A King In New York

  • 1957
  • 1 HR 45 MIN
  • NR

This little satire which, as usual, was an all-Chaplin production, just barely comes off and is really Chaplin's answer to those who were accusing him of being a Communist. He is a king who has lost his tiny kingdom of Estrovia after a peasant revolt. He and wife Audley move to New York where, though penniless, they are swarmed over by status-seeking title-lovers...read more

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This little satire which, as usual, was an all-Chaplin production, just barely comes off and is really Chaplin's answer to those who were accusing him of being a Communist. He is a king who has lost his tiny kingdom of Estrovia after a peasant revolt. He and wife Audley move to New York

where, though penniless, they are swarmed over by status-seeking title-lovers who become instant benefactors. Addams, an advertising executive, pays Chaplin a lot of money to endorse her terrible food products, but the deal goes flat when the king chokes on one of the items while before a TV

camera. Chaplin is persuaded to have his face lifted but then goes through agony in a nightclub while trying to suppress laughter so his stitches won't burst. Everywhere Chaplin goes he is assaulted by the modern world of the 1950s--rock 'n' roll, TV, and, worst of all, rampant, witchhunting

McCarthyism. He befriends a little runaway boy whose parents have been branded by the House Committee on Un-American Activities (who had earlier denounced Chaplin as a Communist sympathizer) as being unpatriotic for their refusal to testify. Chaplin helps both the boy and his parents, who later

admit that they refused to testify so they could maintain their privacy. Only the master comedian's brilliant little touches, his great timing, and that special perspective of his that saw humor in everything, even the humorless, keeps this one from sinking altogether. The film was not

well-received, lost money, and caused Chaplin, like the hero of this film, to beat a hasty retreat back to Europe and permanent exile.

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