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A French farce set in Victorian London where a botanist and his wife get into trouble when they pretend to go missing in order to hide from their sanctimonious cousin -- an Anglican bishop who is leading a campaign against such writing.
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 <email@example.com>
Many in Hollywood were nervous that one of their most famous peers was going to tackle the subject of WWI. It was released shortly before the Armistice so it did not help boost national morale. But it did end up as one of Charles Chaplin's most popular films and it was particularly popular with returning doughboys. See more »
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 »
How did you capture thirteen?
I surrounded them.
See more »
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 »
In one of the best of Charlie Chaplin's lengthier short films, he places the Little Fellow in the trenches of WWI, where he brings his intolerable politeness and endless patience to the drudgery of trench life, where troops lived for months at a time before finally going over the top to overtake the enemy, and usually to their deaths. It takes someone of Chaplin's skill as a comedian to make something as dreary as trench warfare into such a brilliant comedy, but the irony that he uses in the film makes even the most uncomfortable conditions highly amusing.
Like all of the best of Chaplin's films, short films and otherwise, this one is packed with brilliant and memorable scenes, such as the scene where he marks off kills with a piece of chalk on a board in the trench, erasing one when he gets his helmet shot off, the scene where he and his fellow soldiers are sleeping underwater, the opening of the beer bottle and lighting of the cigarette, and of course, the overtaking of the enemy. All of these scenes are show-stoppers, reminiscent of the most wonderful Chaplin scenes. This one should not be missed!
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