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A King in New York Synopsis

“One of the minor annoyances of modern life”, states the opening title, “is a revolution”. King Shahdov, exiled from his European monarchy Estrovia, arrives in New York with plans to promote the peaceful uses of atomic energy. These plans are however frustrated by the discovery that his Prime Minister has absconded to South America with the royal funds.

The King and his loyal ambassador, Jaume, are introduced to the hazards of contemporary American civilisation – including rock ‘n’ roll, sex movies, Cinemascope, television advertising, plastic surgery and progressive schools. Ann Kay, a young advertising agent who has aroused his amorous interest, persuades the King to earn some money by appearing in television commercials.

Visiting a progressive school, Shahdov is harangued by Rupert, a precocious 10-year-old Marxist. Later he meets Rupert again, wandering homeless in the wintry streets: he has run away from school to avoid being interrogated about his parents’ political beliefs by the Un-American Activities Committee. The FBI take the boy away, and the King himself is called before the Committee. His appearance is a fiasco, when he becomes entangled with a fire hose and drenches the Committee. He is cleared of Communist taint, but decides to quit America. Before leaving he visits Rupert in school and finds the once spirited child is cowed and ashamed, having been tricked into informing on his parents’ friends.

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