King in New York/a Woman of Paris

Overview

The pairing of A King in New York and A Woman of Paris manages to be both logical and ironic. They are among Charles Chaplin's more complex and seriously intended movies, but also are among his most obscure major works -- in contrast to the similarly serious The Great Dictator and Modern Times (both of which were well-known and widely seen in their own time and for years after their release). A Woman of Paris, despite being a critical success when it was released in 1924, disappeared from distribution for the ...
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Overview

The pairing of A King in New York and A Woman of Paris manages to be both logical and ironic. They are among Charles Chaplin's more complex and seriously intended movies, but also are among his most obscure major works -- in contrast to the similarly serious The Great Dictator and Modern Times (both of which were well-known and widely seen in their own time and for years after their release). A Woman of Paris, despite being a critical success when it was released in 1924, disappeared from distribution for the next four decades; A King in New York, which was a brilliant comedy but also a searing critique of American society, popular culture, and politics, wasn't seen in America until 1973, 15 years after it was made. So the pairing is natural, but the irony lies in the fact that A Woman of Paris co-starred Adolphe Menjou who, in the 1940s, became one of the most notorious, visible, and virulent red-baiters in Hollywood's acting fraternity, and contributed in no small way to the political climate that forced Chaplin into exile from the United States -- and which Chaplin was criticizing in much of A King in New York. Charles Chaplin's final starring film, A King in New York is a beautifully wrought, wistful romantic comedy, crossed with equally powerful elements of piercing satire aimed at American politics, rock & roll, progressive education, the advertising industry, and television. Not nearly as well known as Chaplin's earlier, more widely (and often) shown films such as Limelight, The Great Dictator, and Modern Times, it's one of the most delightful parts of Chaplin's oeuvre, and one of the most complex, for the sheer depth and range of comedic, satiric, and dramatic elements that Chaplin manages to pull together. It's the rival of The Great Dictator, but a little closer to home for most viewers, taking apart America's failings instead of those of Germany and prewar Europe. The DVD producers have transferred the source for the previous laserdisc edition to the digital format, without any upgrading of the sources. This is not a criticism, however -- the laserdisc looked good, and while it's possible that more could have been done with some of the elements (the first shot of the party scene has some problems in the film materials), this is acceptable. The movie has been broken into 20 chapters that are perfectly chosen and labeled, and the disc comes with the theatrical trailer and footage of Chaplin conducting the orchestra at the recording sessions for the score of A King in New York. The audio has been mastered at a very low level, but it pumps up nicely on speakers, with a full range of bass response that makes the music sequences very impressive. A King in New York is paired with one of Chaplin's more unusual films of Chaplin's silent period, A Woman of Paris, his first serious dramatic movie. It plays extremely well for a silent of its era and, astonishingly, the materials from this movie -- made some 33 years prior to A King in New York -- look nearly as good in many places as the source for the 1957 movie. A Woman of Paris isn't as generously outlined in its chapters, but it comes complete with seven minutes of material that was cut by Chaplin immediately after the premiere, and is supported by a beautiful orchestral score. Its supplement features the theatrical trailer from the movie's 1976 reissue that gives some of the movie's history. Also included are details of the program from the movie's 1924 London premiere, a copy of a memo telling of novelist Theodore Dreiser's reaction to the movie, and his favorable view of the idea of Chaplin directing an adaptation of his novel An American Tragedy. The trailer for A King in New York, intended for British audiences, is fascinating for what it doesn't say -- the film's comedic elements are emphasized, while its political and satirical edges are ignored entirely. The strangest moment in the supplement for either movie, however, is a newsreel clip of Chaplin conducting "Mandolin Serenade," part of the orchestral accompaniment for A King in New York. The menu is fairly straightforward, though to start the movie one must go to the first chapter of the film, rather than pressing "start." The package comes with a fold-out flap that does reasonable justice to both movies, though one misses the advantages of the laserdisc jacket's large canvas for writing.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/16/2000
  • UPC: 014381918625
  • Rating:

  • Source: Image Entertainment
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Black & White / Dolby 5.1 / Mono
  • Sound: Dolby Digital, monaural
  • Time: 3:20:00
  • Format: DVD

Scene Index

Side #1--
0. Chapter Selection
1. Main Title [2:09]
2. Revolution [:51]
3. Arrival in New York [5:01]
4. Seeing the Town [6:33]
5. Good Morning, Mr. & Mrs. America [5:23]
6. Plot of the Cromwell Woman [6:45]
7. The Evening's Entertainment [9:57]
8. Aftermath [7:35]
9. The Progressive School [7:28]
10. Major Problems [3:52]
11. A Solution Presents Itself [3:51]
12. The Biggest Laugh on Television [1:40]
13. The Facelift [6:30]
14. The Face Unlift [5:50]
15. Little Boy, Lost and Found [12:38]
16. The Hearings [4:05]
17. The King Gets Involved [7:14]
18. The Firehose Caper [5:31]
19. The King Leaves Town [5:26]
20. End Credits [1:08]
0. Chapter Selection
1. Main Title [1:05]
2. A Small Village, Somewhere In France [10:10]
3. Leaving For Paris [6:55]
4. A Night Out In The City Of Lights [7:11]
5. Morning In Paris [6:06]
6. Showdown That Evening [2:59]
7. The Latin Quarter [8:05]
8. Another Parisian Morning [5:12]
9. The Portrait And The Proposal [3:32]
10. Marriage Or Luxury [7:13]
11. But, Is There A Choice? [3:20]
12. A Long Paris Night [1:47]
13. The Pampered Courtesan [10:06]
14. The Remorseful Lover [2:31]
15. Yet Another Eventful Evening [10:03]
16. Time Heals [4:30]
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Menu

Side #1--
   A King In New York
      A King in New York Theatrical Trailer
      A King In New York Newsreel Presentation
   A Woman Of Paris
      A Woman Of Paris Theatrical Trailer
      A Woman Of Paris Supplement
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