The most Dickensian of Chaplin’s features (1921), with a Victorian street atmosphere and a sentimentality to match. Still, the scene in which Charlie searches the poorhouses for his lost boy (Jackie Coogan) is powerfully moving; I have never known a silent film to speak quite so clearly as in Chaplin’s mimed call of “Kid! Kid!” It was Chaplin’s first full-length film, and the action is perhaps too episodic; he hadn’t yet mastered the structural demands of the long form. But several of the episodes—Charlie and Coogan in the plate-glass business, the poor boy’s dream of heaven, which comes out nicely tattered and tacky—are sublime. With Edna Purviance and Lita Grey.
NR • 1 hour 8 min • 1921