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Shoulder Arms (1918)

Not Rated  |   |  Comedy, War  |  20 October 1918 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 3,654 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:
...
...
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

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

In the woods, where Chaplin runs to hide from the pursuing Germans, automobiles are visible traveling on a highway on the horizon. 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 For the Defense (1930) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Chaplin's brilliant take on World War I.
11 March 2007 | by (Luoyang, China) – See all my reviews

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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