ARTHUR and ARTHUR 2: ON THE ROCKS [1981 / 1988 / 2011] [2-Movie Collection] [Blu-ray] [USA Release] The World’s Richest Playboy! The Most Fun Money Can Buy!

Dudley Moore does right! Dudley Moore is Arthur Bach the irrepressible, irresponsible playboy who faces marriage to a woman he detests to keep his fortune… and then meets the right woman Linda Marolla [Liza Minnelli] from the wrong side of the tracks. Sir John Gielgud won an Academy Award® 1981's Best Supporting Actor as Arthur Bach's acerbic valet.  "I'll alert the media," he says when Arthur Bach announces his intention to take a bath. The title tune also won Oscar gold for Original Song. A business deal bilks (obtain or withhold money from someone unfairly or by deceit; cheat or defraud) Arthur Bach out of his fortune and he must (egads!) get a job in the sequel ‘ARTHUR 2: ON THE ROCKS.’ But laughs are still the common currency as Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli and Sir John Gielgud return. Enjoy!

ARTHUR FILM FACT No.1: Awards and Nominations: 1982 Academy Awards®: Win: Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Sir John Gielgud. Win: Best Music and Original Song for Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, Christopher Cross and Peter Allen for the song Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do). Nominated: Best Actor in a Leading Role for Dudley Moore. Nominated: Best Writing and Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen Steve Gordon. 1982 Golden Globes: Win: Best Actor in a Motion Picture in a Comedy or Musical for Dudley Moore. Win: Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for John Gielgud. Win: Best Original Song in a Motion Picture for Burt Bacharach (music), Carole Bayer Sager (music), Christopher Cross (music/lyrics) and Peter Allen (lyrics) for the song Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do). Win: Best Motion Picture in a Comedy or Musical/ Nominated: Best Actress in a Motion Picture in a Comedy or Musical for Liza Minnelli. 1982 BAFTA Awards: Nominated: Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music for Burt Bacharach. Nominated: BAFTA Film Award for Best Supporting Artist for John Gielgud. 1982 American Movie Awards: Win: Marquee Award for Best Supporting Actor for Sir John Gielgud. 1981 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards: Win: Best Supporting Actor for Sir John Gielgud. 1981 New York Film Critics Circle Awards: Win: Best Supporting Actor for John Gielgud. Nominated: Best Screenplay for Steve Gordon. 1982 Writers Guild of America: Win: WGA Award (Screen) for Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen for Steve Gordon. 1991 ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards: Win: Most Performed Feature Film Standards for Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, Christopher Cross and Peter Allen for the song Arthur's Theme (Best that You Can Do).         

ARTHUR FILM FACT No.2: Steve Gordon originally wrote the title character with an American actor in mind. Prior to the casting of Dudley 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 the acerbic valet. According to the website Splitsider aka The Awl, John Belushi was also considered for Arthur Bach. Initially Steve Gordon wanted Dudley Moore to perform the role with an American accent, but this proved contentious as Dudley Moore had trouble doing so and eventually convinced director Steve Gordon to let him use his natural English accent. While some critiques objected to the obvious difference in accent between Arthur Bach and his biological father Stanford Bach, others were quick to catch the deeper implication: decades earlier, and wondered who had gladly invested the hundreds of hours teaching baby Arthur Bach to talk, well of course it was Hobson the butler. Debra Winger reportedly turned down the role of Linda Marolla. Although the project was initially in the works at Paramount, studio executives eventually dropped the project and Orion Pictures stepped-in. Promoting the film proved to be a challenge, reportedly six ad campaigns were discarded before a final one was decided upon. 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. Christopher Cross was asked to compose a song for the film which he did, "Arthur's Theme" which he wrote with Burt Bacharach along with Carole Bayer Sager and Peter Allen.

ARTHUR [1981]

Cast: Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli, Sir John Gielgud, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Jill Eikenberry, Stephen Elliott, Ted Ross, Barney Martin, Thomas Barbour, Anne De Salvo, Marjorie Barnes, Dillon Evans, Maurice Copeland, Justine Johnston, Paul Vincent, Mary Alan Hokanson, Paul Gleason, Phyllis Somerville, Irving Metzman, Joe Doolan, John Doolan, Melissa Ballan, Florence Tarlow, Lou Jacobi, Gordon Press, Bob Maroff, Marcella Lowery, Jerome Collamore, Mark Fleischman, Helen Hanft, John Bentley, Raymond Serra, Peter Evans, Dominic Guastaferro, Phil Oxnam, Richard Hamilton, George Riddle, Lawrence Tierney, Bobo Lewis, B. Constance Barry, Kurt Schlesinger, Steve James, Debra Lass, Mark Margolis, Marianne Muellerleile and Judi Passeltine

Director: Steve Gordon                           

Producers: Charles H. Joffe, Jack Rollins (uncredited), Larry Brezner (uncredited) and Robert Greenhut

Screenplay: Steve Gordon

Composer: Burt Bacharach

Cinematography: Fred Schuler (Director of Photography)

Image Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Audio: English: 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio
French: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono Audio
German: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono Audio
Spanish: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono Audio
English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, French, German and Spanish

Running Time: 97 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Warner Home Video

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Cast: Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli, Sir John Gielgud, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Stephen Elliott, Paul Benedict, Cynthia Sikes, Kathy Bates, Jack Gilford, Ted Ross, Barney Martin, Thomas Barbour, David O'Brien, Ron Canada, John C. Vennema, John A. Zee, Marcia Wolf, Aileen Fitzpatrick, P.J. Benjamin, Daniel Greene, Molly McClure, Frederikke Borge, John O'Neill, Mary Betten, Brogan Lane, Carl Bressler, Lynet Morrow, Don Stark,   J. Christopher Sullivan, Nick DeMauro, Joseph Leon, Ken Magee, Cameron Johann, Raymond O'Connor, Eddie Zammit, Joe Restivo, Eagle Eye Cherry, Robert Levine, T.J. Meyers, Joe Jamrog, Larry Golden, Ken Sylk,  Terry Wills, Daryl Edwards, David Sabin, Jason Wingreen, Bon Cantwell and the Saturday Night Stompers [Dixieland Band], Matthew T. Gitkin (uncredited), Tres Hanley (uncredited), Megyn Shott (uncredited) and Christina Starzak (uncredited)

Director: Bud Yorkin                                      

Producers: Dudley Moore and Robert Shapiro

Screenplay: Steve Gordon (characters) 

Composer: Burt Bacharach

Cinematography: Stephen H. Burum, A.S.C. (Director of Photography)

Image Resolution: 1080p (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Audio: English: 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio
French: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio
German: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio
Spanish: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio
English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, French, German and Spanish

Running Time: 113 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Warner Home Video

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘ARTHUR’ [1981] is set during the  Christmas season in New York City, and Arthur Bach [Dudley Moore], a lifelong wastrel with a $750 million family fortune, spends his time, as always, having fun and clowning, partying, driving his private race car, and, most of all, drinking to excess.

Arthur Bach is perpetually drunk ultra-rich playboy who never grew up has to decide, through the fog of alcohol, whether to follow love or money. The film ‘ARTHUR’ is very funny and very poignant, with memorable performances by Dudley Moore and Sir John Gielgud, and it makes no apologies for a central message promoting drunken oblivion as an alternative that is just a bit better than stuffy conformity.

New York-based playboy Arthur Bach [Dudley Moore] has all the money in the world, but his only friend is his butler Hobson [Sir Gielgud]. Arthur Bach squanders his time on continuous drinking and picking up prostitutes, as he escapes from the inevitable demands of his family: his father and grandmother insist that he marry the sweet, rich but uninteresting Susan Johnson  [Jill Eikenberry], otherwise they will cut Arthur Bach off from his fortune.

While shopping for clothes at a ritzy store, Arthur notices a shoplifter: Linda Marolla [Liza Minnelli] is a poor waitress who lives with her Dad, and Arthur Bach is immediately attracted to her, saving her from being prosecuted. Arthur Bach's marriage plans to Susan are proceeding as Arthur Bach is falling madly in love with Linda Marolla, while Hobson is serving his master while battling an increasingly serious illness. Choosing Linda Marolla over Susan means that Arthur Bach will alienate his family and be forever poor, but with alcohol fuelling his decision making, everything will surely work out.

Dudley Moore had a few good years of stardom in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and the film ‘ARTHUR’ was his defining role and certainly his most celebrated. He goes though most of the movie acting intoxicated, speech slurred, walk askew, laughing hysterically and spewing jokes that are funny only to him. Arthur Bach is an endearing character in a way that a helpless, lost pet evokes sympathy, and it is to Dudley Moore's credit that both Susan and Linda Marolla's attraction to Arthur Bach is believable.

Sir John Gielgud, at 77 years old, won the Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Hobson, the butler who is quite certain that he in fact runs the life of his master. As stiff and proper as Arthur is lubricated, the prickly friendship between Arthur Bach and Hobson is at the core of the film. That Hobson is the only person in the world that Arthur Bach can communicate which summarizes Arthur Bach's sad state, and as illness takes Hobson away, it is only natural that Arthur Bach is attracted to the down-to-earth Linda Marolla as the waitress, to fill the vacuum. Whereas Liza Minnelli as Linda Marolla gets somewhat lost in the acting shuffle, unable to move too far away from just being a slightly subdued Liza Minnelli.

‘ARTHUR’ contributed a terrific catchy melodic song to the cultural landscape, “Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)” by Christopher Cross easily entering the hall of classic movie contributions to music, with its catchy line "when you get caught between the Moon and New York City" perfectly capturing Arthur Bach's dilemma.

‘ARTHUR’ may not be a practically helpful guide for how to go about achieving success in one’s life, but if being in the company of a drunk is necessary, but at the same time Arthur Bach is very lovable. On balance, ‘ARTHUR’ delivers the goods. The laughs come fast and furious and it doesn’t camp up the rich man-poor girl theme like “At Long Last Love.” A lot of location shooting in New York City brightens up the proceedings considerably. On top of all that, Steve Gordon, a veteran television writer whose credits include “Barney Miller,” makes an impressive debut as the director of ‘ARTHUR.’


ARTHUR’S THEME (Best That You Can Do) (Written by Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, Christopher Cross and Peter Allen) [Performed by Christopher Cross]

STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT (uncredited) (Music by Bert Kaempfert) (English lyrics by Charles Singleton and Eddie Snyder) [Performed by Dudley Moore]

SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN (uncredited) (Written by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie) [Performed by Dudley Moore]

Waltz in C-sharp minor Op. 64-2 (uncredited) (Composed by Frédéric Chopin) [Performed by Dudley Moore]

BLUE MOON (Written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart) [Performed by Dudley Moore]

IF YOU KNEW SUZIE (Like I Know Susie) (uncredited) (Written by Buddy G. DeSylva / Joseph Meyer) [Performed by Dudley Moore]

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Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘ARTHUR 2: ON THE ROCKS’ [1988] this time is directed by Bud Yorkin and slightly an inferior sequel to the 1981 hit ‘ARTHUR’ and all three stars from the original returning, but not the original writer-director Steve Gordon. Alas, Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli return to their 1981 success with much less intoxicating results. In Andy Breckman’s screenplay, we find that Arthur Bach [Dudley Moore] has lost his whole $750 million fortune and his wife Linda Marolla [Liza Minnelli] wants a baby.

Penniless ex-playboy Arthur Bach and his wife Linda Marolla are trying to make a family, while Arthur Bach is trying to survive as penniless, on top of all that Arthur Bach is an unemployable alcoholic, in a sentimental and contrived story that sadly misses the funny bone too often.

Dudley Moore’s drunken hamming and his boyish humour still raises enough laughs to save the day and Sir John Gielgud pops back in a spirited cameo as the ghost of his Oscar® winning self, butler Hobson. The crew clapped when Sir John Gielgud arrived on set to film his cameo role.

Also in the cast are Geraldine Fitzgerald, Stephen Elliott, Kathy Bates, Jack Gilford, Cynthia Sikes, Paul Benedict, Ted Ross, Daniel Greene, Brogan Lane, Barney Martin and Thomas Barbour.

Aside from Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli no one else makes any real impact not even Paul Benedict who plays Fairchild who is Arthur Bach's new rather stiff butler. In many ways the supporting cast end up used more to make some set piece, irrelevant gags work rather than aid with the main storyline. So we get Geraldine Fitzgerald returning as Arthur Bach's grandma Martha Bach who on the advice of her doctor has started to take a little exercise, which consists of watching a lycra wearing fitness instructor work out.

What this all boils down to is that ‘ARTHUR 2: ON THE ROCKS’ it is slightly the weaker of the two films. The comedy of watching a drunken Arthur Bach is sadly lost this time around and with the storyline developing so that Arthur Bach has to act more responsibility it just doesn't feel right. The good news is that Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli are as good as ever delivering plenty of comedy and actually making quite a nice, if a little oddball couple and eventually near the end it turns out to be a really happy ending and it was worth the wait and at the end of the film it informs us: The film is dedicated to the memory of the American screenwriter Steve Gordon (10th October, 1938 – 27th November, 1982).


LOVE IS MY DECISION (Theme from ‘ARTHUR 2: ON THE ROCKS’) (Written by Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager and Chris De Burgh) [Performed by Chris De Burgh]

SECRET (Written by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) [Performed by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark]

THE LOCO-MOTION (Written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King) [Performed by Kylie Minogue]

GRAVITY (Written by Brenda Russell and Gardner Cole) [Performed by Brenda Russell]

BOYS NIGHT OUT (Written by Ellis Hall) [Performed by Tower of Power]

SPEED OF LIGHT (Written by Debbie Gibson) [Performed by Reimy]

REFLECTIONS (Written by Thelonious Monk) [Performed by Steve Khan and Donald Fagen]

DEVOTION (Written by Liz Story) [Performed by Liz Story]

MY GIRL (Written by Ronald White and Smokey Robinson)

CLOSE TO YOU (Written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David)

THIS GUY’S IN LOVE WITH YOU (Written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David)

WIVES AND LOVERS (Written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David)

HEART LIGHT (Written by Neil Diamond, Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager)

LONELY WITHOUT YOU (Written by Jay Burns, Fred Wilkin, Jon Smith, Jack Weston, Connie Salvatori and George Fry) [Performed by Hugh Scott]

BROKE AND SAD (Lyrics by Chas Williams, Monty Williams, Byron Smith, Simon Williamson and Jonathan Harper) [Performed by Jan Lindon]

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Blu-ray Image Quality – Warner Home Video presents us these two films ‘ARTHUR’ and ‘ARTHUR 2: ON THE ROCKS’ and the opening title sequence of the original film ‘ARTHUR’ looks slightly very grainy, but over time the image quality improves somewhat once the start of the film begins. The original source material is largely free of any debris, and you get a slight grain for the film's age. As to the image clarity is fairly decent, but as to the contrast seems slightly muted, but the colours also give a slightly faded appearance. But a few of Liza Minnelli's outfits give a bit of garish colour experience. Black levels are fine, if not especially inky, and the flesh tones look stable and natural. As to the film ‘ARTHUR 2: ON THE ROCKS’ fares so much better in the image department, where the image is much more defined, with less grain and a much smoother appearance. Colours are much more brilliant; especially where Liza Minnelli wears a lot of red, and it is nice and lush and very bold. Black colours are strong and flesh tones are very true and natural. The source material also looks fresher and background elements exhibit much more detail. Close-ups also look really good with a bit more dimension. Despite the image quality with the film ‘ARTHUR’ it certainly is so much better than previous inferior DVD home video incarnation, but overall the upgrades will definitely please fans of these two films.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – Warner Home Video brings us these two films ‘ARTHUR’ and ‘ARTHUR 2: ON THE ROCKS’ with two audio experiences, which consist for ‘ARTHUR’ that is 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio and ‘ARTHUR 2: ON THE ROCKS’ with a 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio and both supply satisfactory audio experience, and you do not get any distortion or age-related imperfections, and you get to hear every word spoken by the actors. The main title themes of both films enjoy good dynamic range and above average audio fidelity, but the background composed film scores do not have much presence or depth of tones. Bass frequencies are slightly lacking, but that is not surprising due to the source material. On top of all that, ‘ARTHUR 2: ON THE ROCKS’ sounds a bit more lively and compared to its 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio  predecessor, thanks to its stereo audio track, but some exterior dialogue scenes exhibit a slightly muffled sound quality. If you're looking for top-flight audio experience, you won't find it here, but these two different audio tracks nevertheless supply serviceable sound that suits each film very nicely. 

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Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Theatrical Trailers: Here we get presented two theatrical Trailers and they are as follows: ‘ARTHUR’ [1981] [480i] [1.37:1] [2:09] and ‘ARTHUR 2: ON THE ROCKS’ [1988] [1080i] [1.78:1] [1:29]. Sadly, the trailer for ‘ARTHUR’ is really of very bad quality and what a shame they could not have supplied a much more upgraded image quality, with at least 1080i image and 1.78:1 aspect ratio.

Finally, ‘ARTHUR’ was a crowd-pleasing "sleeper" in its day, with a witty screwball-comedy mien that hearkened back to golden-age screen comedies of yesteryear. It also offers the Hollywood-wish-fulfilment of a poor little rich guy who just needs someone to love him for who he is, not his millions. Children can especially relate to Arthur Bach's giddy immaturity, his toys, and his slightly wistful need to make everyone laugh and you so will like him. Dudley Moore's drunken millionaire Arthur Bach may be outclassed by Sir John Gielgud's disdainful butler, but he's not the dud that he might have been in this boozy variation on Jeeves and Wooster. The ever-adaptable Sir John Gielgud delivers his lines with such wonderful aplomb that he won an Oscar® and deservedly so. ‘ARTHUR 2: ON THE ROCKS’ on the other hand, tried to duplicate the success of ‘ARTHUR,’ which has to be said it was all jolly good fun. But then as is the norm with the studio, they tried to capitalize on its success and 7 years later they gave us ‘ARTHUR 2: ON THE ROCKS’ a decidedly mediocre film and a slightly disappointing sequel. The problem with ‘ARTHUR 2: ON THE ROCKS’ lies in the fact that they have manufactured a storyline whilst still primarily a comedy that takes Arthur Bach away from being the funny, harmless drunk. It just doesn't feel right and not only that it also stretches jokes out long after they are funny and even Arthur Bach's drunken exploits, and incessant joking just doesn't quite come off, sadly, but despite the second film not being as good as the first film, I am still very pleased I have both films in my Blu-ray collection and especially with the fact I am a great fan of Dudley Moore as he was very talented in all aspects of his career, who is now very sadly missed. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado 
Le Cinema Paradiso 
United Kingdom

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