Recently, I watched the 1981 romantic comedy "Arthur" for the first time in a long time. I discovered that nearly three decades after its initial release this film has not lost its any of its charm. Arthur Bach (Dudley Moore) is a hapless millionaire playboy who is rarely sober and seems entirely incapable of doing anything for himself. Lucky for him that his trusted valet Hobson (John Gielgud) is usually around and looking out for his interests. Sadly, Arthur is a young man with no goals and no ambition. And to make matters worse his family has arranged for Arthur marry to a wealthy socialite named Susan Johnson (Jill Eikenberry). The only problem is that Arthur has no feelings at all for this girl and his family has threatened to cut off his inheritance if he refuses to go along. It's no wonder that Arthur is resorting more and more to the bottle for comfort.
Then one day during one of his frequent and frivilous shopping excursions downtown Arthur witnesses an event that would change his life forever. An attractive young working girl named Linda Marolla (Liza Minnelli) has been nabbed for shoplifting. Seeing her predicament Arthur comes to her rescue by pretending that she was with him. It is quite apparent that in just the course of a few short minutes our hero has fallen head over heels for this young lady. And who could blame him? As I recall I was so taken with Liza Minnelli in her role of Linda that I wanted to step right into the movie and marry her myself! For the first time in his life Arthur is in love and Linda views Arthur as her knight in shining armor. But hold on! Will Arthur renounce the family fortune to marry Linda or will he cave in and submit to his father's wishes and marry Susan? The fact is that there are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake here. It is this dilemma that "Arthur" is all about and it makes for both a touching and hilarious motion picture.
"Arthur" was a huge hit at the box office back in 1981 earning Warner Brothers in the neighborhood of $82 million. Dudley Moore did a workmanlike job in the role of Arthur Bach and was nominated for an Academy Award. But I particularly enjoyed the work of Liza Minnelli and John Gielgud who both turned in unforgettable performances. In fact, Gielgud won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. In addition, the Burt Bacharach/Peter Allen tune "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" sung by Christopher Cross won the Academy Award for best song and ranked among the top singles for 1981. Recently, I discovered that plans are afoot to do a remake of "Arthur". Bad idea. It is doubtful that you could ever recreate the magic that you will find in the original. "Arthur" remains one of my 20 or so favorite movies of all-time. Don't mess with it! Very highly recommended!
What did you think of this review?