Friday, February 14, 2014
Looking over my recent posts I realized that this is the first comedy (not counting Manborg) film I've talked about in 2014. Arthur is slow paced for a comedy and features a lot of dry humor. The story is pretty basic but told well with good acting to support the solid writing. The jokes are great but the writing is more than just funny with well-developed characters and good setups and payoffs.
Dudley Moore plays Arthur, a rich drunk who will only inherit his family's fortune if he marries Susan, the daughter of a wealthy businessman. However, Arthur instead falls in love with a working-class woman named Linda (Liza Minnelli). The relationship between Arthur and his butler Hobson (John Gielgud) is surprisingly touching for a comedy. Hobson is much closer to Arthur and a better father figure for him that Arthur's actual father. Hobson is the typical British butler, but truly cares about Arthur like a son (think Jeeves from the stories of P.G. Wodehouse or Alfred from Batman) thanks to Gielgud's top notch performance and wonderful chemistry with Dudley Moore.
It's impossible for me to pick a favorite scene or line as I found the movie hilarious as a whole. One scene in particular that I loved involved a moose!
The Academy Awards tend not to recognize comedies but Arthur proved to be an exception. Gielgud won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and the theme song by Christopher Cross won Best Original Song. Dudley Moore was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role and Steve Gordon received a nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Sadly, Arthur is the only film directed by Steve Gordon (who also was the writer) as he died the year after it was released.