Charlie is an overworked labourer at a film studio who helps a young woman find work even while his coworkers strike against his tyrannical boss.

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(uncredited)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Eric Campbell ...
Goliath - a Stagehand
...
David - His Assistant
...
The Girl
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Storyline

Three movies are being shot simultaneously and Charlie is an overworked scene shifter. The foreman is waited on hand and foot until all the shifters but Charlie go on strike. A girl looking for work pretends to be a man and helps Charlie. Charlie discovers her gender and falls in love with her. The foreman thinks they are homosexual and in the ensuing fight they become involved in a long pie throwing scene from one of the movies in production. The frustrated workers dynamite the studio. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

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Genres:

Short | Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

13 November 1916 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Pride of Hollywood  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Trivia

This is one of the few films in which Charles Chaplin's character (David) gets a name other than "Charlie" or a description like "The Tramp". Only in his last sound films does he portray people with a full name. See more »

Connections

Featured in Star Power: The Creation of United Artists (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

On the Movie Set
31 July 2015 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

BEHIND THE SCREEN (Mutual Studios, 1916), Written and Directed by Charlie Chaplin, stars the legendary comedian with a new profession of employment, that of a stagehand at a movie set where everything goes wrong, thanks to you know who. Produced more in the Mack Sennett slapstick tradition where gags are essence over story, Chaplin's eighth comedy short for the Mutual Company does have enough comedy material to go around for its twenty minutes. Edna Purviance, Chaplin's most frequent co-star, returns, as does his most notable advisory, the giant size Eric Campbell, sans beard. For a change from their previous efforts, Chaplin and Campbell assume character names best describing their physical beings, David and Goliath. Though no such antics of David and Goliath can be found in the Bible, this is the Bible according to Chaplin.

The slight story set in a single day revolves around a stagehand named David (Charlie Chaplin), working as an assistant under Goliath (Eric Campbell). For the most part, David does all the work, ranging from carrying a dozen chairs at one time to moving heavy props while Goliath sits back, smoking his cigar, eating a dozen pies at once and getting credit for his partner's work. In fact, whenever David takes time to rest, he's accused of loafing by one of the bosses. After the workers go on strike for being awaken after having lunch, David and Goliath remain loyal to their jobs. Also in the studio is a young hopeful (Edna Purviance), wanting to become an actress. Unable to become one, she disguises herself as a carpenter instead. Further confusion arises as the strikers plot to disrupt film production, unaware that David is doing so in his own unintentional way.

BEHIND THE SCREEN is one of those little comedies that needs to be seen more than once to fully appreciate the material provided, ranging from running gags of falling through trap doors to pie throwing on the set. As usual, Chaplin and Campbell make a wonderful pair of opposites: Chaplin being a work slave; Campbell seated, relaxing, snoozing while "supervising." The lunch break sequence has Goliath eating his large assortment of pies while David sneaks in his bites from a fellow worker's (Albert Austin) meal. Although Chaplin has played "fag" on screen in other comedies, this time he passes on the big moment to Eric, and hilariously so, after mistaking Charlie's encounter with the "male" carpenter, Edna. Purviance, whose character in Mary Pickford-type appearance, is introduced in the very first scene asking a director, "Can I be an actress, please?" actually has little to do with the plot until the film's second half. The opening scenes belong to Charlie and Eric on their usual day of work on the movie set, with Charlie upsetting things as the director (Henry Bergman) attempts the impossible, getting his movie finished on schedule.

Music accompaniment differs from various prints from BEHIND THE SCREEN, ranging from piano, orchestration or no scoring at all. Most circulated copies that appeared on public television in the sixties and seventies consisted of ragtime music and sound effects lifted from 1930s reissues. Available on video cassette dating back to the 1980s, and later onto the DVD format, BEHIND THE SCREEN is also one of the many Chaplin short comedies that turns up occasionally on Turner Classic Movies (TCM premiere: December 6, 1999). Aside from the comedy interludes, BEHIND THE SCREEN offers a look back at movie directing back in the early days of motion picture making and the type of humor most commonly found that had audiences in 1916 roaring with laughter, forgetting what the plot is all about in the first place. Next Chaplin Mutual short: THE RINK (1916). (***)


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