6.9/10
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34 user 20 critic

Shoulder Arms (1918)

Not Rated | | Comedy, War | 27 October 1918 (USA)
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:
... The Girl
... Doughboy
... Charlie's Comrade / The Kaiser (as Sydney Chaplin)
... 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

Taglines:

A foot bathtub, a rat trap, a phonograph, a cabbage shredder, a drip pan and an egg beater are on Charlie Chaplin's list of equipment needs when he prepares to battle the Huns in his second million dollar picture, "Shoulder Arms" (Print Ad-The Cambridge Times, ((Cambridge, Ohio)) 13 February 1919)

Genres:

Comedy | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 October 1918 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlot soldat  »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System) (1959 re-issue)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Released two weeks and one day before the end of World War I. 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

 
A Lot Of Creativity And Talent
11 January 2007 | by See all my reviews

In these modern times (as subject known quite well to the director of the short film that this German count is going to talk about…), politically correct films are the "leitmotiv" of the modern young filmmakers' projects. "Shoulder Arms" directed by Herr Charlie Chaplin during WWI (the film was released only a few weeks before the armistice) is an obvious example of why the early cinema pioneers were a very bold people, certainly! To direct a humorous film inspired in the terrible, bloody First World War was a complicated matter that only few directors with those dangerous and daring ideas could be allowed to do… to venture upon such delicate enterprise and with success was reserved only to geniuses.

As this German count said, "Shoulder Arms" was made during WWI, that time in where definitely the whole world lost its innocence (fortunately not the German fat heiresses of this aristocrat…) and it is a hilarious, inventive social satire about that and any war. The film it is full of great gags and entertaining film continuity for a story in where that tramp will live though risky and courageous adventures in the front …whether a hero for the allies… or not.

To mock the war trenches, the unhealthiness, the frontal attacks and the Germans (how you dare!!... by the way, there are a lot of inaccuracies in the film … the German soldiers by that time had moustaches and longer beards not to mention that the Kaiser lacks many medals in his uniform…) in an elegant, funny and delicate way it is even today a film miracle impossible of being surpassed. Keeping in mind those terrible wartime circumstances, the difficult task is only possible thanks to a lot of creativity and talent. Obviously Herr Charlie Chaplin had very much of it.

And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must go back to the Schloss trenches.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com/


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