Arthur is a 1981 American romantic comedy film written and directed by Steve Gordon. It stars Dudley Moore as Arthur Bach, a drunken New York City millionaire who is close to an arranged marriage to a wealthy heiress, but ends up falling in love with a common working-class girl from queens, played by Liza Minelli.
Arthur Bach is a spolied alcoholic from New York City, who likes to be chauffeured around in his Rolls Royce Silver Wraith limousine through Central Park. Arthur is heir to a portion of his family’s fortune, but only marries upper class Susan Johnson, the business aquaintance of his father. He does not love Susan, but his family feels that she will finally make him grow up. On a shopping trip with his valet Hobson, he sees a young lady, Linda Marolla, shoplifting a necktie. He negotiates with the security guard on her behalf and later asks her out. Despite his feelings for Linda, Arthur remains burdened by his family to marry Susan.
While visiting his grandmother, Martha, Arthur shares his feelings for Linda, but is warned that he will be disowned if he doesn’t marry Susan. Hobson, who has been more like a father to Arthur than his real father, realizes that he is starting grow up and secretly invites Linda to Arthur’s engagement party. Hobson tells her that he can sense Arthur’s love for her. Linda crashes the party, held at the estate of Arthur’s father, and she and Arthur get to spend time alone, which is traced by both families. Hobson is later hospitalized and Arthur runs to be by his side. Hobson dies and Arthur, who has been sober, goes on a drinking binge. At the diner where Linda works, Arthur proposes to her.
This film is equal parts funny, sweet and romantic. Dudley Moore is fantastic as the rich, spoiled Arthur Bach, who eventually learns wealth status is really not important in order to be happy. Liza Minelli, who we are so used to as a musical star, is great as Linda Marolla, the working-class girl that doesn’t need a lavish lifestyle to be content.
Arthur, although rich, realizes money and expensive things don’t make a person happy, as he is still lonely and has never been married. His family thinks that forcing him to marry a wealthy lady will help him grow up and be happy, but it does the complete opposite after he meets Linda. This movie shows how lavishness does not equal satisfaction,and that oftentimes, less is more.
Much of the humor and lines in this movie are cheesy, but not over the top. The plot of this film is very simple, but it is still entertaining and at times, laugh out loud funny and heartwarming. There is a good amount of time spent on Arthur’s booze binge after Hobson’s death, which doe make this movie a lttle less enjoyable, but at the same time, you can understand it.
Anyone who has never experienced love, or love in a long time can sympathize Arthur, also anyone with deep depression can too. Without the character of Linda Marolla, this would have been a dud a film. She is the breath of fresh air it needed to be really good, because I would have turned this movie off after about 20 or so minutes as it would have been nothing more than a story about a lonely, depressed, spoiled man wanting love. Although this film starts out that way, it does get a lot better when she is introduced.
Overall, this a good, not great movie. The acting is outstanding and the story is cute, but perhaps this is too simple of a motion picture, not enough action and drama, so it lacks in entertainment value. But it’s still not terrible, just not something I can watch all the time. It is rather slow and little on the cheesy side, but that may just be because of Dudley Moore, who was known for his campy characters and humor, but at the same time, I can’t imagine anyone else in the main role. This is one of the more serious, yet, still humorous roles that Liza has played and she is not campy or annoying like Dudley’s character, although they are perfect together.
What this film lacks in entertainment, it does make up for in being inspirational, charming and funny. 10+ 3.5/5