HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Avengers: Endgame
Vanishing Act
Critters Attack!
Prison on Fire
Dragged Across Concrete
Do the Right Thing
Hellboy
Pond Life
Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, The
Third Wife, The
Shazam!
Follow Me
Leto
Fugitive Girls
Missing Link
Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, The
Pet Sematary
Oh... Rosalinda!!
Dumbo
Kaleidoscope
Night Is Short, Walk On Girl
Knight of Shadows: Between Yin and Yang, The
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
Klute
Meow
Killer Crocodile
Nutcracker Prince, The
Secret World of Og, The
Benjamin
Fifth Cord, The
Man Could Get Killed, A
Cyborg 009: Kaiju War
Heavy Trip
Nightmare Weekend
Blue Ice
Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday, The
Incident, The
Hell's Angels
Heaven and Earth
Flatliners
   
 
Newest Articles
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
Things Have Changed: Films You'd Be Insane to Make Now
The Hole in the Ground: Director Lee Cronin Interview
She's Missing: Director Alexandra McGuinness Interview
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
   
 
  King in New York, A Set The Record StraightBuy this film here.
Year: 1957
Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charlie Chaplin, Dawn Addams, Oliver Johnston, Maxine Audley, Jerry Desmonde, Sid James, Joan Ingram, Michael Chaplin, John McLaren, Phil Brown, Harry Green, Robert Arden, Alan Gifford, Robert Cawdron, George Woodbridge, Shani Wallis
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: King Shahdov (Charlie Chaplin) is a monarch forced into exile by his subjects when there was a huge disagreement over atomic power and atomic weapons, but he didn’t leave empty handed, having taken his fortune with him. And where has he gone? To the United States, New York City to be exact, so on disembarking the plane he makes a point of proclaiming it the greatest country in the world as The Land of the Free, though the reporters’ questions are impertinent to his ears when he is quizzed about the missing cash and riches. Getting out of the press conference as quickly as possible, he takes up residence in the swankiest hotel he can find as he tries to rebuild his reputation with only the Ambassador (Oliver Johnston) for company…

It’s safe to say A King in New York – not to be confused with the Abel Ferrara gangster flick of almost the same name – did not receive a warm welcome when it was released in the late nineteen-fifties, and put the capper on a pretty terrible time for its creator; this was all he needed, his reasonable attempt to put his side of the story rejected out of hand by all those who labelled the film tedious and the worst kind of special pleading. Chaplin was one to wear his heart on his sleeve, and while there were examples of his comedy here, indeed the whole thing looked like a succession of sketches that happened to feature the same King character, for the most part he was desperately trying to get back in the good books of the public.

The American public, that was, for his left-leaning politics didn’t bother those in his native United Kingdom as much as they did the United States in the throes of their anti-Communist witch hunts which saw countless careers ruined, and Chaplin’s was one of the most high profile. From being possibly the most famous man in the world thirty years before to being thrown out of his adopted land for his deeply held, humanist beliefs in the fifties, it was quite the comedown and despite his protests all his excuses fell on deaf ears. He could deny being a Communist till he was blue in the face, the fact remained the authorities and the public thought that was what he was and they were not about to change their minds.

Except of course they did change their minds, come the sixties when the damage was repaired to an extent, though probably not enough to rescue the creative lives of many talents. Back in 1957, Chaplin was forced to make his film in London having been barred from the States, and all these autobiographical details were included in the supposedly fictional world of King Shahdov, but that wasn’t all. Along the way Chaplin had pops at advertising, modern movies and the news media, but more pertinently he had his grand finale at a court hearing when his character was accused of being a Red, all very well if you were anticipating getting the actual Chaplin point of view when faced with tough questions, but that’s not the way it played out as what you got was self-aggrandising (it’s not called A Tramp in New York) yet weirdly evasive.

For the climax, Chaplin preferred to fall back on what he knew best, comedy, yet it was an unmistakable cop-out considering the gravity of the situation both he and his protagonist faced. Before then, he had an actual Communist spouting ideology, but he was a little boy (the director’s miserable-looking son Michael) whose parents were in the same trouble the King was, and he didn’t identify with that label either. While the critics of the time had a field day with the supposed fumbling of the humour that Chaplin had become so hugely famous for, some of it was actually pretty funny: the movie trailers were suitably ridiculous (and included a Christine Jorgenson joke), and there was enough variety in the skits to keep things interesting (though his concept of cosmetic surgery was very strange). On the other hand, that needy quality was somewhat difficult to take, and prevented the work from being a proper movie when it was more of a tract; fine, the man who had presented one of the most sincere anti-fascist efforts the screen ever saw did not deserve to be treated like this, but it was all too clear Chaplin was at a serious disadvantage. You did see him act with Sid James, however.

[The Curzon Blu-ray has a featurette, deleted scenes, an introduction, trailers and more as extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 990 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: