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Behind the Screen (1916)

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Reviews: 16 user | 6 critic

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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Title: Behind the Screen (1916)

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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

strike | dynamite | boss | pie | film studio | See more »


Short | Comedy | Romance


TV-G | See all certifications »




Release Date:

13 November 1916 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Pride of Hollywood  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This is one of the few films in which 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 »


Featured in Chaplin's Goliath (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

Well designed routines with an unnecessary romantic element
30 December 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

David is an assistant to stagehand Goliath in a movie studio. A young woman wanting to be an actress sneaks into the studio dressed as a boy but David discovers her. However he has enough problems with a lazy boss and an aptitude for causing trouble.

I suggest that this short has a plot but in reality the whole girl disguised as boy thing just appears to be in there to allow Chaplin to get a sneaking kiss from Purviance! However what is in the film is plenty of very funny routines including a trap door, a falling pillar and the traditional custard pie fight. These are all very funny and well designed. In fact at the time of production Chaplin took so long over each scene that Mutual Films had to apologise to it's exhibiters for the delay in release.

Chaplin himself is good as the put upon little man who gets up to mischief and the rest are basically fall guys who overact really well as you need to do in a short. Like I said, why Purviance was in this for is anyone's guess – contractual reasons? Chaplin's choice?

Despite this it is very funny with lots of enjoyable set-ups in a short time. Only the supposed romantic sub plot spoils thing slightly.

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