The late, great comedic genius Dudley Moore does a star turn as Arthur Bach the lovable lush in this 1981 comedy also starring Liza Minnelli as the love of his life, Linda Marola, and Sir John Gielgud as Hobson, his snooty but faithful manservant.
ARTHUR could not have been made today. His incessant drinking, comic then, would be considered so Politically Incorrect today that nobody would want to touch it---the sequel, ARTHUR 2: ON THE ROCKS, released a bare two years later, was already being criticized as too flippant in its treatment of alcoholism. So went the Reagan Revolution.
Regardless of the political climate, ARTHUR is a funny film. The witty by-play between the two Englishmen, Moore and Gielgud, is so dry snd razor sharp it has yet to dull after twenty seven years and countless viewings. Moore described their dialogue as "the give-and-take between two RAF pilots during the War," and that is as accurate a description as can be found anywhere---
"Do you know what I'm going to do?"
"No, I don't."
"I'm going to take a bath."
"I'll alert the media."
"Arthur, I see no reason to continue this conversation [with Linda Marola]; that is, unless you're planning to knock over a fruit stand later on this evening."
Linda [To Arthur]: "What should I wear?"
Hobson: "Steal something casual."
Bert Johnson [Athur's father-in-law-to-be]: "I protect what's mine. And I do it in an ugly way."
Arthur: "Um...I can see that."
Bert Johnson: "I killed a man when I was eleven years old."
Arthur: "When you're that age I bet you don't even know there's a law against that."
Bert Johnson: "He was hungry. He came into our house. To steal our food."
Arthur [waving a hand]: "Oh. Well, he was just asking for it."
Bert Johnson: "I took a knife. And I stabbed him in the kitchen."
Arthur [horrified]: "I guess your family ate out that night...what...with that man... lying there on the...floor."
Perry's Wife [screaming]: "WHAT DO YOU WANT???????
Arthur [startled almost sober]: Yaaahhh! I was looking for Linda I hope this is the wrong house excuse me!
Perry's Wife [screaming]: "MY HUSBAND HAS A GUN!!!!!!!"
Arthur: "I'm sure he does, Madame. For all I know, he probably shot it while you were shouting."
---and so on. ARTHUR contains some of the funniest and most memorable one-liners ever written for the screen, and the dichotomy between Arthur's stuffy Old Money family, the gentle Arthur, and the solid working class Linda is riotous. When viewing ARTHUR, I am always surprised at how fast this film moves along, the hallmark of an enjoyable experience.
With nary a slow spot, ARTHUR is guaranteed to entertain.