7.2/10
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50 user 33 critic

A King in New York (1957)

A recently-deposed European monarch seeks shelter in New York City, where he becomes an accidental television celebrity and is later wrongly accused of being a Communist.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Maxine Audley ...
Queen Irene
Jerry Desmonde ...
Prime Minister Voudel
Oliver Johnston ...
Ambassador Jaume
...
Ann Kay - TV Specialist
Sidney James ...
Johnson - TV Advertiser
Joan Ingram ...
Mona Cromwell - Hostess
Michael Chaplin ...
Rupert Macabee
John McLaren ...
Macabee Senior
Phil Brown ...
Headmaster
Harry Green ...
Lawyer
...
Liftboy
Alan Gifford ...
School Superintendent
Robert Cawdron ...
U.S. Marshal
George Woodbridge ...
Member of Atomic Commission
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Storyline

Due to a revolution in his country, King Shahdov comes to New York - almost broke. To get some money he goes to TV, making commercials and meets the child from communist parents. Due to this he is suddenly a suspected as a communist himself and has to face one of McCarthy's hearings. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

12 September 1957 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Un rey en Nueva York  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Before coming up with the idea for this film, Charles Chaplin had thought of two ideas that he eventually decided against. One was the idea of reviving The Little Tramp (because he realized that the appeal to the tramp was his flexibility), and the other was reviving Verdoux from Monsieur Verdoux (1947) (his wife and assistant strongly argued against it.) See more »

Goofs

In the last scene with Shahdov and Jaume, image is reversed as one can see by the reverse writing above the emergency exit sign above them and their jacket pockets with handkerchiefs and flower lapels are on their right side. See more »

Quotes

[after being called for questioning by the government on suspicions of Communist affiliations]
Rupert Macabee: I'm so sick and tired of people asking me if I'm this, if I'm that!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Chaplin Today: A King in New York (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Weeping Willow
(1957)
Written by Charles Chaplin
Played in the score
See more »

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User Reviews

 
it's a bit more biting in its view of people (specifically Americans and capitalism), but it's still very funny
27 July 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Charlie Chaplin's A King in New York is a fine film to see when it's a laid-back afternoon and it comes on TV, as it's a bit of a surprise to come upon. It's a later Chaplin film, where he's no longer the iconic Tramp, yet in a way the logic of one of those films in terms of the society at large is still being toyed with. This time, instead of being on poverty row with holes in his shoes and a sweet and enduring love for a street girl, he plays a king whose country has gone to war and without many prospects financially comes to America to do commercials for products that he would surely rather not be pushing on the public. As life does imitate art (as far as the stereotype goes it does have a ring of constant truth), Chaplin at the time was an exile, kicked out of America for being a supposed communist, and with his non-prolific career going a little bit on the slide, he made the film as a quasi-light attack on American consumerism, of the vanity and stupidity that can come out of prosperity.

But at the same time, there is still the sensibility that Chaplin loves life and individuals, if not certain groups. This can be seen in the child character- one of Chaplin's own sons- who through his very intelligent but arrogant manner is one of the nicer and funniest characters in the film. While a lot of the humor, sometimes rather dry, is in seeing Chaplin's King and his assistant/butler talk of money problems and in the observations of the 'other', the best scenes come in showing what levels King Shadhov has to sink to in trying to pay his expensive hotel bills and stay afloat in a strange land. My favorite scenes where Shadhov's botched plastic surgery debacle, where it's funnier seeing the King trying not to laugh at a slapstick spectacle than the actual spectacle itself, and the scenes of the King trying to shill the items, often to the dissatisfied directors (I'm reminded of Lost in Translation, and in fact Chaplin's scenes are probably more successful than Coppola's).

Although the film is preachy at times- it's best when Chaplin goes for the more succinct jabs as opposed to the grandstanding, ironic since it worked perfectly at the end of the Great Dictator- the overall high-spirited and serenely theatrical direction makes this a worthwhile effort. Far from being the controversial film it got a reputation as following a non-release in the 50s in the US, it's only a cunning satire, with moments light and foreboding, and it deserves to be seen just as much as Chaplin's classics (if only by his fans, who might be apprehensive at the filmmaker making too many 'statements').


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