23 user 11 critic

Behind the Screen (1916)

Charlie is an overworked labourer at a film studio who helps a young woman find work even while his coworkers strike against his tyrannical boss.


Charles Chaplin (uncredited)




Complete credited cast:
Eric Campbell ... Goliath - a Stagehand
Charles Chaplin ... David - His Assistant
Edna Purviance ... The Girl


Three movies are being shot simultaneously and Charlie is an overworked scene shifter. The foreman is waited on hand and foot until all the shifters but Charlie go on strike. A girl looking for work pretends to be a man and helps Charlie. Charlie discovers her gender and falls in love with her. The foreman thinks they are homosexual and in the ensuing fight they become involved in a long pie throwing scene from one of the movies in production. The frustrated workers dynamite the studio. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Comedy | Romance


TV-G | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The film was restored in 2013 through the Chaplin Mutual Project thanks to the financial support of French director Michel Hazanavicius. See more »


The Girl: Can I be an actress, please?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Kino International distributes a set of videos containing all the 12 Mutual short films made by Chaplin in 1915 - 1917. They are presented by David Shepard, who copyrighted the versions in 1984, and has a music soundtrack composed and performed by Michael Mortilla who copyrighted his score in 1989. The running time of this film is 23 minutes. See more »


Referenced in The Birth of the Tramp (2013) See more »

User Reviews

Excellent short comedy in which Charlie Chaplin satirizes his own craft.
25 July 2001 | by Anonymous_MaxineSee all my reviews

Chaplin plays the part of David, the lowly assistant to the oafish stage hand Goliath, and as is to be expected, everything goes wrong in the most hilarious ways. Being an early short Chaplin comedy, a good portion of the comedy is slapstick, with such elaborately acted scenes as the one with the stage pillar prop that just would not seem to stand up.

Poor David works like a slave for the lazy Goliath, but at first, he just keeps messing things up - he just can't seem to do anything right. But later, when he starts working really hard and doing things right, his boss always walks in just as he sits down to rest, and he gets into trouble for loafing on the job, and Goliath, who spends most of his time sleeping, gets all of the credit for David's work.

Not only does this film satirize the falsity of film and stage, but it also goes into actual filming, in the surprisingly effective pie throwing scene. Eventually, all of the workers go on strike, leaving only David and Goliath on stage and, as is common in Chaplin's films, he ends up the victor as a result of some inadvertent events concerning a trap door and a lot of guys fighting. The ending of this film is unusually violent for a generally light Chaplin comedy, but the comedic value is never diminished.

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Official Sites:





None | English

Release Date:

13 November 1916 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Pride of Hollywood See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lone Star Corporation See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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