We’re opening the 15th edition of the Slapstick Festival with… a talkie! Charlie Chaplin’s take on 1950s America, A King in New York stars Chaplin as a peaceable king who runs afoul of the House Un-American Activities Committee.
When King Igor Shahdov (Chaplin) flees the revolutionaries of Estonia, he arrives in New York City with almost nothing. With a theatre background, Shahdov finds work in TV commercials, but when he befriends 10-year-old Rupert Macabee (Michael Chaplin) and the boy's communist parents, the U.S. House Un-American Activities Committee deems Shahdov a communist and arrests Rupert's family. Enraged at American paranoia, Shahdov fights the HUAC for the family's freedom.
Made during Chaplin’s exile from the US due to his leftist views, Italian director Roberto Rossellini wisely described it as "the film of a free man.”