Charlie chaplin who is known as one of the great names in cinema,the first auteur,director,writer,actor,music,producer...he was the pioneer and many later comics even in america like jackie gleason or at times jerry lewis,marx brothers,laurel & Hardy & three stooges(leonard maltin has a new book coming on them a critic who understands comedy),and his type of comedy which is like an ancient Dickens novel,looking at vulnerable people and victims,with a christian-like sentiment,and strung together with masterful comedy hijinks and slapstick and pacing and dialogue...there just is no equal. The above acts,and they are past in hollywood,tried in ways to mimic them in ways...Charlie chaplin was for all intensive purposes exiled from the u.s. where he long lived (for an interesting new look at his career see 'graham greene and charlie chaplin' in dangerous edges of gg,
pp 250-62)..and supposedly he was supposed to go for trial a world international film celebrity? FBI accordingly had files on him and others,speaking to presidents and all kinds of normal americans involved in business,...anyways for whatever reason Chaplin did not return to the trial?...and he thought his film career was over and went home and dedided to write this last film...a goodbye to films..a king in new york? It is not so much anti government,but as government takes away from freedom a view around since joseph conrad's 'the human agent.' The past is the past...the film opens with a banished king losing kingdom wealth and friends,a shakespearean theme of a banished king like the greek play timon of athens, and he comes to new york for refuge,a sanctuary from the medieval world. The first half,is great. The opening scene of divorced couple,and how they try to be good to each other,decent,pleasent laugh and are a source of fun is what all divorce couples should be...they dont even want alimoney...like citizens of heaven. This female character dawn...is a nicely wrought character and here a comedian has imagined her ..and there's a nightclub scene...with great comedy...and then communications..and saling..and ads...and these scenes are really prophetic in terms of modern society and journalism,in terms of broadcasting and what's 'photogenic'...we get the idea that Chaplin who tended to have many literary friends,was also a great reader..artistically this is the best part of the film..the second half is a political satire. Here we have his scene with a boy...who is introduced Dickens like for us to sympathize with,and his parents who are communist,are in trouble with authorities,and this is really a witch hunt story,and this scene is didactic but an unsubtle artistic misfire and embarrassing. It is didactic but unnatural...no little boy would behave in this way. In which he talks to the viewer,of why he cant read a book,about freedoms,...and he goes on and on about the power of the state and concentration of powers which are a real threat to all of us..bureaucratization. The Chaplin hero helps him and his family,and the bureaucrats are shown to corrupt the school system....and here the film develops to a crescendo...where the Chaplin character appears before a court(a foreign person)and sprays the judges with a water cannon. The scene is also unartistic and unsubtle,anger getting the better of the artist...the film is best sene today as a warning against what's become of our modern states,brave new world where all kinds of info is collected and intrusions are apparent,usualyy against innocent people,...and also how communications are largely sensualized due to the weaknesses of modern character and as the film says the change in 'values.' The film ideas often overwhelm in a film not released in the u.s....and was not that well received elsewhere...historically we still do not have answers to this absurdity episode...a woman of paris is Chaplin's first non comedy about a woman seeking refuge..finding none...moving to france and finding friendships with man women,and a freedom of spirit,and good times..the woman are attractive and there's a sideplot about parents of male interest...it is a silent film and surprisingly fared poorly...but is very good but Chaplin does not appear probably why it did poorly...the ending is nice where a woman finds happiness disposed to the children surrounding her...a good look at european filmmaking probably chaplin's other works are more approachable,this satire on modern states,secrecy and other matters.