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'Son of Foster Brooks'
sampleman411-114 April 2002
Quite simply the funniest and shiniest film-comedy of all time... it's certainly on my personal top-ten list. This one also gets a solid ten on the voting scale. Millionaire heir, Arthur Bach (Moore), is a middle-aged 'child' who refuses to take the mature path in life and avoids all requisite responsibilities. He also refuses to leave the bottle. One day he and his personal butler, Hobson (Gielgud), go shopping at Bergdorf Goodman's and run into petty larcenist, Linda (Minnelli). Arthur and Linda's chemistry adds electricity to the rest of the film. There are hilarious set pieces aplenty. In one such scene, Arthur (drunk throughout most of the story) knocks on the wrong apartment door and receives ear shattering threats from a human 'siren' ("My husband has a gun!!!!). Performances by everyone involved should be duly noted: Geraldine Fitzgerald plays Arthur's loving-yet-ruthless grandmother, Sir John Gielgud almost steals the entire show with his acidic droll-isms (He took home the Oscar for this one), and Christopher Cross provides the Main Theme song (Oscar winner "Best That You Can Do"). It's a shame the late Dudley Moore passed away last month (March 2002).
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The laughs never get old.
budmassey23 February 2002
From the beginning of this movie it seems apparent that the role of Arthur was meant to be played by a much younger actor. By the end, it's clear that nobody other than Dudley Moore could have done it so well. Looking back, one remembers the sappy Christopher Cross theme song (does anyone remember Christopher Cross?) and oh-so-80's clothing and sets with an unavoidable nostalgia. But the triumvirate of Moore as Arthur, Liza Minnelli as Linda, and Sir Johnny G as the butler Hobson, dripping with sarcasm and at the pinnacle of his considerable talent, make this more than a throw-away farce.

All the best lines belong to Gielgud, and the Academy Award was hardly adequate for such a legendary performance. Moore's lovable drunk would wear thin in later years, but here it is a fresh and delightful tour de force in the most politically incorrect way. Liza is flawless, but one hates to see her in a non-musical role, for fear of squandering such an immense talent. But the chemistry, the synergy between these legends is palpable.

The laughs never get old. It is, however, a tragedy that the DVD is not available in cinematic aspect.
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Still a Charmer a Quarter Century Later Especially for the Well-Missed Talents of Moore and Gielgud
Ed Uyeshima1 August 2006
This 1981 comedy still sparkles thanks to the combined efforts of writer/director Steve Gordon and stars Dudley Moore and John Gielgud. Sadly, Gordon, only in his early forties, died soon after completing this, his only feature film. It's an especially unfortunate loss since he shows a truly deft hand at character-driven farce that makes the whole film irresistible. It plays almost like a 1930's-style screwball comedy revamped for contemporary tastes. The plot centers on Arthur Bach, a drunken, diminutive millionaire playboy who is at risk of losing his $750 million inheritance if he doesn't marry the dowdy and boring Susan Johnson, an heiress handpicked by his old-money father and dotty grandmother. Of course, he doesn't love her and by chance, runs into Linda Marolla, a working-class waitress (and of course, aspiring actress) after she pilfers a Bergdorf Goodman tie for her father.

The standard complications ensue but in a most endearing way with loads of alcohol-fueled slapstick executed with classic élan by Moore. That he makes such a spoiled character likable is a credit not only to his comic talents but to Gielgud's feisty, acidic turn as Hobson, Arthur's devoted but reality-grounded valet. It's the type of role he could play in his sleep, but Gielgud makes Hobson such a truly memorable character that his fate in the film brings a welcome injection of poignancy in the proceedings. In probably her most likable film role, Liza Minnelli hands the picture to her male co-stars by toning down her usual razzle-dazzle personality and making Linda quite genuine in motivation.

A pre-"LA Law" Jill Eikenberry plays Susan just at the right passive-aggressive note, while Barney Martin (Jerry's dad on "Seinfeld") steals all his scenes as Linda's slovenly father Ralph. The one fly in the ointment is veteran actress Geraldine Fitzgerald, who overdoes the eccentricities of the grandmother. And I have to admit that I still can't stand the very dated, overplayed Christopher Cross song that inevitably won the Oscar for that year's best song. Unfortunately, the 1997 DVD, certainly in need of remastering, has no extras worth noting except some photos and production notes.
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Delightful movie
Adriane11 July 2000
Delightful movie. Side splitting laughs at times, heart warming at others. Sir John Gielgud is wonderfully funny and poignant as Hobson, Arthur's butler. My favorite scene is where he goes to Liza Minnelli's house to talk to her, you really sympathize for him and her. Memorable song "The best that you can do", and unforgettable characters make this a feel-good memorable movie. Definitely on my Top 30 of all time. 10/10
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Dudley Moore Proves he's a Comic Powerhouse
Isaac58558 January 2007
The late Dudley Moore had the most famous role of his too-short career in 1981's ARTHUR, a raucously funny and alternately touching tale that generates warm smiles, big belly-laughs, and an occasional tear if you're in the right mood. Moore received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his performance as Arthur Bach, a drunken playboy who "races cars, plays tennis, fondles women, but he has weekends off and he's his own boss." Arthur is destined to inherit 750 million dollars when he marries a snooty society girl named Susan Johnston (Jill Eikenberry)who is the spoiled daughter of an undercover gangster. Things get sticky when Arthur meets Linda Morolla (Liza Minnelli) a waitress/struggling actress from Queens who steals neckties for her father's birthday. Moore lights up the screen in one of the single funniest performances of the last 50 years. The late Sir John Gielgud won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his flawless turn as Arthur's acid-tongued butler and best friend, Hobson, whose outward disdain for Arthur's behavior covers more paternal feelings. There are other funny contributions by Barney Martin as Linda's father. Stephen Elliott as Susan's father, and Geraldine Fitzgerald as Arthur's demented grandmother. The film was directed with a keen eye for comedy by a first time director named Steve Gordon, who, sadly, died the following the year. There was also a forgettable sequel several years later, but this instant classic is not to be missed.
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Genuinely witty!
nocurfupa16 September 2002
Ok, even if you can't stand Liza- this movie is truly hilarious! The scenes with John Gielgud make up for Liza. One of the true romantic comedy classics from the 20th century. Dudley Moore makes being drunk and irresponsible look cute and amusing and it is damn fun to watch! The one-liners are the best.
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One of the Funniest Films Ever!
Syl1 September 2006
Let's begin with that theme song sung by Christopher Cross. The song is "If you get caught between the moon and New York City." It's a great theme and song even after all these years, it never gets tiring. It really is a great song about New York City as well. Anyway, the great Dudley Moore CBE stars as a spoiled drunken millionaire who is engaged to Jill Eikenberry's character in the film. Jill would later star on LA Law. Anyway, he is served by his wonderful British butler, Sir John Gielgud OM who won an Academy Award for his performance in the film as Best Supporting Actor. Arthur falls in love with Liza Minnelli's character who is perfect in this film besides her performance in her Oscar winning role in Cabaret. No, Liza doesn't get to sing. She plays a diner waitress. Anyway I love Geraldine Fitzgerald as the Bach matriarch of the family who decides the family's fortune. Anyway, she is fabulous and should have gotten an academy award nomination herself for Best Supporting Actress. Barney Martin best known as Jerry's dad on Seinfeld plays Liza's dad. He's great too. The movie was well-written, acted, and delivered to the audience who wanted more of it.
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Classic comedy
six256112 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Listen up folks..... If you didn't see this movie in 1981 when you were between the ages of 18 and 25-ish you just won't get it. This is a classic comedy film which at the time was seen multiple times by fans, where dialog lines were repeated amongst friends over and over again. And the song, albeit corny now, worked perfectly in 1981 when Chris Cross- type music was the other norm, after the hair bands of course. It's a sweet, funny fairytale with a sad element involved watching Arthur live loud & inappropriately thru the over indulgence of alcohol. Sad state of affairs even today for some of the unhappy rich. I just watched it again tonight having not seen it in a dozen years or more. I laughed throughout. Dudley Moore was at his comedic best. But John Gielgud steals the show with his lines, said dryly as a proper butler would, but hysterical! He won the Academy Award for his role. This was also one of Liza Minnelli's finest moments. Sad, all but 2 of the main characters are dead today. All the more reason to see this movie for the first time or again. Add it to your library of "Films that Left an Impact on a Generation." And watch it with 1981 eyes, even if you were just a twinkle in your mom's eyes at that time! PS> the 2011 version is NOTHING like the original and it's a disgrace to this film and the memory of all involved that this hack-job of a film even carried the same title.
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Without comparison, a genuine classic!
EllaBond9 July 2011
Now, i will not deny that the 2011 remake was what brought me here, and also that i thoroughly enjoyed it. (despite my prior dislike of Mr brand)..

HOWEVER this movie, the original, showed how much better movies were 'back in the days'. Considering it was made exactly thirty years ago, i was surprised how much the comedy still stuck me with this gawkish grin through the whole thing...

I am outraged that Moore didn't win the Oscar for his performance! If Peter Cook (who Moore was said to have based Arthur on) was really like this when he was drunk then i don't why any comedians stay sober!

Now, without making unnecessary comparisons to the remake, i thought that considering that Dudley Moore was in his forties when he made this i couldn't deny his decidedly English charm oh and that laugh!

I am utterly ashamed i didn't know of this movie before, but at least thats something i can thank Russell for!
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One of the funniest films ever made.
Christian_Dimartino9 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Dudley Moore was an underrated English actor in his time. They all were underrated. It amazes me how lots of critics preferred the American version of "Death at a funeral" than the English version. And on the whole, the English are better when it comes to humor. Period.

Nobody has ever given a genuine drunk performance than Dudley Moore as Arthur. I have just read that Russell Brand is going to star in the remake of this film. As much as we love Russell Brand, I don't think he could do as good of a job as Dudley Moore did. Moore and whoever plays his butler are delightful, and this is a classic motion picture that should not have been touched. Though Brand is perfect, not perfect enough.

Moore obviously plays Arthur, a drunk playboy who finds out that his father will stop giving him money unless he marries the girl that he doesn't love. But then he meets Linda(played wonderfully by Liza Manelli) and he considers ditching the money.

The acting is delightful. So is the story plot. The relationship that Arthur and Hobson(the butler) is wonderful. This is just truly a wonderful film. Flawless. If you haven't seen it, you must. Before the remake comes out. It's a delightful film on everyone's behalf.

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If alcoholism is a disease then "Arthur"is mocking the afflicted....
ianlouisiana8 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
A former Oxford Organ Scholar and arguably the stage's greatest ever "Prospero" get together in a movie about a rich drunk.That's showbiz eh?Oh,and it also has the star of one of the best latter - day movie musicals in the third big role.It's called "Arthur" and it's almost thirty years old now.Back in 1981 it was still OK to laugh at drunks,especially rich ones with a nice line dry humour. Now we are more aware of the often tragic consequences of excessive alcohol consumption,Arthur's silly little indiscretions are merely cringe - making,driving his motor car whilst p*ssed out of his mind no longer entertaining but criminal. Mr Dudley Moore,a man like Peter Sellers who actually hated what he had become,was a working - class Essex Boy with the rough edges knocked off by his time at University.He employs an American accent in the same way that Mr Michael Caine does i.e. he barely bothers.He can do the drunk thing standing on his head.Sir John Gielgud,massively disdainful,plays much in the manner of his pal Mr Noel Coward,throwing away bon mots willy - nilly.Miss Liza Minnelli seems permanently amazed and is not convincing as a street - smart resting actress. The film is not helped by an over - familiar plot and stock characters in the supporting roles. I'm sorry,I cannot agree that this is a great comedy,it wasn't great even in 1981. Mr Moore's popularity - fine musician that he was - amazed even himself but when he began to fade he went back to music,his first love,but was never the same talent again. He gives an expert performance in "Arthur"but not an endearing one.
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Warm, Hilarious Alcoholic Fun
d_fienberg6 March 2001
Warning: Spoilers
If you consider that Arthur is basically a character study of an eccentric alcoholic and lacks much by way of a third act plot structure, it's a wonderfully successful movie. It's fairly easy to ignore the fact that even at 97 minutes, the film is running on pure charm for more than half that time. Wonderfully performances and a uniquely droll script (in 1939, it wouldn't have seemed unique, but in the past few decades, it has very little competition in its screwball genre) make Arthur well worth returning to.

Arthur Bach (Dudley Moore) is a funny alcoholic. As such, we'd hardly care about him. He wouldn't get into the finest restaurants. He wouldn't go on elaborate shopping sprees. And we wouldn't get the girls. However, Arthur is also the heir to a fortune approaching a billion dollars. He's never worked a day in his life and he has two servants, Hobson and Bitterman, who have been with him forever. But his father finally makes an ultimatum -- either Arthur marries the devoted (and rich) Susan Johnson (well pre-LA Law Jill Eikenberry), or he'll be cut off. And wouldn't you know it? This happens just as Arthur is falling in love (perhaps for the very first time) with waitress/aspiring actress Linda (Liza Minnelli). Will Arthur choose the money or the girl? You've seen this kind of movie before, so you know where it's going.

Steve Gordon's script is so wonderful that you forget that as a director he's basically standing as far back as possible and letting the cast kick the great dialogue up a notch.

Arthur is about Dudley Moore's laugh. It's the first thing we hear and it rings through the whole film. It's a manic uncontrollable thing and probably if your neighbor laughed like that, you'd get sick of him within an hour. For some reason, Moore makes sure that we never get sick of Arthur. We don't get sick of his life of privilege, of his demands, of his embarrassing himself and the people who love him. We don't get sick of his silly rationalizing for his drunken state. And these are remarkable facts. Moore also gets to play the piano (a brilliant skill), fall over things (one of Moore's best), and kiss a horse (no comment required). Moore also has terrific chemistry with Minnelli, who certainly hasn't been better since. Minnelli's character's major flaw is that you never really get the minute she stops liking Arthur for his money and starts loving the man. I don't blame her for that.

The first two thirds of the movie, though, completely belong to John Gielgud. One of the three greatest Shakespearean actors of his generation and this is what most filmgoers remember him for. Playing a butler! And yet the amazement of his performance is that you never feel that he's slumming, even when he's sitting in bed wearing a cowboy hat. Beyond just being the moral center of the film, nobody does better service to Gordon's dialogue. Gielgud's Hobson may be quick to tell people off, but you never doubt he cares.

As I said earlier, the film doesn't really make it all the way to the end. It's not a spoiler to observe that the ending feels arbitrary and unmotivated. You would also be correct in wondering if this film's depiction of alcoholics is troublingly frivolous, even for a light comedy. But honestly, see how long you're troubled for. I suspect it won't last through Arthur's first dinner date with hooker in stretch pants.

This is a 7.5/10, I think. And I'll alert the media.
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Witty and warm, and lots of booze. Three great actors combine.
secondtake26 December 2016
Arthur (1981)

I'm no Dudley Moore fan, but this grew on me and I found him not only hilarious but, as intended, touching. He is supported by two very different kinds of actors—John Gielgud and Liza Minnelli—but they form a wonderful trio.

The story is a timeless one—the rich man who is out of touch with what really matters in life. This isn't pushed very far, and the end is pretty inevitable, but the journey is great fun mostly because Moore is relentlessly funny. Minnelli plays a great strong woman foil to him, and is obviously what he needs in life. The "romance" between them is never very convincing because it remains a bit practical—they don't have that great scene where we expect them to truly "fall in love," and that's just fine. (The closest is the scene in the horse barn, which has one of the funnies lines in the movie, which almost feels like a Moore ad lib, you'll see.)

The aging butler played by Gielgud is more nuanced and funny than the cliché of the English butler in so many movies. It's weird to see him play this kind of role when his repertoire ranges more to Shakespeare (he's one of England's great 20th Century stage actors).

So love this not for the story, which is lovable but plain, but for the three actors and their ongoing wit and verve. A fun fun movie.
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A drunk playboy millionaire learns about love.
JMSchmidtty23 March 2012
This is one of my favorite movies of all time. It's very funny, with a great performances by Dudley Moore (in the title role), Sir John Gielgud (as his butler) and Liza Minelli (as his love interest). It's also a great love story. It is also extremely well-written, as well as being well acted. I have no idea why anybody could NOT like this movie, as it is both funny, romantic, and sad at the same time. It also has several great scenes (Arthur with Hobson (John Gielgud) in the hospital, for instance). Its music by Burt Bacharach, as well as its theme by Christopher Cross are also very well done. I would recommend this to anybody in the film community.
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Now this is one funny movie!
Jetset9711 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I never get tired of watching this movie! Dudley Moore is at the top of his comedic game, and surprisingly at his tender dramatic game, as the inebriated-but still lovable- millionaire Arthur Bach. Kudos to the script and the director for not having Arthur drunk throughout the whole movie. He spends an equal amount of time sober and I believe that had they kept him drunk throughout the film it would have become a tired joke that would have grated on the audience. As for the rest of the cast, they too are outstanding. Liza Minnelli, gives a sweet performance as a working class girl with a heart of gold. John Gieldgood is flawless as Arthurs dry witted long suffering butler/friend/tutor Hopsen. My favorite scene is when Arthur is with Hopsen and says that he is about to take a bath and Hopsen reply's, "I shall alert the media". LOL!!!!!!!!! See this movie. It is a laugh riot!
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Surprisingly, dreadful
Tito-828 January 2001
I fully expected to enjoy this movie when I finally saw it for the first time a month ago. Instead, I watched one of the worst mainstream comedies that I've EVER seen. I never laughed once, and I became bored less than halfway through the movie. Perhaps my biggest problem with this film involved the characters. I mean, the ones that we're SUPPOSED to like included a raging alcoholic, a shoplifter, and a snobby butler. Still, the movie could have been a success if they had been involved in humorous situations, or even if they had the occasional funny line. Unfortunately, this film is nowhere near as funny as the title character thinks he is.
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A Real Arthur
bkoganbing12 July 2006
Arthur has always been a personal film for me for two reasons. A good friend of mine who worked on the film as an extra and to help out with the horses during the stable scene just recently passed away. If you look fast you can see Frank Graham during the restaurant scene in the background while Dudley Moore and Jill Eikenberry are in conversation. Frank was a champion equestrian and will be missed by all who knew him.

Secondly though, I actually knew a real life Arthur Bach. He was not quite as wealthy as Arthur, but spent 47 years of his life basically as a kid. His parents tightly controlled his purse strings, but his rent and utilities were paid for in a basement apartment in Greenwich Village. He spent a good deal of his time getting himself intoxicated on various spirits and making a public spectacle of himself, just like Dudley Moore does.

The wonder with Arthur is why anyone would bother with him wealth of not. But that's the other half of the equation. My friend was a most charming person when you got to know him. In fact it was almost a compulsion to be charming. He couldn't buy a newspaper or magazine without trying to establish some level of relationship with the vendor. He spent his life being a perfect party guest. The term wastrel which was in common use in the 19th century would apply to him.

And that's what Dudley Moore is, a wastrel. Unlike my friend Moore has John Gielgud to clean up after him. That's a full time job as we see demonstrated in Arthur. My friend also never found a Liza Minnelli, a male Liza Minnelli in fact because he was gay. Still Moore's portrayal of Arthur Bach is deadly accurate and so real for me.

Arthur, 20th century wastrel, is being forced to marry another trust fund baby in Jill Eikenberry. Since he won't work for a living, the threat of being cut off is quite real for him. He only has his butler Hobson played by John Gielgud and chauffeur Bitterman played by Ted Post to pour his troubles out to. We should all have such troubles.

John Gielgud in his nearly century of life certainly did better work than in Arthur on film and in fact Gielgud is more prominently known for his stage performances. Yet 1981 was a year of sentiment at Oscar time. The Academy gave Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn Oscars for On Golden Pond and Gielgud the Best Supporting Actor Award essentially for the work of a lifetime. That man was amazing, still at his craft almost to the end.

So to Frank Graham who worked in the film and to Jackie Weiss, a genuine real life Arthur, I dedicate this review.
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Mister-615 September 1999
Remember when Dudley Moore was REALLY funny?

If not, this movie should jog your memory.

In a role that he would forever be identified with, Moore makes the part of "Arthur" all his own. As a poor little rich boy who refuses to grow up and desires to spend his every waking moment drunk, Moore breathes life into what would otherwise be a caricature, making him touching, human and as frail as a child.

Steve Gordon's writing and directing are both impeccable; the look is befitting a fairy tale. And the dialogue, while romantic at heart, also lets loose with some of the most quotable zingers ever written, beginning to end. And everyone gets at least one or two good ones.

Minelli, Fitzgerald, Ross, Eikenberry, Martin and everyone else resist the urge to overplay, but instead just say their lines as anyone else would say them. In the process, making them all the funnier. I especially liked Moore's scene with Hamilton near the end where the prevalent line is "Oh, my GAHD!" I can explain no more, you'll just have to see it.

In contrast, Gielgud's part as Hobson, the proper yet protective valet, is as showy as anything. Yet Gielgud is such a pro that it comes off as easy as a walk in the park. His lines steal the show, and he earned every award he won for his role. In the end, even Hobson finds that he needs Arthur as much as Arthur needs him.

I can't say enough good about "Arthur". Really. If you want a lift in your day, watch it.

Is "Arthur" that good? It doesn't suck.

Ten stars. Cheers.
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Great comedy for drinkers and rich men
Minsky9531 March 2002
I first heard about this movie from my Nana. she would talk about it all of the time and I didn't know what she was talking about. I finally watched the moved when I was in High School and I thought that it was hilarious. I loved the comedy and I loved the butler. I liked the relationship they had with one another. The butler was so sarcastic and Arthur was just so funny when he was drunk. The movie is not nasty humor, but it's fun humor. The storyling is not too complicated and I like ending. I think you will too.
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A Classic Comedy!
JR54118 December 2002
Simply one of the funniest movies ever. Nearly every scene has a quotable funny line. At points the laughter through tears cliche fits perfectly. Not too often that one actor in a comedy gets nominated for an oscar which Moore does and Gielgud wins for best supporting actor. Just plain funny.
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A few laughs, nothing more
Cheese Hoven21 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
"BILLIONAIRE CHILDISH DRUNKARD WHO HAS NEVER DONE AN HONEST DAY'S WORK IN HIS LIFE" is hardly the sort of character an audience is supposed to care about, and to tell the truth, despite the innate charm of Dudley Moore, the film never escapes from this premise. We're obviously meant to be rooting for Arthur but what are we meant to be rooting for? Are we meant to be happy for him when he retains his near-billion dollar inheritance at the end? I'm guessing most people would think getting a job would do Arthur good, especially when the only moment in the film when he accepts adult responsibility- taking care of his sickly butler- is when he manages to sober up. Are we meant to think he will give up drinking? Hardly likely considering he has just be rewarded for his drunkenness. Or perhaps we should think "Let him keep on drinking, as long as he's happy." What's certain, though, is that we are meant to feel happy for Arthur that he has followed his heart. Yet the way in which he rejects his fiancée, by turning up blind drunk on their wedding day and telling her he doesn't love her, is despicable. She's an innocent in this and genuinely cares for Arthur, but her rejection is cruel, but we are supposed to side with him. This odd mixture of tone is evident through out. Arthur's drunk shtick is funny for five minutes, but for the whole film? Likewise, his snooty butler's withering comments are truly hilarious at first but wear a bit thin. The writers cannot think of anything better to do with him than kill him off. Yet he remains the reason why so many fondly remember this film. The butler's importance to the film is evident by how bad the ending is without his presence. It is here where the poor writing becomes most obvious. As stated, Arthur, who has previously sobered up, arrives blind drunk at his wedding. Are we meant to laugh at this or feel sorry for him? Should we think his return to alcohol is a regression or an advance? Having Arthur turn up sober and in a dignified way informing the family that he could not go through with it would have shown his character maturing. But my guess is that to the writers drunk=funny and drunk on his wedding day=double funny.
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Not good at all
gdownie-210 February 2006
I've been going through the AFI's list of the top 100 comedies, and I must say that this is truly one of the worst. Not just of the 90 movies on the list I've seen, but of any movie I've ever seen. Drunks are funny sometimes, Dudley isn't. Liza almost made it worthwhile, but alas... just go watch Arrested Development if you want to see her in something good. Seriously, Dudley laughing and drinking is supposed to be funny? I would highly recommend almost ANY other movie on the AFI's top 100 comedies for more laughs than this. If you want to see a funnier "drunk", try The Thin Man. Funnier movie in general, any Marx Brothers movie will kill (especially if you're as drunk as Arthur).
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