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Shoulder Arms (1918)

 -  Comedy | War  -  20 October 1918 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 3,469 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

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

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

Featured in Filmmakers in Action (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

A Wonderful Combination Of Comedy, Commentary, And Adventure
18 September 2001 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

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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