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Charlie chaplin was already an international star when he decided to break out of the short-film format and make his first full-length feature.
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Assignment 04 – The Kid (1921)
Comedy and Drama
Charlie Chaplin’s career underwent many transitions and transformations, but none more important than the one marked by the making of The Kid. During his time at Mack Sennett’s Keystone Studios in 1914, Chaplin had moved from simply acting in films to directing them. In a few brief years, his movies grew from less than half an hour in length to an hour or more. Released in 1921, The Kid was Chaplin’s longest title to date.
Charlie Chaplin was already an international star when he decided to break out of the short-film format and make his first full-length feature. The Kid doesn’t merely show Chaplin at a turning point, when he proved that he was a serious film director—it remains an expressive masterwork of silent cinema. In it, he stars as his lovable Tramp character, this time raising an orphan (a remarkable young Jackie Coogan) he has rescued from the streets. Chaplin and Coogan make a miraculous pair in this nimble marriage of sentiment and slapstick, a film that is, as its opening title card states, “a picture with a smile—and perhaps, a tear.”
In a two page paper discuss this thought of “a smile – and perhaps a tear”. Genre is a way of classifying a film and in this case film historians consider it is both a Comedy and Drama. Out of these two choices, which do you think this film rests more squarely in. Give three examples from the film that support your argument. Remember – all short papers need a citation.
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