68. The Kid (1921)

First National 1918-23

Film still for The Kid


Edna, a young woman 'whose sin was motherhood' leaves a charity hospital with her newborn child. She leaves the baby in the back of a limousine but the car is stolen and the baby is ejected by the thieves in a slum area.

Charlie, wandering around avoiding the rubbish being thrown from above, finds the child. He looks skyward to see where the baby has come from and attempts to palm the bundle off on various people before reading the sad little note asking the reader to care for the orphan. Edna meanwhile has repented of her action and returns to where she left the baby only to find it gone. Charlie improvises childcare in his shabby attic with a hammock, and uses an upended coffee pot for a bottle.

Five years later the Kid is helping Charlie on his rounds by breaking windows which Charlie, now a glazier, can repair. The child affects the greatest innocence when he runs into a policeman. They run across Edna, now a famous theatrical star distributing toys and food to children. She gives the Kid a toy dog and an apple. Back at home the Kid cooks flapjacks for their dinner while Charlie reads the police gazette. He instructs the child in correct etiquette, eating only with the blunt side of the knife. Later the Kid has his toy dog stolen by a bigger kid and they fight. Charlie leaps to his defence but seeing he is winning begins giving him fighting tips just as the bigger kid's much bigger brother comes into view. The huge man encourages his brother to fight saying that if he loses he will thump Charlie. Charlie tries to get the Kid to throw the fight to no avail and a chase ensues. Edna arrives and breaks up the fight telling Charlie to turn the other cheek. Charlie knocks the big man out with a brick.

Edna, with the Kid in her arms, realises the child is ill and calls a doctor. The doctor is no good but asks Charlie if he is the father. Charlie shows him the note left with the infant. As the Kid recovers an orphanage van arrives to take the Kid away. The Kid is taken from him forcibly and shoved onto the wagon. Charlie disentangles himself from the official and takes to the rooftops to follow the van. He drops on to it, wrestles with the official and takes back the Kid. Reunited, the pair go to a flophouse, while Edna, visiting Charlie's home to see the Kid, sees the note that she left with her baby all those years ago. An advertisement is placed in the paper for $1000 for information about the Kid. In the flophouse the owner spots the Kid, steals the child away in the night and hands him over to the police for the reward.

Charlie, finding the Kid gone, searches the streets frantically. At dawn Edna collects the child from the station and Charlie falls asleep exhausted on his own doorstep. He dreams the run down street is Paradise, where all its residents including dogs have angelic wings. The Kid is there and wakes Charlie. All is well until devils sneak their way in and a girl is sent to vamp Charlie. Her boyfriend, the large bully, arrives on the scene and very soon his angelic spirit turns to a jealous rage and he pursues Charlie around the street. Charlie flies away but is shot down and landing on his own doorstep again is shaken awake by a real policeman. He is nervous as he is taken off by car but when he arrives at a mansion he is greeted by Edna and the Kid and they enter together.


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 (Policeman's Wife)
Tom Wilson (Policeman)
Henry Bergman (Art agent and Night Shelter Keeper)
Charles Riesner (Bully)
Raymond Lee (His Kid Brother)
Lillita MacMurray (Lita Grey) (Flirtatious Angel)
Edith Wilson (Lady With Pram)
Baby Wilson (Baby in Pram)
Nellie Bly Baker (Slum Nurse)
Albert Austin (Man in Shelter)
Jack Coogan Sr (Pickpocket and Guest and Devil)
Edgar Sherrod (Priest)
Beulah Bains (Bride)
Robert Dunbar (Bridegroom)
Kitty Bradbury (Bride's Mother)
Rupert Franklin (Bride's Father)
Flora Howard (Bridesmaid)
Elsie Sindora (Bridesmaid)
Walter Lynch (Tough Cop)
Dan Dillon (Bum)
Jules Hanft (Physician)
Silas Wilcox (Cop)
Kathleen Kay (Maid)
Minnie Stearns (Fierce Woman)
Frank Campeau (Welfare Officer)
F. Blinn (His Assistant)
John McKinnon (Chief of Police)
Elsie Young, V. Madison, Evans Quirk, Bliss Chevalier, Grace Keller, Irene Jennings, Florette Faulkner, Martha Hall, Estelle Cook, J. B. Russell, Lillian Crane, Sarah Kernan, Philip D'Oench, Charles I. Pierce
(Extras in Wedding Scene)
Elsie Codd [Chaplin's English publicity representative], Mother Vinot [studio sewing lady], Louise Hathaway, Amada Yanez and Baby (Extras in Alley Scene)
Clyde McAtee, Frank Hale, Ed Hunt, Rupert Franklin, Frances Cochran, George Sheldon (Extras in Reception Scene)
Sadie Gordon, Laura Pollard, L. Parker, Ethel O'Neil, L. Jenks, Esther Ralston, Henry Roser (Extras in Heaven Scene)
Production started:
21 July 1919
Production finished:
30 July 1920
6 February 1921
5250 ft