16 at 12:30 am as part of the usual Silent Sundays) could be one of those movies. Should be one of those movies. For crying out loud, a pauper adopts an abandoned child (for whom the child’s suddenly wealthy mother pines) – very much the stuff of Victorian melodrama.

But by golly. It works. Considering the kind of maudlin excesses it would be easy for it to indulge in, it’s plumb restrained. Relatively, of course. But still. Watched in the right spirit, it’s both moving and funny, is in fact one of the few comedies the National Film Registry has seen fit to honor with preservation.


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