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Behind the Screen (1916)

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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

13 November 1916 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Pride of Hollywood  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

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

Referenced in Unknown Chaplin (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent Short - Plenty of Good Slapstick, & Much More
20 August 2001 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

"Behind the Screen" is an excellent Charlie Chaplin short feature, with plenty of good slapstick and much more. The setting, with Charlie working as a hired hand in a movie-making operation, lends itself to a lot of good comedy, and there are plenty of standard gags plus a lot of material that creatively uses the props and situations of the setting. It also works very well as a self-satire of the industry (as suggested by the title), making some subtle and other not so subtle points. Finally, there is some nice interplay between Charlie's character and his superiors, especially his burly, brutish immediate supervisor, played by Eric Campbell, an amusing actor who was one of Chaplin's best supporting players.

Most of these earlier Chaplin films (referring to 1914-1916, the years when he made the majority of his short features, making ten or more each year) do not get very high ratings. It's true that some of them are mostly routine slapstick, but there are also a few gems like this one that combine slapstick with substance. Most of the movies from these years can be rather hard to watch, because the film often survives in poor condition, and so it's understandable that even the best ones might not always stand out as clearly from the rest. But this one is a fine film, and definitely recommended for Chaplin fans.


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