Thursday, September 1, 2011

Arthur (1981)

Very Funny

- Arthur Bach (Dudley Moore) needs to grow up - but that is unfortunately not the only thing he needs to do.... According to his extremely rich father, Arthur must marry a certain wealthy Susan Johnson or he will be cut off from the family money ($750 million dollars' worth). The problem is, Arthur does not love Susan (though I hear she makes some good chicken), recently falling head-over-heels for a waitress and part-time shop-lifter Linda Marolla (Liza Minnelli).

Arthur is an interesting fellow. He is really just a big kid, born into riches with at least one person looking after him every second of every day. Working just rubs Arthur the wrong way - he likes to have fun, womanize, and of course, drink. Drinking gives Arthur a sort of Jekyll-and-Hyde complex; and while that gets him into all sorts of trouble, it is absolutely hilarious to watch on screen.

Dudley Moore is great here in this film as Arthur Bach, earning an Oscar nomination and Golden Globe win for his performance. Moore is fantastic with the comedic aspects of the film, turning the already funny lines into unforgettable and quotable comedic gold, but he is also great in bringing Arthur down to a relatable level and making the character likable. Moore has some help in the co-star department - Liza Minnelli is great as Lina, the spirited nobody who Arthur cannot get enough of, and John Gielgud is terrific as Arthur's butler Hobson. Gielgud won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in this film; and there is no doubting why. Hobson has a stone-solid dry wit and stuck up attitude but he is also always looking out for Arthur - and Gielgud is perfect in the role.

Steve Gordon's 1981 film Arthur is short and simple, delivering laughs a-plenty but also, unfortunately, dumb sequels.

CBC Rating: 8/10

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