Shoulder Arms
Shoulder Arms is Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE was an English comic actor, film director and composer best known for his work during the silent film era. He became the most famous film star in the world before the end of World War I...

's second film for First National Pictures
First National
First National was an association of independent theater owners in the United States that expanded from exhibiting movies to distributing them, and eventually to producing them as a movie studio, called First National Pictures, Inc. It later merged with Warner Bros.-Early history:The First National...

. Released in 1918
1918 in film
The year 1918 in film involved some significant events.-Events:*Following litigation for anti-trust activities, the US Supreme Court orders the Motion Picture Patents Company to disband....

, it is a silent comedy set in France during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. The main part of the film occurs in a dream. It co-starred Edna Purviance
Edna Purviance
Edna Purviance was an American actress during the silent movie era. She was the leading lady in many Charlie Chaplin movies. In a span of eight years, she appeared in over thirty films with Chaplin.-Early life:...

 and Sydney Chaplin
Sydney Chaplin
Sydney Chaplin was an English actor. He was the elder half-brother of Sir Charlie Chaplin and served as his business manager, and the half-uncle of the actor Sydney Chaplin , who was named after him.-Early life:...

, Chaplin's brother. It was Chaplin's shortest feature film
Feature film
In the film industry, a feature film is a film production made for initial distribution in theaters and being the main attraction of the screening, rather than a short film screened before it; a full length movie...



Shoulder Arms proved to be Chaplin's most popular film, critically and commercially, up to that point. A review in the October 21, 1918 New York Times was typical:

"'The fool's funny,' was the chuckling observation of one of those who saw Charlie Chaplin's new film. Shoulder Arms, at the Strand yesterday — and, apparently, that's the way everybody felt. There have been learned discussions as to whether Chaplin's comedy is low or high, artistic or crude, but no one can deny that when he impersonates a screen fool he is funny. Most of those who go to find fault with him remain to laugh. They may still find fault, but they will keep on laughing."


In the scene where Chaplin (in his tree costume) is being pursued through the forest, cars can be seen traveling on a highway in the background. Although highways in the United States existed when this film was made, they did not exist in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. Germany's first highway was built in 1921. Of course, the Western Front was in France, not Germany.

Credited Cast

  • Charles Chaplin ... Doughboy
    Doughboy is an informal term for an American soldier, especially members of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. The term dates back to the Mexican–American War of 1846–48....

  • Edna Purviance
    Edna Purviance
    Edna Purviance was an American actress during the silent movie era. She was the leading lady in many Charlie Chaplin movies. In a span of eight years, she appeared in over thirty films with Chaplin.-Early life:...

    ... French girl
  • Syd Chaplin ... Charlie's Comrade/The Kaiser
  • Jack Wilson ... German Crown Prince
  • Henry Bergman
    Henry Bergman
    Henry Bergman was an American actor of stage and film, known for his long association with Charlie Chaplin....

    ... Fat German sergeant/Field Marshal von Hindenburg/Bartender
  • Albert Austin
    Albert Austin
    Albert Austin was an actor, film star, director and script writer, noted mainly for his work in Charlie Chaplin films. He was the brother of actor William Austin....

    ... American Officer/Clean Shaven German Soldier/Bearded German Soldier
  • Tom Wilson
    Tom Wilson (actor)
    Tom Wilson was an American film actor. He appeared in 254 films between 1915 and 1963. He was born in Helena, Montana, and died in Los Angeles, California.-Selected filmography:* Little Marie...

    ... Dumb German Wood-Cutter
  • John Rand
    John Rand (actor)
    John Rand was an American actor who started his film career in the 1910s, and most notably supported Charles Chaplin in over 20 of his subjects.-Selected filmography:*The Pawnshop *Easy Street *Pay Day...

    ... U.S. soldier
  • J. Parks Jones ... U.S. soldier (as Park Jones)
  • Loyal Underwood
    Loyal Underwood
    Loyal Underwood was an American stock actor for Charlie Chaplin's film studio.Underwood's movie debut was in The Count, a 1916 Chaplin short film created for the Mutual Film Corporation...

    ... Small German officer

External links

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