80. A King in New York (1957)

The British Productions 1957-67

Film still for A King in New York


The exiled King of Estrovia is greeted in New York by the press and his loyal ambassador, Jaume. Ignoring the press, the King goes in search of his Prime Minister Voudel who seems to be attempting to abscond with the King's Treasury. The King makes a press announcement explaining that the revolution in his country was caused by a disagreement over nuclear power versus nuclear arms. Voudel tells the King that the treasury was more or less empty and that the banks are shut until the morning. The King decides to go out on the town, charmed with the vitality of New York. He goes to a film theatre and sees a ludicrously wide screen film of trivial content; he goes to club where the music is so loud that he has to mime his order for caviar. He watches his own arrival on TV where the press give the impression that it is he, not Voudel, that is absconding with the funds, just as Jaume arrives to tell the King that the Prime Minister has fled to South America. He is now broke - his only asset are the plans for his nuclear power plant. His wife, Queen Irene, visits and they decide very amicably to divorce.

At his hotel the King hears a woman singing from an adjoining bathroom. She hurts her ankle and he goes to her aid. While he massages the ankle of the beautiful young woman she tells him she is Ann Kay and that she had been expecting to meet him at a soiree given by a society hostess and owner of a TV station, Mrs. Cromwell. The King reconsiders the invitation and decides to attend. At the dinner Ann tries to trick the King into endorsing various products with a hidden Television crew. He is persuaded to perform for the camera and on his return to the hotel finds he has been the unwitting star of a TV show, Ann Kay's Real Life Surprise Party. He becomes an overnight hit and the offers come flooding in, but he rejects them, including one from Mrs. Cromwell with a cheque for $20,000. When plans from the atomic agency do not materialise he pieces together Mrs. Cromwell's cheque. He visits a progressive boys' school where he meets Rupert a 10-year-old who is over-fond of his own voice and preaches Marxism.

The hotel begins to hassle the King for his bill and the social offers dry up. Ann comes up with an offer for $50,000 to do a whisky advertisement to which he agrees, and then another for hormones for which he is persuaded to have a face lift. This goes disastrously wrong and his face becomes immobile. At a nightclub he remains wooden-faced through the slapstick paperhanging comedy act - but it finally gets to him and he splits his stitches. The operation is reversed. The King meets Rupert shivering outside the hotel in a blizzard. He claims to have 'graduated' from school but it is clear that he has run away. The king takes him in and gives him a hot bath and food. Rupert tells the King that his parents have been accused of communism. Jaume reminds the King that he has a broadcast and should be careful of associating with suspected communists. They leave the boy at the hotel. Rupert is questioned by the house detective and claims to be the King's nephew. When Jaume and the King return, the King plays along - unaware that Rupert has been telling tall tales about the King's radical views. They watch television as Rupert's father is forced to admit to being a communist and refuses to testify against others. The king returns Rupert to school and is convinced that they are being followed. He and Jaume try to avoid being served with a subpoena to appear in front of the committee which has condemned Rupert's parents. They attempt to disguise themselves and - while besieged by autograph-hunters - unsuspectingly accept the subpoena.

In court the Committee tries to bully Rupert into informing on his parents' friends. The King is advised to use his royal prerogative to avoid answering the accusation of communist sympathy. He thinks this is absurd. On the way to the court the King gets tangled up in a fire hose and is obliged to enter the court with the hose still stuck on his finger. He attempts to take the oath, causing general hilarity in the court and elsewhere (as it is on live television). When he eventually frees his finger the committee are drenched with water. He is absolved of communist leanings and is freed. He decides that he will leave America and return to Europe. Ann calls to say goodbye and tries to explain that the madness which is gripping America is temporary, and he should stay. He receives a telegram from Irene wanting a reconciliation and this is the path he chooses, not without some regret at leaving Ann. The King sees Rupert, whose parents have since been released due to his supposed 'co-operation' with the authorities. Rupert, who refused to co-operate with the committee, is very upset by this lie. The king says he must visit with his parents once the hysteria is over and leaves for Europe.


Charles Chaplin
Charles Chaplin
Charles Chaplin
Georges Périnal
Camera Operator:
Jeff Seaholme
Assistant Director:
René Dupont
Associate Producer:
Jerome Epstein
Art Director:
Allan Harris
John Seabourne
Tony Bohy
Charles Chaplin
Arranged by:
Boris Sarbek
Conducted by:
Leighton Lucas
Sound Supervisor:
John Cox
Sound Recording:
Bert Ross, Bob Jones
Sound Editor:
Spencer Reeve
Sound System:
Special Effects:
Wally Veevers
Barbara Cole
Stuart Freeborn.
Hair Stylist:
Helen Penfold
Wardrobe Supervisor:
J. Wilson-Apperson
Production Controller:
Mickey Delamar
Production Manager:
Eddie Pike
Charles Chaplin (King Shahdov)
Maxine Audley (Queen Irene)
Jerry Desmonde (Prime Minister Voudel)
Oliver Johnston (Ambassador Jaume)
Dawn Addams (Ann Kay - TV producer)
Sidney James (Johnson - TV advertiser)
Joan Ingrams (Mona Cromwell - Hostess)
Michael Chaplin (Rupert Macabee)
John McLaren (Mr Macabee)
Phil Brown (Headmaster)
Harry Green (Lawyer Green)
Robert Arden (Lift Boy)
Alan Gifford (School superintendent)
Robert Cawdron (US Marshal)
George Woodbridge (Member of Atomic Commission)
Clifford. Buckton (Member of Atomic Commission)
Vincent Lawson (Member of Atomic Commission)
Sham Wallis (Singer)
Joy Nichols (Singer)
Nicholas Tannar ( Butler)
George Truzzi (Comedian)
Laurie Lupino Lane (Comedian)
Macdonald Parke
12 September 1957
9891 ft