A King in New York / A Woman of Paris (2 Disc Special Edition)
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A King in New York, Charlie Chaplin's penultimate film--featuring his final starring performance--was made in 1957 but wasn't officially released in America until the '70s, when it, surprisingly enough, won an Oscar for Chaplin's score. What took so long? Thanks to his politics and unorthodox personal life, Chaplin was pretty roundly hated by the late '50s, but had the movie been better, someone might've brought it stateside sooner. Chaplin plays King Shahdov of Estrovia, on the lam when revolution grips his homeland. In New York, despite the occasional indignity, he's treated as royalty until he takes a stand against the commie-hunters, a plotline that hit way too close to home at the time (Chaplin, remember, was ahead of everyone in attacking Hitler when he made The Great Dictator). There's one inspired bit, as Shahdov orders dinner over the din of a supper club, but overall, the satire is strident, and Chaplin's takes on such things as technology and pop music make him look decidedly like an old fogey. --David Kronke
A Woman of Paris
At the height of his popularity, Charlie Chaplin chose to make a straight dramatic feature--without himself in a starring role. The plot of A Woman of Paris is perhaps not new: after a tragic misunderstanding, a small-town girl (former Chaplin paramour and longtime co-star Edna Purviance) goes to Paris and becomes the mistress of a rich playboy (Adolphe Menjou). But if the outline is familiar melodrama, the film still looks remarkable for its measured, adult attitude toward its characters; they are not black or white, but complicated, sophisticated shades of gray. Menjou, in particular, is a charming and thoroughly delightful cad. The film's matter-of-fact spirit on the subject of how adults conduct their sexual lives is also impressive. Critics loved the picture, but audiences did not, and Chaplin soon returned to comedy. He can be glimpsed, disguised, in a one-scene walk-through as a clumsy train porter. --Robert Horton
Top Customer Reviews
Released in the UK in 1957 but not in the US until 1972, "A King in New York" is Chaplin's seriocomic indictment of the 1950's McCarthy witch-hunts and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), topics that have come back into the limelight thanks to George Clooney's evocative take on the Murrow-McCarty feud in "Good Night and Good Luck." At that time, Chaplin himself was expelled from the US forbidden to re-enter the country for nearly two decades. The plot focuses on King Shahdov of the fictitious country of Estrovia, an exile who arrives in New York after escaping a revolution occurring in his homeland. In a manner that recalls a bit of Elia Kazan's "A Face in the Crowd" (also released in 1957), a shrewd TV "specialist" makes the King a popular TV celebrity thanks in part to a hidden camera at a dinner party. This portion of the film is pretty amusing, especially when the King does commercials to help gain support for his high-minded plans to harness atomic power.Read more ›
In fact The King in New York directly examines the irony of his being accused of communism in America while actually practicing an overly successful capitalism which threatened the politically powerful studio system. It is like cutting back Tom Cruise's price tag by accusing him of scientology, but then it cancelled Chaplin's career and forced him to flee to Europe, at which point the US government refused his re-entrance.
This excellent double disk DVD explores carefully these and other issues, and is highly recommended.For further study of the political persecution explored in the King in New York, take a look at the Front with Woody Allen and Zero Mostel, The Cradle will Rock about Orson Welles, and of course Goodnight and Good Luck with George Clooney.Read more ›
This light comedy with some deep (and deeply hidden) messages presents the viewer with a stunning and unexpected Charlie Chaplin as King Igor Shahdov (takes on "shadow" and "sod off") of Estrovia. Having escaped in desperation when a minister steals the treasury and the king stands accused, the king thinks New York is the place to be. When he arrives, certain misfortunes result in his being penniless. It is then he turns to television and radio commercials--for the money.
The sharp, witty and outright hilarious bits hardly assist in holding this messy film together. In a way that has informed every comedy, spoof and satire ever since, Chaplin spears the faults of America while showing his love for it. This was Chaplin's first film after his banishment from America--a subject with which I am not a great deal acquainted. The themes in the film, however, at times actual addresses directly to the audience, obviously come from a homeless, insecure place in Chaplin's heart.
Chaplin manages to sort of spit out views on imperialism, capitalism, crass commercialism, Marxism and communism--which would have been much on his mind. Yet his insanely clever skewering of the television culture, so cheap and annoying, so recent and so offensive--deserves study by us today. He is almost like Orwell, pushing us to understand the invasiveness of such 'culture'. Also--on a deeply personal note--Chaplin performs a bit here, or rather a very funny spoken sequence, in which he uses the logic term "reduction ad absurdum". Never, and I mean never, have I heard this term in any film.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
These are two bad films by Chaplin. A Woman of Paris is a romantic drama written and directed by Chaplin but without his participation as an actor. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Tim Smith
Two classic movies I especially love A woman of Paris starring Edna Purviance.Published 4 months ago by Lisa A. Sinkko
Very nice product, of course I love the films but I also thoroughly enjoyed the extras and appreciated that they shared "Camille" which is an amateur short film that... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Strawberry Girl
A not so subtle reflection on Chaplin's own issues with America in the years before this film was made. Situations are pretty familiar for those who know Chaplin's life. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Paul Kretschmer
A King In New York is awesome! I watch it all the time On Demand (Comcast). It also very cute how his son, Michael Chaplin appears in the film as a boy who's very much into... Read morePublished 16 months ago by LippyLoo
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