Behind the Screen

Behind the Screen is a 1916 American silent short comedy film written by, directed by, and starring Charlie Chaplin, and also starring Eric Campbell and Edna Purviance. The film is in the public domain.


The film takes place in a silent movie studio. Charlie Chaplin plays stagehand named David who has an enormous supervisor named Goliath (Eric Campbell). David is overworked but is still labelled as a loafer by the lazy Goliath and his supervisor. A country girl (Edna Purviance) arrives at the studio in hopes of becoming an actress, but is quickly turned away by Goliath. Most of the other stagehands go on wildcat strike to protest their sleep being interrupted during their lunch break. Only David and Goliath remain on the job. The girl returns and stealthily dresses in one of the striking stagehand's work clothes. Disguised as a man, she gets a job as a stagehand too. David discovers that the new stagehand is actually a female. When he gives her a series of quick kisses, the action is seen by Goliath who makes effeminate gestures at David. Edna overhears the strikers' plans to blow up the studio with dynamite and helps thwart their villainous plot.