Arthur (1981 film)

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Arthur
ArthurDVD.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Steve Gordon
Produced by Robert Greenhut
Written bySteve Gordon
Starring Dudley Moore
Liza Minnelli
John Gielgud
Music by Burt Bacharach
CinematographyFred Schuler
Edited by Susan E. Morse
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date
  • July 17, 1981 (1981-07-17)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$7 million
Box office$95,461,682 [1]

Arthur is a 1981 American comedy film written and directed by Steve Gordon. The film stars Dudley Moore as the eponymous Arthur Bach, a drunken New York City millionaire who is on the brink of an arranged marriage to a wealthy heiress, but ends up falling for a common working-class girl from Queens. It was the first and only film directed by Gordon, who died in 1982 of a heart attack at age 44.

Comedy is a genre of film in which the main emphasis is on humour. These films are designed to make the audience laugh through amusement and most often work by exaggerating characteristics for humorous effect. Films in this style traditionally have a happy ending. One of the oldest genres in film, some of the very first silent movies were comedies, as slapstick comedy often relies on visual depictions, without requiring sound. When sound films became more prevalent during the 1920s, comedy films took another swing, as laughter could result from burlesque situations but also dialogue.

Steve Gordon was an American screenwriter and film director who is best known for writing and directing the 1981 comedy Arthur, starring Dudley Moore. Gordon died in New York City on November 27, 1982, from a heart attack. He was 44 years old.

Dudley Moore English actor, comedian, composer and musician

Dudley Stuart John Moore, CBE was an English actor, comedian, musician and composer.

Contents

Arthur earned over $95 million domestically, making it the fourth-highest-grossing film of 1981. [2] Its title song, "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)", won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Co-written by Christopher Cross, Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager and Peter Allen, it was performed by Christopher Cross. Sir John Gielgud also won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. The film was nominated for two other Academy Awards.

The following is an overview of events in 1981 in film, including the highest-grossing films, award ceremonies and festivals, a list of films released and notable deaths.

Arthurs Theme (Best That You Can Do) main theme for the 1981 film Arthur

"Arthur's Theme " is a song performed and co-written by American singer-songwriter Christopher Cross, which was the main theme for the 1981 film Arthur starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli. The song won the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1982. In the US, it reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and on the Hot Adult Contemporary charts during October 1981, remaining at the top on the Hot 100 for three consecutive weeks. Overseas, it also went to number one on the VG-lista chart in Norway, and was a top ten hit in several other countries. The song became the second and last American number one hit by Christopher Cross. It was included as a bonus track only on the CD & Cassette versions of his second album Another Page, released in 1983.

Academy Awards American awards given annually for excellence in cinematic achievements

The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, are a set of awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry, given annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), to recognize excellence in cinematic achievements as assessed by the Academy's voting membership. The various category winners are awarded a copy of a golden statuette, officially called the "Academy Award of Merit", although more commonly referred to by its nickname "Oscar". The award was originally sculpted by George Stanley from a design sketch by Cedric Gibbons. AMPAS first presented it in 1929 at a private dinner hosted by Douglas Fairbanks in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

Plot

Arthur Bach is a spoiled alcoholic from New York City, who likes to be driven in his chauffeured Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith limousine through Central Park. Arthur is heir to a portion of his family's vast fortune, which he is told will be his, only if he marries the upper class Susan Johnson, the daughter of a business acquaintance of his father. He does not love Susan, but his family feels that she will make him finally grow up. During a shopping trip in Manhattan, accompanied by his valet Hobson, Arthur witnesses a young woman, Linda Morolla, shoplifting a necktie. He intercedes with the store security guard on her behalf, and later asks her for a date. Despite his attraction to her, Arthur remains pressured by his family to marry Susan.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States and thus also in the state of New York. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith

The Silver Wraith was the first post-war Rolls-Royce. It was made from 1946 to 1958 as only a chassis at Rolls-Royce's former Merlin engine plant, their Crewe factory, alongside the shorter Bentley Mark VI. The Bentley too was available as a chassis for coachbuilders but also for the first time could be bought with a Rolls-Royce built standard steel body.

The upper class in modern societies is the social class composed of people who hold the highest social status, usually are the wealthiest members of society, and wield the greatest political power. According to this view, the upper class is generally distinguished by immense wealth which is passed on from generation to generation. Prior to the 20th century, the emphasis was on aristocracy, which emphasized generations of inherited noble status, not just recent wealth.

While visiting his grandmother Martha, Arthur shares his feelings for Linda, but is warned again that he will be disowned if he does not marry Susan. Hobson, who has been more like a father to him than Arthur's real father, realizes that Arthur is beginning to grow up, and secretly encourages Linda to attend Arthur's engagement party. Hobson confides in Linda that he senses Arthur loves her. Linda crashes the party, held at the estate of Arthur's father, and she and Arthur eventually spend time alone together, which is tracked by both families. Hobson is later hospitalized, and Arthur rushes to his side, vowing to care for the person who has long cared for him. After several weeks, Hobson dies, and then Arthur, who has been sober the entire time, goes on a drinking binge. On his wedding day, he visits the diner where Linda works and proposes to her. At the church, he jilts Susan, resulting in her abusive father, Burt Johnson, attempting to stab Arthur with a cheese knife, though he is prevented by Martha.

Binge drinking modern epithet for drinking alcoholic beverages with an intention of becoming intoxicated by heavy consumption of alcohol over a short period of time

Binge drinking, or heavy episodic drinking, is a modern epithet for drinking alcoholic beverages with an intention of becoming intoxicated by heavy consumption of alcohol over a short period of time, but definitions vary considerably.

A wounded and groggy Arthur announces in the church that there will be no wedding then passes out soon after. Later, Linda attends to his wounds, and they discuss living a life of poverty. A horrified Martha tells Arthur that he can have his fortune, because no Bach has ever been working class. Arthur declines, but at the very last minute, he talks privately to Martha. When he returns to Linda's side, he tells her that he declined again – Martha's dinner invitation, he means – but he did accept $750 million. Arthur's pleased chauffeur Bitterman drives the couple through Central Park.

Working class those employed in lower tier jobs

The working class comprises those engaged in waged or salaried labour, especially in manual-labour occupations and industrial work. Working-class occupations include blue-collar jobs, some white-collar jobs, and most pink-collar jobs. Members of the working class rely for their income exclusively upon their earnings from wage labour; thus, according to the more inclusive definitions, the category can include almost all of the working population of industrialized economies, as well as those employed in the urban areas of non-industrialized economies or in the rural workforce.

Chauffeur profession

A chauffeur is a person employed to drive a passenger motor vehicle, especially a luxury vehicle such as a large sedan or limousine. A woman employed to drive a passenger motor vehicle is a chauffeuse.

Central Park Public park at the center of Manhattan in New York City, New York, United States

Central Park is an urban park in Manhattan, New York City. It is located between the Upper West Side and Upper East Side, roughly bounded by Fifth Avenue on the east, Central Park West on the west, Central Park South on the south, and Central Park North on the north. Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States, with 40 million visitors in 2013, and one of the most filmed locations in the world. In terms of area, Central Park is the fifth largest park in New York City, covering 843 acres (341 ha).

Cast

Liza Minnelli American actress and singer

Liza May Minnelli is an American actress and singer. Best known for her Academy Award-winning performance in Cabaret (1972), she is known for her energetic stage presence and her powerful mezzo-soprano singing voice. She is the daughter of Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli. She is of Italian and mixed European descent.

John Gielgud English actor and theatre director

Sir Arthur John Gielgud, OM, CH was an English actor and theatre director whose career spanned eight decades, and who, along with his contemporaries Peggy Ashcroft, Laurence Olivier, and Ralph Richardson, dominated the British stage of much of the 20th century. A member of the Terry family theatrical dynasty, he gained his first paid acting work as a junior member of his cousin Phyllis Neilson-Terry's company in 1922. After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art he worked in repertory theatre and in the West End before establishing himself at the Old Vic as an exponent of Shakespeare in 1929–31.

Geraldine Fitzgerald Irish-American actress

Geraldine Mary Fitzgerald was an Irish actress and a member of the American Theatre Hall of Fame.

Production

Gordon originally wrote the title character with an American actor in mind. Prior to the casting of Moore, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Richard Dreyfuss and James Caan were all considered for the role. In addition, Alec Guinness and David Niven were considered for the role of Hobson. [3] [4] According to Splitsider, John Belushi was also considered for Arthur. [5] Initially Gordon wanted Moore to perform the role with an American accent, but this proved contentious as Moore had trouble performing with one and eventually convinced Gordon to let him use his natural English accent. [6] Debra Winger reportedly turned down the role of Linda. [7]

Although the project was initially in the works at Paramount, they eventually dropped the project with Orion Pictures taking over. [6] Promoting the film proved to be a challenge, reportedly six ad campaigns were discarded before a final one was decided upon. [6]

Soundtrack

Pop singer Christopher Cross was initially asked to score the film, but writer/director Steven Gordon did not feel comfortable with his lack of experience in composing for film and the job was given to Burt Bacharach. [8] Cross was asked to compose a song for the film which he did, "Arthur's Theme", which he wrote with Bacharach along with Carole Bayer Sager and Peter Allen. [8]

Reception

The film received critical acclaim upon its release and is considered by many as one of the best films of 1981. It currently holds an 88% "Fresh" rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes. [9] [10] [11] [12]

Sequel

Arthur was followed by a sequel in 1988, Arthur 2: On the Rocks . Lead players Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli, and John Gielgud, reprised their roles, as well as many supporting players such as Geraldine Fitzgerald, Barney Martin, and Ted Ross. [13]

Remake

It was first reported in 2008 that Arthur was to be remade by Warner Bros., with British actor/comedian Russell Brand in the lead role. [14] Brand confirmed this during his March 10, 2009 appearance on The Howard Stern Show . The remake was a critical and financial failure. [15]

Foreign versions

This film had three Indian remakes. One was the 1984 Bollywood Hindi language film Sharaabi starring Amitabh Bachchan in the lead role, the second was the 1985 Kannada language film Nee Thanda Kanike, and the third was another 2004 Bollywood Hindi Tumsa Nahin Dekha .[ citation needed ]

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

Wins
Nominations

Golden Globe

Wins
Nominations

Honors

The film is #10 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies," and #53 on the American Film Institute's 100 Years... 100 Laughs .

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

Arthur : Hobson?

Hobson : Yes.

Arthur : Do you know what I'm going to do?

Hobson : No, I don't.

Arthur : I'm going to take a bath.

Hobson : I'll alert the media. [19]

In the video game You Don't Know Jack for PlayStation, there is a question in the category "Four-Letter Word For What You Don't Know" reading the following

One of the incorrect answers was "Bach, Champagne Courier". [20]

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References

  1. "Arthur, Box Office Information". Box Office Mojo . Retrieved March 9, 2012.
  2. "1981 Domestic Grosses". Box Office Mojo . Retrieved March 9, 2012.
  3. Lenburg, Jeff (2001). Dudley Moore: An Informal Biography. iUniverse. ISBN   9780595182688.
  4. Pollack, Dale (November 27, 1981). "'Arthur' success even surprised Joffe". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  5. Evans, Bradford (March 3, 2011). "The Lost Roles of John Belushi". Splitsider . Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  6. 1 2 3 Cormier, Roger. "10 Rich Facts About Arthur". Mental Floss. Retrieved March 12, 2017.
  7. Thomson, David (27 February 1994). "FILM / Up where she belongs: A decade ago Debra Winger had the film world at her feet. A year ago her career seemed to be on its last legs. Now she is back, with an Oscar nomination. David Thomson is a fan". The Independent . Retrieved 18 August 2018. She turned down the soft female leads in hits such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and Arthur.
  8. 1 2 Prato, Greg. "CHRISTOPHER CROSS". Songfacts. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
  9. Canby, Vincent (July 17, 1981). "ARTHUR – Review – NYTimes.com –". The New York Times . Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  10. "ARTHUR". Chicago Sun Times . Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  11. "Cinema: Hobson's Choice". Time . August 3, 1981. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  12. "Arthur". Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  13. "Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  14. "Russell Brand as Arthur?". Totalfilm.com. December 4, 2008. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  15. "Arthur (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  16. "AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs" (PDF). American Film Institute . Retrieved August 6, 2016.
  17. "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved August 6, 2016.
  18. "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs" (PDF). American Film Institute . Retrieved August 6, 2016.
  19. "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes" (PDF). American Film Institute. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  20. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIEAlnooueA?t=18m53s