A King in New York (1957) - Rotten Tomatoes

A King in New York (1957)

A King in New York (1957)

A King in New York




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Charles Chaplin's response to America during the McCarthy Era stars the writer-director as a deposed European monarch who immigrates to the U.S. to start anew.more
Rating: G
Genre: Drama, Classics, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Charles Chaplin
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 2, 2004
Criterion Collection


Charles Chaplin
as King Shahdov
Dawn Addams
as Ann Kay - TV Special...
Oliver Johnston
as Ambassador Jaume
Jerry Desmonde
as Prime Minister Voude...
Maxine Audley
as Queen Irene
Harry Green
as Lawyer Green
Phil Brown
as Headmaster
John McLaren
as Macabee Senior
Alan Gifford
as School Superintenden...
Joy Nichols
as Night Club Vocalist
Shani Wallis
as Night Club Vocalist
Jay Nichols
as Night Club Vocalist
Michael Chaplin
as Rupert Macabee
John Richard Ingram
as Mr. Cromwell
Sidney James
as Mr. Johnson
Robert Arden
as Lift Boy
MacDonald Parke
as Fred Cromwell
George Truzzi
as Comedian
Joan Ingram
as Mona Cromwell
Robert Cawdron
as U.S. Marshall
George Woodbridge
as Commissioner
Clifford Buckton
as Atomic Commission
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for A King in New York

Critic Reviews for A King in New York

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (5)

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The coming of talkie films has been unkind to the legendary silent film comic, Charlie Chaplin.

Full Review… | April 16, 2007
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for A King in New York


A satisfying though uneven Chaplin comedy that he clearly envisaged as a criticism on the American society and the absurdity of McCarthyism. There are some memorable scenes, including a hilarious surprise dinner, but also just as many less successful ones.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer

Charlie Chaplin's last starring role was a perfect vehicle, drawing on both his intercontinental charm and his nagging troubles with United States immigration. Far from a success, the film wasn't even distributed in the States until 1967.

Chaplin (now white-haired but impressively spry) plays King Shahdov, the deposed monarch of a fictional European country. He flees to New York and takes up residence in a posh hotel, but finds himself broke after his prime minister betrays him and steals the royal treasury. A beautiful lass (Dawn Addams) cons the needy king into entering the advertising world, with amusing results. He becomes an inept pitchman and media celebrity, dodging fans and reporters just like today's royals. Later, Shahdov befriends a precocious boy (Chaplin's real-life son Michael) whose parents who are suspected of being Communists.

Chaplin's elegant wit and grace are delightful, but the film is frustratingly uneven. The advertising satire is quite funny -- particularly a scene about a fraudulent dinner party -- but the anti-McCarthy material turns indulgent and heavy-handed. And a few plot threads are left dangling. Will the prime minister be brought to justice? What about those vaguely mentioned "atomic" plans that will revolutionize the planet? And did Shahdov's wife need to enter the story at all?

Scenes end too abruptly. Chaplin's score seems corny and outdated. And his acting philosophy remains stuck in the silent age, calling for exaggerated body language from himself and others. A particularly bad example is how the younger Chaplin ridiculously wags a finger during his political rants. Another is the restaurant vignette that just serves as an excuse for Charlie to pantomime "caviar" and "turtle soup." Still, the shot where he joyfully dances and vaults into a tub can't be missed. (But what bizarre sort of hotel puts a door between adjoining bathrooms?)

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer


A King in New York (1957) ?? 1/2
European monarch seeks shelter in New York City where he unexpectedly becomes celebrity and is wrongly accused of being a communist. Chaplin makes fun of American sensibilities, but the film is overindulgent and lacks focus. This has some great gags and ideas, but this is not, alas, a great film. Charlies' real life son Michael plays the main kid here.

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