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Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid

  • Date Submitted: 06/19/2013 05:40 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 58.3 
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The Kid

The opening title card reads simply as “A comedy with a smile -- And perhaps a tear.” This aptly describes Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid. A movie that mixes a heart-warming & heart-breaking drama with an innovative comedy then sprinkle in a hefty portion of social commentary that reflects issues in America at the time and you get the formula that made The Kid a hit and a timeless classic (as most of Chaplin’s‘‘ greats). One that continues to captivate generations for its sincerity and comedic stylings that made Chaplin famous and one that just as of last month was added to the National Film Registry for future generations to enjoy. This film is a film of firsts it was Chaplin’s first feature length film as well as being regarded as the first “dramedy” film or at very least the first successful one. Being Charlie’s first attempt at a full-length film it is worth noting that he managed to surprisingly keep the movie feeling as vibrant as his shorts; a successful first endeavor.

The plot itself is one most would recognize and seems to be as old as cinema itself. That assumption however is accurate and the familiarity of the plot leads back to this very film. The story is one of a child without someone to care for it usually due to some tragedy; in this case abandonment at the hands of his unwed mother; then is left either through inheritance, adoption, or “happened upon” to be cared for by a stranger(s) that is completely unprepared to raise a child. This basic plot has in one way or another been retold in countless films and each decade can’t seem to go by without one rendition of this story arc. Baby Boom (1987), Big Daddy (1999), Martian Child (2007). This decade has already seen its decennial fared into this familiar tale rather early with the movie Life as We Know It (2010). In these films the caretaker along the way learns what it takes to be a parent and learns to love the child while at the same time overcoming obstacles that might keep them apart....

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