This is one of the few Chaplin films that needs a defense: for many people, it’s mawkish and shapeless, yet that same mawkishness and shapelessness are also signs of freedom and directness, qualities that recall the wonderfully casual Chaplin of the early Keystone shorts. Made in England in 1957, the film gave Chaplin his last starring role; he plays a gentle king who, having been unseated by a revolution in his own country, comes to New York in search of a new life. What he finds instead is the House Un-American Activities Committee. Though clearly based on Chaplin’s own political exile, the film is less bitter than touchingly bewildered, even when Chaplin is aiming his satire at such broad targets as advertising and popular movies. With Dawn Addams and Maxine Audley.
A King in New York
R • 1 hour 50 min • 1990