I had a big night with my brother last Friday, and when I got home in the wee hours I rewatched most of Arthur (1981) (and finished up in the morning). My siblings and I quote the movie regularly and have seen it countless times, but me the fewest (I presume) because it used to be that I craved novelty in all things. Then covid and/or old age hit and now it’s all about the comfort of the familiar.
I laughed out loud, still, several times. Here’s some things I noticed this time around; spoilers, but please don’t tell me you’ve never seen it.
As everyone knows, in the latter part of the movie Dudley Moore as Arthur plays and sings Santa Claus Is Coming to Town but I was surprised to note that he also does a line or two of it earlier in the movie. I can’t remember which scene though because like I say it was the wee hours after a big night.
I like the editing; it’s tight. The scenes end when they’ve outlived their expository or entertainment value, and no need for lots of transitions that you can figure out yourself. There’s no drudgery.
It hard to credit how well Dudley Moore plays a drunk guy. Also I had the idea someone should do an amateur remake with the lead actor actually deeply drunk.
That scene at the end where Arthur walks to grandma’s car after she climbs in saying “I will never offer you this money again”. It’s a nail biter every time for me, even though I obviously know what will happen. But she’s in the car, her chauffeur has already climbed in, and there’s nothing stopping them from driving away while Arther casually staggers up through the blind spot, yet there it waits.
And the “Bitterman, do you want to double your salary?” bit makes me a little uncomfortable to. How many times has he drunkenly said that? Like the king giving a grain of wheat on the first square of the chessboard, doubling on each subsequent square, I worry both that Arther will have given away his entire $750,000,000 inheritance, and simultaneously that he’ll actually never speak to HR and effect the salary increase. If it’s one or the other, Bitterman is much more deserving of the former.