Pocket Review, Title Arthur, Studio Warner Bros., Rating 4.5,
When Arthur first came out, Dudley Moore's comic acting had already gotten my attention, but the premise seemed like it was built on a single joke, and I had no interest in seeing it. After some critical acclaim, I reluctantly joined the queue, and was amazed at what was conjured out of rich drunk guy jokes.
John Gielgud was the big surprise, as I had only seen him in dramatic roles, and he made the movie as the educated, dry witted and very sarcastic butler. Dudley Moore was great as the drunk millionaire Arthur, burbling good will and stumbling from one funny scene to another. Liza Minelli probably outdid herself as the girlfriend.
The comic timing in this movie would be hard to improve upon. Casting Liza Minelli as a love interest was a stretch, but she delivered with her physical and verbal comedy. Gielgud provided the leavening, his severe mien softening enough to reveal his good heart.
The supporting cast was quite good, too, with Geraldine Fitzgerald as Arthur’s dainty looking but ruthless grandmother, and Jill Eikenberry as Arthur’s patronizing, long-suffering fiancĂ©e. Special mention goes to Stephen Elliott as Eikenberry’s father, another ruthless rich man: his physical comedy rivals that of Ned Beatty in the boardroom scene of Network.