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Shoulder Arms (1918)

Not Rated  |   |  Short, Comedy, War  |  20 October 1918 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 3,695 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
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:

Short | 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) | (DVD)

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

 
Little Man, What Now?
16 September 2006 | by (Van Buren, Arkansas) – See all my reviews

Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp or Little Man character wins World War I, called The Great War at the time, single handedly, even capturing the Kaiser, something the entire Allied armed forces were unable to do. Too bad it all turns out to be a dream, which is somewhat of a cop out and the weakest part of this mesmerizing silent short (almost a feature film at 46 minutes).

There are inventive gags galore including Charlie having to put on a gas mask to eat Limburger cheese sent from home, then using the cheese as a weapon against the Germans; Charlie sleeping underwater in a flooded trench next to a soldier he continues to annoy; Charlie disguising himself as a tree--one of his best sketches ever--and Charlie pretending to beat up his friend who has become a POW, then hugging him when the enemy is out of sight.

One amazing feature is how much Charlie, when he is behind enemy lines dressed as a German, resembles Hitler over ten years before Hitler and his Nazi thugs rose to dominate German politics. Obviously Hitler patterned his appearance after Charlie's from this film.


11 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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