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Shoulder Arms (1918)

 -  Comedy | War  -  20 October 1918 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 3,449 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
Edit

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

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 »

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

Referenced in The Secret Life of Sergei Eisenstein (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Lot Of Creativity And Talent

In these modern times (as subject known quite well to the director of the short film that this German count is going to talk about…), politically correct films are the "leitmotiv" of the modern young filmmakers' projects. "Shoulder Arms" directed by Herr Charlie Chaplin during WWI (the film was released only a few weeks before the armistice) is an obvious example of why the early cinema pioneers were a very bold people, certainly! To direct a humorous film inspired in the terrible, bloody First World War was a complicated matter that only few directors with those dangerous and daring ideas could be allowed to do… to venture upon such delicate enterprise and with success was reserved only to geniuses.

As this German count said, "Shoulder Arms" was made during WWI, that time in where definitely the whole world lost its innocence (fortunately not the German fat heiresses of this aristocrat…) and it is a hilarious, inventive social satire about that and any war. The film it is full of great gags and entertaining film continuity for a story in where that tramp will live though risky and courageous adventures in the front …whether a hero for the allies… or not.

To mock the war trenches, the unhealthiness, the frontal attacks and the Germans (how you dare!!... by the way, there are a lot of inaccuracies in the film … the German soldiers by that time had moustaches and longer beards not to mention that the Kaiser lacks many medals in his uniform…) in an elegant, funny and delicate way it is even today a film miracle impossible of being surpassed. Keeping in mind those terrible wartime circumstances, the difficult task is only possible thanks to a lot of creativity and talent. Obviously Herr Charlie Chaplin had very much of it.

And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must go back to the Schloss trenches.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com/


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