Chaplin's farewell to America in his final acting, writing and directing venture!
May 4, 2009
A King in New York (1957) was the second to last film that Charles Chaplin completed before his retirement. Chaplin stars as a King of a deposed European country who lives out his final days in a hotel. During his stay in exile, he meets the local upper class and becomes a sort of a t.v. celebrity. But his life and views about politics change when he meets an idealistic young boy. Stunned by who makes up the working class, the King begins to understand why his subjects revolted and chased him off his throne. He also develops a freindship with the young lad. One day the kid's parents are arrested for being "subversives" changing his views on life and America forever.
I was surprised by how well this film was. It was a bit of a shock to see an aged Chaplin but he's still funny as ever. A lot of sight gags and witty quips and views about American society , celebrity worship, the media and the power of television (some of them are still relevant today). Chaplin made this film during his exile from America. He was haraassed by the government during the Red Scare and Hollywood turned his back on him when they did a blacklisting purge. His left wing views and vocal opposition made im a very easy target. Chaplin did not return stateside form almost two decades. A King of America was his goodbye to filmmaking. But he would return one last time to direct A Countess in Hong Kong.