Charles Chaplin

Scen., Mus.: Charles Chaplin. F.: Roland Totheroh. M.: Charles Chaplin, Roland Totheroh. Scgf.: Charles D. Hall. Int.: Charles Chaplin (il vagabondo), Edna Purviance (la madre), Jackie Coogan (il bambino), Tom Wilson (poliziotto), May White (sua moglie), Carl Miller (pittore), Henry Bergman (guardiano del dormitorio), Chuck Reisner (bullo), Lita Grey (angelo), Albert Austin (uomo nel dormitorio). Prod.: Charles Chaplin per First National. DCP. D.: 60’. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

We know everything about The Kid. For example, we know that when Chaplin risked losing the negative due to his pending divorce, he packed it off in twelve cases (with five hundred reels hidden in coffee cans) and took them to Salt Lake City. Once there, he and Rollie Totheroh edited the film in a hotel room using makeshift equipment, choosing from over two thousand sequences scattered on top of the beds, furniture and even in the bathroom.
We also know about Jackie Coogan. Aside from being Chaplin’s most magical co-star, he also sparked Chaplin’s imagination for The Kid: just a few minutes of seeing Coogan onstage at the Orpheum Theatre and Chaplin was already imagining the film’s key scenes and outlining its plot.
Last, we know, although we tend to forget it now that nearly a century has passed since its making, that The Kid, like all of Chaplin’s movies, was made ‘against and despite’.
Many advised him against venturing into the virtually unexplored terrain of a film that had to maintain a credible balance between farce, comedy and melodrama for almost an hour. Chaplin, however, took on the drama with confidence and honesty, mitigating farce with poetry, curbing sentimentality with pure comedy, and finding space for the surreal and oneiric. If it is true, as many critics believe, that Chaplin drew upon the humiliation of poverty and emotional scarring he experienced as a child, then perhaps there is no more sincere and authentic account of childhood than The Kid.

Cecilia Cenciarelli

Copy From

Restored by Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory. Original score composed by Charles Chaplin in association with Eric James, restored and adapted by Timothy Brock