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Shoulder Arms (1918)

 -  Comedy | War  -  20 October 1918 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 3,405 users  
Reviews: 29 user | 18 critic

Charlie is a boot camp private who has a dream of being a hero who goes on a daring mission behind enemy lines.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
The Girl
...
Doughboy
...
Charlie's Comrade / The Kaiser (as Sydney Chaplin)
Loyal Underwood ...
Short German Officer
Henry Bergman ...
Fat Whiskered Soldier / The Kaiser's General / Bartender
Tom Wilson ...
Dumb German Wood-Cutter
Albert Austin ...
American Soldier / Clean Shaven German Soldier / Bearded German Soldier
Jack Wilson ...
Crown Prince
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Storyline

Charlie is in boot camp in the "awkward squad." Once in France he gets no letters from home. He finally gets a package containing limburger cheese which requires a gas mask and which he throws over into the German trench. He goes "over the top" and captures thirteen Germans ("I surrounded them"), then volunteers to wander through the German lines disguised as a tree trunk. With the help of a French girl he captures the Kaiser and the Crown Prince and is given a statue and victory parade in New York and then ... fellow soldiers wake him from his dream. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 October 1918 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Carlitos nas Trincheiras  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System) (1959 re-issue)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally planned at five reels; outtakes were preserved in Chaplin's private collection. True Boardman, Marion Feducha and Frankie Lee played Chaplin's sons in cut domestic scenes intended for the beginning of the film. Peggy Prevost and Nina Trask portrayed draft board clerks, Alfred Reeves a draft board sergeant and Albert Austin a doctor in a cut scene at the draft board office. See more »

Goofs

Charlie, disguised as a tree, enters a pipe to escape a German. When the German tries to pull Charlie out he seperates the lower part of the tree costume along with Charlie's shoes. When Charlie emerges from the other end of the pipe he is still wearing shoes. See more »

Quotes

Officer: How did you capture thirteen?
Recruit: I surrounded them.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The short opens with a title card showing a caricature of Chaplin dressed as a World War I soldier, and text reading "Shoulder Arms Written and Produced by" followed by a blank space. A live action hand appears and points to the title, then the drawing, then uses a piece of white chalk to sign "Charles Chaplin" in the blank space, then points to the caricature one more time. See more »

Connections

Featured in Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Magnificent
4 February 2005 | by (Belfast, NI) – See all my reviews

This is one of Chaplin's First National films from the period between his glorious Mutual shorts and the more mature United Artists features. More opulent than the Mutual films, it continues Chaplin's quest for perfecting his comic expression. Most people forget that the film is actually a dream that Charlie has while awaiting being sent off to the front.

There is plenty of slapstick via the Limburger cheese being used to gas the enemy, and Chaplin's foray into enemy territory dressed as a tree.

By this stage in this career, the great man had become so immersed in filmic expression that his films give the impression of making themselves. Doubtless this was not the case, but still, it gives as convincingly realistic view of life at the front as I can remember, albeit from an ironically humorous perspective.

As far as I am concerned, familiarity with the entirety of Chaplin's work should be a prerequisite for all cinephiles - do not delay!


4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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