Thursday, 18 April 2013

A King in New York (1957)

Charlie Chaplin Shouts Out “I’m Still Here! Don’t Forget Me!”... But Nobody Is Listening Closely Enough To Hear It

A King in New York is the last feature film Charlie Chaplin ever directed that I will get the pleasure of watching for the first time. That said, it is rather unfortunate that A King in New York should be the last film I get to witness the genius of Chaplin with for the first time. People claim that A King in New York is a film about communism, I personally, saw it only as a comedy. Yes, one of the characters is a child who yells out blatant thought on communism and how screwed up America is... but there’s not enough there to make this a film about communism. And as a comedy - it is most mediocre.

Every cast member of this film delivers generally - awful performance. That includes the great Charlie Chaplin who fails to use any degree of his great sense of physical comedy to assist this film. He simply states his lines in a simple voice - unlike when he was The Tramp, and he would do so much more with his physical expressions that would far surpass anything he demonstrated as acting in A King in New York. Michael Chaplin, yet another child of Charlie Chaplin, starred in this film in a performance that made me cringe at times - and want to commit Harakiri to take me out of my misery at other times. His acting is some of the most unrealistic acting I have ever seen in my entire life. There is a scene that feels as though it lasted five minutes (I am unaware of it’s real length), where he stands on a chair and yells in a loud and emotionless word about his frustration with the political status of America. I couldn’t possibly care less.

Talk about failure as a comedy! A King in New York is the direct opposite of being funny. I cannot begin to state how stupid and clever this film is. Comedy is a foreign concept it seems to Chaplin when he made this film. It’s boring and all of his attempts at comedy are a direct failure. Unlike several good comedies, there are direct moments we’re supposed to laugh at. But in A King in New York, it seems as though we’re supposed at the whole situation. But the problem is... the whole situation isn’t funny! It’s boring! I outright hate this film for putting me through such tediousness - and making me expect it would be at least decent.

Talkies were without a doubt what killed Chaplin. The Great Dictator and Monsieur Verdoux were both superb films. However, The Great Dictator worked because Chaplin incorporated a great deal of physical comedy to make it’s utter greatness. Monsieur Verdoux worked as it was so compelling. A King in New York is stupid and it’s a waste of Chaplin. His cleverness does not adapt from silent to sound too well when it comes down to what we see with A King in New York.

That’s seriously everything I can say about this film. There’s a complete absence of quality-- and few redeeming qualities. Chaplin has proceeded to make me want to impale myself with a five foot spear. Thank you, Chaplin.

I should add, it’s pretty sad to see that I have run out of Chaplin films to watch. He’s a great man with a great career. But I will never forget he directed A King in New York.

A King in New York,
Directed by Charlie Chaplin,
Starring: Charlie Chaplin, Michael Chaplin and Jerry Demonde
★★ /★★★★★

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