Chaplin's first self-directed film concerns the tender relationship between a good-hearted Tramp (Chaplin) and his adopted son (Coogan), whom he discovers as a squalling baby left in the back of a millionaire's limousine by an unwed mother (Purviance). When welfare officials try to separate the two upon discovering the kid's orphan status, they go on the lam.
Chaplin drew on his own sketchy childhood for this poignant Dickensian story of love and pennilessness, still one of the director's finest artistic expressions. Chaplin found his pint-size costar Coogan on the vaudeville circuit and turned him into a big-time child star, practically overnight. Despite being Chaplin's maiden full-length feature and a testing ground of sorts, "The Kid" radiates Chaplin's bigness of heart and consummate skill for wacky, exhaustingly choreographed physical comedy.