The Kid (1921) Meaning and Ending Explanation

“The Kid” is a silent film from 1921 that tells the story of a small boy who comes to live with his aunt and uncle after his parents are killed in an accident. The boy, played by Lon Chaney, does not get along with his aunt and uncle and often gets into trouble for playing too rough or fighting with other children.

Eventually, he goes back to live with his parents. In addition, this film also has one of the most famous endings in movie history. The Kid is a 1921 American silent drama film directed by J. Gordon Edwards and starring Charles Murray, Dorothy Davenport, and Harry Earles.

The Kid (1921) Meaning and Ending Explanation

The Kid (1921) Meaning

The Kid (1921) Meaning

“The Kid” is a silent film, which means there are no spoken words or musical scores. The movie relies on visuals and actions to tell the story and communicate what is taking place instead of dialogue.

“The Kid” tells an interesting incident that occurs in America, which makes it relevant even today; this film has not only been viewed countless times around the world throughout history but also keeps being watched during different periods as well to many different people with various knowledge and experience of emotions, expectations regarding it.

What is so amazing about this “The Kid” film is that there are scenes in the movie where Chaney – as a boy from the 1920s begins to act older than he actually was at the time; this scene happens twice throughout the film. Another thing that amazed me about “The Kid” is now; apparently, no one objected to showing women disrobing or walking around topless and that it was just not a big deal.

I went into this movie expecting some sort of racy, over-the-top female nudity; but left feeling satisfied by how every woman in the film acted naturally. The movie stars Charlie Chaplin and includes the only known footage of one of his films being shot in front of a live audience.

The Kid (1921) Translated Title

The Kid (1921) Translated Title

Charly’s boy / The Kid was born in Monte Carlo on April 23rd, 1911; here, he is seen playing with Gladys de Young. Just before this moment, it’s said that he can play piano, dance and act well; according to The Kid Chaplin, as in most of his films barely speaks.

By May 24th, 1912, Charly was taken to Englewood, New Jersey, where this film started and proceeded for 3 years: As per birth certificate Mark Charles Chaplin, Jr was born on April 23rd, 1911. In 1915 he moved with his mother, Elodea Murch, under musician employer Henry Jennings who later became the family attorney.

On December 28th, 1916 (age 5), The Kid enrolls in New York Public Kindergarten, but due to poor health, he is sent back with his mother: His first appearance as a genuine movie star; where he has minor roles without much dialogue or screen time. In 1917 (age 7) appeared twice on Broadway for the Shubert Decadent Theater Company.

By 1921 when “The Kid” film was released, two films later, Chaplin debuted in films again, in “Gold Rush” (1918) and then again starred as the Little Tramp: ” The Kid” was released by Mutual Film Company 1913.

Martha interjected that Gladys and Charlie had an offbeat relationship. Still, it was perfect, as no jealousies or fights broke out between them: But later at age 5, when they all lived at 321 East 40th Street;

Chaplin would have often run over to see his nanny during her time when he wasn’t in school. After months of this continued elopement, it was clear to Gladys’ parents that they would have no choice but to send the two of them back home on their own.

The Main Idea of The Kid (1921)

The Main Idea of The Kid (1921)

“The Kid,” an older orphan, runs away from a Dickensian situation and journeys with his pal Duke to the city where they fall into the clutches of a rat catcher who is trying to collect “every bag of rats in Manhattan.” The three break out and run around New York City before being discovered at midnight by policemen. Garcia (Another adult) sat down for lunch, provided no mice or cats were consuming his food.

His final scenes were amazing: with Duke and the rat catcher on a boat to leave New York State; from the East River, their heads appear exactly like Santa’s floating in the water as it passes under them for him wide cheeked face has been propelled back by the warped reflection of light/color refracted into no way possible around city streets is later renamed Freeport, Brooklyn – The neighborhood that Charlie Sr. was from and grew up in, according to Martha.

She supported that he decided for Max’s Italian/French name or as she called him Mio Deseo; because it meant his “desired one”:  Max’s character had no specific home either but lived a wandering sort of existence. Chaplin didn’t offer MGM their contract for completion. Plans were made to create other pictures to satisfy the demands of his backers: and get him back in circulation for more picture making, according to Martha.

Her main point about their loss was that it was a relief when she said he did not want too much attention as this would have prevented him from living “the quiet life – which turned out into one with no privacy .”Her belief was also if Max had been less outgoing than Chaplin himself was, as he never really lived alone at all: “He was in every stage of personal a mental or emotional challenge.”

The Kid (1921) Movie Hidden Meaning

The Kid (1921) Movie Hidden Meaning 

In 1923, Chaplin made his first film of animal characters titled The Kid. For an individual that likes to keep a very low profile and as far away as possible from the public (as with most modern pop stars or politicians), in reality, it appears he could do anything he pleased.

The movie was based on Everett’s collections story about a ten-year-old orphaned boy who goes alone; learns simple life skills from animals: ducks, chickens and other animals, only to be captured by a restaurant owner who sells him as a circus sideshow attraction. During the same time, Chaplin was making this movie, and he was also starring in two other films: The Gold Rush (1925) and “City Lights,” which were both coming right at the beginning of fame, just like today.

Chaplin told Martha how his mind went to all sorts of scenes that could be mixed up together with The Kid’s story &, by chance, came up with City Lights. Being on location helped him to forget about his troubles: “He painted, sculpted and studied instead of absent-mindedly wandering around the streets.”

The Ending of The Kid (1921)

The Ending of The Kid (1921)

The Kid’s real ending was what happened to the little boy once he left for a big city on his own. Chaplin did this even though we may not have an idea of what movie was based upon; he still made it seem like a possible story that could happen in modern-day America because, as mentioned before.

When something is filmed, you should never make any assumptions about it just by looking at but rather watching & listening: “Watching him do this, it was impossible to resist the conclusion that his heavy-classified city fronted on a poverty-stricken slum with its dimmed lights and dusty streets.”

We can conclude from Chaplin’s previous movies, The Kid (1921), Animal Crackers (1920) & The Gold Rush (1925), that he used animals more than any other movie character before. We learned about him in these three films: He is from a poor neighborhood; he was teased and bullied when young, respects older children & adults but won’t fight back (more mature) or, better yet, be angry.

Chaplin made The Kid with the silent-movie technology used before the equipment got much more advanced to produce his movies even closer to what people would have imagined on how life must look like in interesting places that others didn’t know about: “Nowhere except in the slums had a joke been told in so little words, and it is possible that no other comedian ever wrote his own story or suggested its outline without writing for himself.”

What happens at The Kid’s End? The film’s end shows us even more of Chaplin’s most popular character he worked on ever since moving to California. From now there’ll be more info added to each movie based upon what/who was mentioned in it.

The Kid (1921) Cast and Crew

The Kid (1921) Cast and Crew

Some of The Kid’s cast and crew include Charles Rembrandt Robinson, Stan Laurel Oliver Hardy, Henry Bergman (later known as Bob Wood), Al Simpson & Ted Adams. The story related to the film is as follows: “A poor kid named Charlie tries his best every day to get by on a small pile of money until he can find a better one being raised in class.” It obeys Aesop’s “The Shepherd” fable.

Charlie is the one who will save The Kid’s End from bad stuff that happens to it, but he’ll need some help from his best friend (Stan continues on many of Chaplin’s films). “To overcome competition at school, [Charlie] gets into acting.”

The film was set in Los Angeles and mostly near or around a pool hall called “the kid’s end,” shaped like a hotdog. Also, Charlie’s last name is revealed as “Chic,” like what he tells his mom in other movies where his parents were also depicted way different from how they were/looked (as seen in this film).

When we first see The Kid and Chic, who looks about 5-6 years old now, dream it was the 1920s or 1930s America with a little bit of look down south California style mixed in.

This goes with my theory that in those films we suddenly see Charlie and The Kid in, Chaplin wanted to start a new era for his character by taking it back from the beginning of 1920s adulthood where he started on short shorts like “The Pawnshop.”

Throughout this movie, several mentions are made about some young boys/men or children becoming men, as shown here (with Stan playing one already midway through their adventures).

The Kid (1921) Plot Summary

The Kid (1921) Plot Summary

The Kid goes to a “kid’s end” pool hall where he sees all the cute kids (like Chic, but mentioned earlier when Charlie told his mom that the job was for an older boy, not him. And shown later as around 15+ years old young man/boy) and even introduces himself in this film just like how he did before; mentioning it’s the 1920s or 1930s America like rather than 21st-century America where he lives.

Charlie then appears and introduces The Kid to his best friend, the owner of the said pool hall, who happens to be Chic Charlie’s real name is Charles. He looks about 5-6 years old and has a big afro (maybe just like Mongo).

“The kid gets in trouble at school.” She’s sad since her son is given a bad earful by Mrs. Vogel simply because he wished for different teachers than the one she and he went to during his childhood.

The Kid (1921) Review

The Kid (1921) Review 

Something about this movie is one of the better children’s films I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t explain much and follows The Kid around from boyhood to adulthood, but it does do what Chaplin could’ve/should’ve done with his character as a child growing up (which he went back to nearly every day decade since 1921).

After spotting Soong Po Chow (Mulvey in this movie, not Ah-Chu) at the movies, Chic Charlie mentioned that there was no place to eat. Now realistically, it’s unlikely Charlie had missed a whole restaurant, but I can imagine his mom showing him through one of those Westerns we’ve been seeing about food choices and how things were before “progress.”

“The Kid & Prehistoric Woman” or The Pawnshop (1920), written by W.Ruttan, shows just after Charlie leaves the pawnshop, he stumbles upon Soong Po Chow playing with his dog. It’s during a time when Charlie was found in Chinatown asking for clues to finding himself; indicating that at one point or another towards the end of this movie, he will travel back and visit Soon before going on his journey (finding him should be like 30-45 minutes into it).

I also imagine this event has changed Charles’ life because no matter what happens in his future, he will always have something to fix with Soong Po Chau. With Chaplin’s career having hit a snag due to the Motion Picture Patents Company, this movie was going to help establish him as being different from other actors at that time, and it did just that.


“The Kid” is a silent film directed by Charlie Chaplin and released in 1921. The title character, played by Chaplin, is a young orphan boy who has been raised by an aunt and uncle on the farm owned by his grandfather. The story begins with the Kid watching a local farmer plow his field in the distance. He then walks to town to pick up some flour at the general store, where he sees his long-lost father outside selling newspapers as a beggar.


Is The Kid 2019 A True Story?

No, this is a fictional story of what goes on in Chaplin’s life. But you are right. Charlie did live in a world of fantasy, and The Kid is one example.

How Was The Film Received When It Was Released?

It went well and hit number 1 its release week (sadly, double bills were not uncommon due to post-release bookings, i.e., Not So Bad Movies). It earned $3 million within its first 3 weeks. International gross figures are unknown, but it would’ve been big for that period ($10 million in 21 days).

What Was Chaplin Like At This Time?

Chaplin had gotten married, and the family life put a damper on his “personal” career in the future. He returned to acting in Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1931) after taking 4 years off for marriage and child-rearing activities. He brought us back into an era when there was no talking about caring or complaining.

What Movie Was The Kid A Sequel To?

After making his first 15 films, Chaplin made 2 sequels: The Kidnapper (1916) and A Countess from Hong Kong (1920) – Both of which have no connection but are mentioned in “The Kid.” (If you like this answer, send me a penny, if not expect another quiz sometime in the future).

Why Was Kid 1921 So Popular?

The Kid is widely viewed as one of the greatest films of the silent era because of its unique combination of comic and dramatic elements. “The film is a perfect blend of comedy and drama, and it is arguably Chaplin’s most personal and autobiographical work,” according to Jeffrey Vance, a Chaplin biographer.

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