The Kid

The Kid ★★★★

It's a rugged, filthy, hard-knock life for Charlie Chaplin's Tramp, who barely has the means to keep himself fed and under a roof at night, much less to provide for the abandoned infant he's just stumbled across in an alleyway. Circumstance has put the two together, though, and after using his wit to get through the child's early years, the Tramp's put him to work as part of a somewhat shady window replacement scheme. They aren't exactly living above the board, and the policeman always seems to stumble by at precisely the wrong moment, but they're happy and the care they have for one another shines bright. Chaplin, of course, was already an expert of pantomime at this stage of his career, but Jackie Coogan as the titular kid constantly steals scenes from the star with an expressive, densely emotional performance. A touching, inventive, effective blend of tenderness and madcap comedy that shows Chaplin's versatility as a star and as a writer/director, while getting in and out in a mere 53 minutes.

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