>> Sunday, December 31, 2006
USA/C-97 m./Dir: Steve Gordon/Wr: Steve Gordon/Cast: Dudley Moore (Arthur Bach), Liza Minnelli (Linda Marolla), John Gielgud (Hobson)
Writer/director Steve Gordon concocted this affectionate throwback to screwball comedies of the 1930’s and included all of the trappings of the genre--witty dialogue, wealthy socialites, romantic hurdles, and vast quantities of liquor. Dudley Moore portrays the film’s title character, everyone’s favorite good-natured inebriate, Arthur Bach. Arthur is a giggling, drunken millionaire who simply wants to be loved. Unfortunately, his grasping relatives expect Arthur to expand their empire by marrying him off to the dull daughter of an equally rich businessman. Worst of all, the arranged bride intends to put an end to Arthur’s alky amusements. When instead Arthur falls for a working-class waitress (Liza Minnelli), he must choose between love and 750 million dollars.
Arthur turned out to be one of the funniest films of the Eighties, and the sparkling writing brought out career topping work from Moore, Minnelli, and John Gielgud (as Arthur’s butler and father figure, Hobson). It’s a shame Steve Gordon died only a year after directing this tipsy tour de force, his first and only directorial effort. We could have used a few more classy cocktails like this one.
Drinks Consumed-- Scotch (on the rocks), gin (martinis), beer, and champagne
Intoxicating Effects--Slurred speech, the giggles, swearing, staggering, stumbling, bad breath, soused sex, drunk driving, passing out, and public disturbance
Potent Quotables--ARTHUR: This is what I am. Everyone who drinks is not a poet. Some of us drink because we’re not poets.
SUSAN: A real woman could stop you from drinking.
ARTHUR: It would have to be a real big woman.
Video Availability--Unfortunately Arthur is only available in a full frame, pan and scan version on Region 1 DVD (Warner Brothers). This was an early DVD release that is in major need of an upgrade.
Similarly Sauced Cinema--Dudley, Liza, and even Sir John Gielgud returned for the 1988 sequel, Arthur 2: On the Rocks, but without Steve Gordon’s touch there was considerably less sparkle in the champagne.
Arthur/Arthur 2: On the Rocks (Double Feature DVD)