Charlie talks wealthy farmer's daughter Tillie into eloping with him (and taking her father's money). In the city Tillie gets drunk and lands in jail while Charlie runs off with her money ... See full summary »
After passing the hat and taking the donations intended for German street musicians Charlie heads for the country. Here he finds and rescues a girl from a band of gypsies. The girl falls in... See full summary »
Charlie competes with his fellow shop assistant. He is fired by the pawnbroker and rehired. He nearly destroys everything in the shop and and himself. He helps capture a burglar. He destroys a client's clock while examining it in detail.
Charlie is released from prison and immediately swindled by a fake parson. A fellow ex-convict convinces Charlie to help burglarize a house, but Edna, the house's owner, catches them and ... See full summary »
As Colonel Nutt is experimenting with explosives, a new janitor is joining his household. The inept janitor proceeds to make life difficult for the rest of staff. Meanwhile, a foreign agent... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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.
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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 »
A Wonderful Combination Of Comedy, Commentary, And Adventure
One of Charlie Chaplin's very best shorter features, "Shoulder Arms" is a wonderful combination of comedy, commentary, and adventure. Charlie plays a soldier who heads off to World War I, and in the course of 40 minutes or so, it provides a light-hearted but in many respects believable portrayal of what life was like in the trenches. The story also combines some fine slapstick with some exciting adventures.
In this movie, Chaplin hits the perfect balance between humor and substance, helping us to sympathize with those who bore the burdens of the war, without ever becoming sentimental. The other characters are nicely conceived and acted, with the engaging Edna Purviance, the versatile Syd Chaplin, and other talented supporting players pitching in.
The story has many creative turns, plus a couple of good surprises. It's great entertainment, and thoughtful as well. Make sure to take a look if you enjoy Chaplin or silent comedies in general.
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