Filming The Kid
Many of Chaplin’s admirers regard The Kid as his most perfect and most personal film. Yet it seems to have been born out of a state of acute emotional turmoil in his private life.
In October 1918 Chaplin had compromised himself into a hasty marriage with a 17-year-old actress, Mildred Harris. The couple had little in common, and Chaplin’s personal boredom and frustration resulted in an acute creative block.
He later wrote : ‘I was at my wits’ end for an idea’. Mildred became pregnant and gave birth to a malformed boy, who died after only three days. Chaplin evidently suffered acute trauma from this loss. But the responses of the creative mind are unpredictable. Only ten days after his own child was buried, Chaplin was auditioning babies at his studio. Suddenly the creative block seemed overcome. He was absorbed and excited by a new plan for a story in which the Little Tramp would become surrogate father to an abandoned child. The film would be called The Waif.