Wednesday 17 October 2012

Charlie Chaplin's THE KID (1921)

For me, Charlie Chaplin's 'THE KID' is one of the very first truly watchable films. I know-I know, there were great films before it, BUT --- 'The Kid' is the one that I would show to anybody, knowing that, with a bit of concentration and attention -- they could have a hugely enjoyable time.

52 minutes of joy, hilarity, and heartbreak. Chaplin could tell more of a story in one image than most filmmakers can tell today in five sequels.

I love its simplicity. And I see the film's influence in nearly everything that has come since. Remember that scene in 'Annie Hall' with the lobsters? Or the scene in 'Kramer Vs Kramer' when Dustin and the kid are cooking French Toast? Those scenes are Grandchildren of the scenes in Chaplin's film. At the beginning, The Tramp is struggling to look after the little boy--- making his food, keeping him fed. Then twenty minutes later in the movie; the boy is making pancakes as The Tramp sits in bed -- it's a wonderful role reversal, and it tells us so much about the characters.

The connection between Charlie's 'The Tramp' and the kid; has anything in cinema ever been more beautifully life-affirming?

The film was such a personal one for Chaplin. Set in the Poverty-filled world he grew up in, it's a film about the human spirit; about the people that shape us as children. The film is about the same thing all of Chaplin's films were about, love. But this film wasn't about him chasing a pretty girl; it was about being a Father. Being responsible for someone else.

The sadness of when the kid gets taken away by the social services, is still one of the most emotional moments in the history of cinema. When the boy is on the back of the vehicle, screaming out for Charlie -- it's still painful to watch.

But let's not forget, this is one of the funniest films ever! It's approaching a hundred years old, yet still it's one of the most innovative films I've ever seen. And I mean that based on watching it again now. The jokes are still fresh! Chaplin's work was so ahead of its time, so unique, and so perfectly crafted that it's utterly inimitable. Like when he keeps dumping the baby but the police repeatedly show up, or how he turns his bed sheets into clothing, or when he's hiding the kid from the guard at the shelter --- genius.

This film is so poignant.

If you haven't seen it already, please do. I'm not one to demand everyone go and watch every classic film ever made. As important as 'Citizen Kane' might be, for so many, it's a snorefest. But 'The Kid' is, I genuinely believe, one of the most watchable and entertaining films of all time. And you can see the whole movie now on YouTube. It's only 52 minutes.

Charlie Chaplin is, above everyone else in the history of cinema; my absolute hero.

You can watch the whole movie below:

Today I am running a blogathon; where I have asked numerous bloggers to share their thoughts on 'The Kid'. I will be sharing their posts throughout the day on the Facebook Page and on Twitter

Care to share?

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