Cinema Lumiere - Sala Officinema/Mastroianni > 15:15


Introduced by

Caroline Fournier, Jan Ledecký and Jeanne Pommeau

Piano accompaniment by

Neil Brand


Saturday 30/06/2018


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

The German Empire was about to collapse when Der Fall Rosentopf was shot. Watching the rediscovered fragment of this long-lost film, one thing immediately comes to mind: the loss of the Great War and the associated German trauma never seem to have existed, so easygoing and laid-back is this crime comedy. Ernst Lubitsch once again assumes the role of the jewish berlinese named Sally, whom he has already played in Schuhpalast Pinkus (Shoe Palace Pinkus, 1916) and Meyer aus Berlin (Meyer in Berlin, 1918). This time, Sally is the assistant to detective Ceeps. Sally’s mission is to crack the Rosentopf case. Lubitsch embodies his part with a highly contagious joy for acting. Watching Lubitsch one really wants the rest of the film to be found one day. The intertitles are enriched with a wide array of overtones and give a foretaste of Lubitsch’s readily identifiable style that later will become known as ‘The Lubitsch Touch’. In 1987 the nitrate print of the fragment of Der Fall Rosentopf, with scenes from the first and second acts, was given to the former State Film Archive of the GDR (SFA) by a private collector and was later acquired by the Bundesarchiv Filmarchiv. Because the lead titles were missing, the film was not identified until many years later.

Dirk Förstner

Cast and Credits

Scen.: Ernst Lubitsch, Hanns Kräly. F.: Alfred Hansen. Scgf.: Kurt Richter. Int.: Ferry Sikla (Rentier Klingelmann), Margarete Kupfer (Rosa), Ernst Lubitsch (Sally), Trude Hesterberg (Bella Spaketti). Prod.: Paul Davidson per Projektions-AG “Union” (PAGU). DCP. D.: 19’. Col.


Film Notes

At the beginning of Shoulder Arms: a tracking shot shows Charlie walking along the trench, oblivious of the occasional blast. The camera follows him to the end of the corridor, then draws backward through the audience, not along an aisle but as if he is walking between the theatre seats. As if he was inviting us to join him at boot camp with the tacit promise that he will, ultimately, succeed in making us laugh hard about the least funny subject of all: the war. Technically speaking, this was one of Chaplin’s most advanced films to date: split narrative, impressive sets, sophisticated camera work and brilliant mise-en-scène. It is packed with comic moments that explode as often as grenades with some memorable scenes, namely the hilarious, celebrated occasion when he camouflages himself as a tree (not really ‘camouflage’ – Bazin would argue – more like “one of those little Indian insects that can take on the appearance of leaves” or an insect playing dead, the only difference between them and Charlie being “the speed with which he returns from his condition of spatial dissolution, into the cosmos, to a state of instant readiness for action”).
Shoulder Arms is the first of many films that Chaplin will shoot against his colleagues’ and friends’ advice: “It’s dangerous, at this time, to make fun of the horrors of the war”, DeMille had warned him. He went ahead, initially planning to make it his first feature, shooting extensive footage of the Tramp as a family man prior to enlistment, then cut it and released it as a three-reeler. Shoulder Arms was one of Chaplin’s greatest commercial successes, and for a long time both audiences and critics would measure subsequent films by its standards. But there’s more to it. It hit the public at exactly the right time, making them laugh about the idiocy of it all, and thus becoming an essential part of the World War experience. “How did you capture thirteen German soldiers by yourself?” – Charlie is asked by his superior – “I surrounded them”, he explains.

Cecilia Cenciarelli

Cast and Credits

Scen.: Charles Chaplin. F.: Roland Toteroth. Scgf.: Charles D. Hall. Int.: Charles Chaplin (la recluta), Edna Purviance (la ragazza francese), Sydney Chaplin (il sergente/Kaiser), Jack Wilson (il principe tedesco), Henry Bergman (il sergente grasso/maresciallo Hindenburg), Albert Austin (il soldato americano/soldato tedesco/autista del Kaiser), Tom Wilson (il sergente istruttore), John Rand, Park Jones (soldati americani), Loyal Underwood (un tedesco). Prod.: Charles Chaplin per Chaplin-First National 35mm. L.: 829 m. D.: 41′ a 18 f/s. Bn e col.


Year: 1918
Country: Francia
Running time: 2'
Film Version

Dutch intertitles