ARTHUR (1981)

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Director: Steve Gordon
MPAA Rating: PG (rated before PG-13 rating existed; today, may be PG-13)
Running Time: 97 min.

Arthur Bach has always relied on his family’s fortune to make him happy.  He spends most of his money on alcohol and women and is famous for being a drunken playboy.  When his father and grandmother threaten to cut him off unless he marries heiress Susan Johnson, Arthur reluctantly agrees—for although he does not love Susan and although Susan’s ex-convict self-made-millionaire father threatens to kill him if he does not clean up his act, quit drinking, and go to work, Arthur cannot imagine a life without his family’s money.  But that is all before he meets Linda, a neck-tie stealing, penniless, waitress from Queens with whom Arthur immediately falls in love.  Encouraged by his elderly butler and father-figure, Hobson, Arthur must decide whether his love for Linda is worth forfeiting the comfortable lifestyle he has known all of his life.

This relatively light, hilarious comedy is one of my favorites.  True to Dudley Moore’s style, the comedy is a mixture of witty lines and slapstick humor.  My favorite character is John Gielgud’s Hobson, who delivers all of his hilariously sarcastic lines with a perfect deadpan.  The relationship between Arthur and Hobson is quite touching and grounds the otherwise silly, light comedy.  I highly recommend this film to viewers who like British comedies (although the film is American) and/or both witty wordplay and slapstick humor!

If you like Arthur, you might like the 1967 Dudley Moore/Peter Cook comedy Bedazzled.

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