Arms and the Girl

Arms and the Girl is a 1917 American silent drama film produced by Famous Players-Lasky and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It was directed by Joseph Kaufman and stars Billie Burke. The film is one of the few of director Kaufman's to survive and the earliest known Billie Burke silent to survive.[1][2]

Arms and the Girl
Newspaper advertisement.
Directed byJoseph Kaufman
Produced byAdolph Zukor
Jesse Lasky
Written byCharles Whittaker (scenario)
Based onArms and the Girl
by Grant Stewart and Robert Baker
StarringBillie Burke
Thomas Meighan
CinematographyWilliam Marshall
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • October 8, 1917 (1917-10-08)
  • October 14, 1917 (1917-10-14)
Running time
50 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)

The film is based on a 1917 Broadway play which starred a young Fay Bainter.[3]


As described in a film magazine,[4] during August 1914 Ruth Sherwood (Burke), an American traveling through Belgium with her parents, is left behind in Beaupre will sending a message to her fiance in Paris. She is compelled to seek shelter at the Hotel Tete d'Or as there are no more trains that day. Here she meets another American, Wilfred Ferrers. Ruth's passport is stolen by Olga Karnovitch (Bates), a Russian spy, who leaves her Russian passport in Ruth's hands. The town is invaded by Germans who are headed towards Paris, and they make the inn their headquarters. Ferrers is discovered destroying the Russian passport and is ordered to be shot at once. Ruth comes to his assistance by claiming that he is her fiance. The German officer is skeptical, and he orders that they be married at once. The ceremony is held beneath the upheld swords of the Germans, and an embarrassing night follows as the couple retire to their room. Ferrers overcomes the sentinel at their door, dons his uniform, and forces the General (Trimble) at the point of a gun to give them a pass to get through the German lines into France. In the meantime, Jack Martin (David), Ruth's fiance, arrives, but she says that he is her chauffeur. Ferrers gives Jack the pass, but Ruth refuses to leave Ferrers, having fallen in love with her "husband." The Germans receive orders to move on and as Ferrers enters the inn to urge Ruth to depart at once, he is shot by the outraged General. Ruth borrows a smock from the innkeeper and with Ferrers makes her escape across the border into France.


  • Billie Burke as Ruth Sherwood
  • Thomas Meighan as Wilfred Ferrers
  • Louise Bates as Olga Karnovitch
  • J. Malcolm Dunn as Eugene
  • Arthur Bauer as Burgomaster
  • William David as Jack Martin
  • George S. Trimble as The General
  • Harry Lee
  • May De Lacy (uncredited)

Survival status

A copy of Arms and the Girl is preserved at the George Eastman House Motion Picture Collection in Rochester, New York.[5]


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