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The Kid (1921) - Plot Summary Poster

(1921)

Plot Summary

  • The opening title reads: "A comedy with a smile--and perhaps a tear". As she leaves the charity hospital and passes a church wedding, Edna deposits her new baby with a pleading note in a limousine and goes off to commit suicide. The limo is stolen by thieves who dump the baby by a garbage can. Charlie the Tramp finds the baby and makes a home for him. Five years later Edna has become an opera star but does charity work for slum youngsters in hope of finding her boy. A doctor called by Edna discovers the note with the truth about the Kid and reports it to the authorities who come to take him away from Charlie. Before he arrives at the Orphan Asylum Charlie steals him back and takes him to a flophouse. The proprietor reads of a reward for the Kid and takes him to Edna. Charlie is later awakened by a kind policeman who reunites him with the Kid at Edna's mansion.

    - Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>
  • A woman decides to abandon her baby in the backseat of an automobile with a handwritten note attached, beseeching the finder to care for and love the child. When the car is stolen by thieves, who discover the baby in the backseat, they subsequently leave him on the street. The child is discovered by the initially reluctant Tramp who eventually softens and comes to love him as his own. As the child grows up, both he and The Tramp must learn to navigate through a life that spawns one adventure after another.

    - Written by Kyle Perez
  • The unwed Mother (Purviance) leaves a charity hospital with her newborn child, disconsolately passes a church wedding, and leaves her baby in a limousine with a note. But car thieves hijack the limo and dump the baby in the garbage where he is discovered by a Tramp (Chaplin). The Tramp rescues the infant and takes him along to raise him. Five years pass. The Mother has become an opera star and does charity work in the hope of relocating her son. The Tramp has raised the kid to work a scam in tandem: the boy breaks windows by tossing rocks, and the tramp shows up immediately and offers to repair them for a fee. A doctor tips off the Mother, who has the authorities pick up the child, but the Tramp steals him back and a chase ensues. This was Chaplin's first six-reel feature; he had to hold it hostage to get the studio to pay him the 1-1/2 million he was entitled to when they tried to pay him for only a two-reeler. A 12-year-old girl named Lillita McMurray appears briefly in the film as a flirtatious angel; three years later she would become pregnant by the writer-director, and marry him at age 16.

  • The Tramp cares for an abandoned child, but events put that relationship in jeopardy.

    - Written by Kenneth Chisholm

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