Widely considered a lesser Chaplin film, I actually got a fair amount out of this one. It is surprisingly relevant to today with its side commentary on media culture and the prosthetic and plasticism that comes with keeping up your appearances in the TV world. It’s more prominent issue it deals with is McCarthyism, and it daringly attacks the notions that were popular at the time with Chaplin's political stamp.
A King in New York may not be Chaplin's most comical film, but it is close to my heart, and certainly has infinitely more substance than the shorts (1914-1920) which made his "Tramp" character famous around the world. This film, banned in an America whose artists were being persecuted by the viciously rabid "Red Scare", was Chaplin's retort. Of course, Americans were prevented from seeing it or hearing his
The rare Chaplin that falls flat. Chaplin indicted the McCarthy Witch Trials here with this rightful attack against the so-called 'house on un-american activities'. The problem is dramatically and comically it often fails to engage past the curio level at this point. Even the style of humour seems already out of date for the time period it was made in. A weak performance by Chaplin doesn't help.
3 1/2 out of 5 stars. An alright Chaplin that is hysterical at times (namely Rupert's tirade when he's introduced) but mostly sets up potentially great bits then quickly abandons them. The plastic surgery sequence seemed dated & unnecessary, but the biggest disappointment is the end that quickly and neatly ties itself up with little effort. A King in New York isn't a bad movie, just a lackluster Chaplin one.
Chaplin's son is great! Aspects of this film are sadly far too relevant for us today, should we aspire to take the time and watch this charming flick. Take for example the issues of: plastic surgery, embedded advertisement, suspicions of a government and the inequalities inherent in our social structures. Comedy has always been the best way to wage a subversive attack. Although more overt here, Chaplin never lost it.