Slapstick funny and sentimental, in equal doses […]. A fairly good film. – Dennis Schwartz*
Jackie Coogan, at 7, became a world celebrity, honoured by princes, presidents and the Pope himself when he embarked on a European tour. He enjoyed a brief film career as a child actor, but, as Hollywood wits declared, «senility hit him at 13 years old». As a young adult he found himself penniless: his mother and step-father had mismanaged his childhood earnings, and what little money was left was eaten up in legal battles.
The one good outcome was that Jackie’s much publicised problems led to the introduction of a law to give financial protection to child performers: into this day it is known as «The Coogan Act». In later life, Jackie, once the most beautiful child in the world, achieved very different new fame as the nastiest of old men, Uncle Fester in TV series The Addams Family.
All this though was still hidden in the far-off future in 1921, when The Kid gave Chaplin the only true co-star of his career, and brought both Chaplin and the child to an unparalleled peak of world fame and affection. – David Robinson*