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Dudley Moore plays Arthur Bach, a dissolute playboy who would rather be drunk than face the reality of his great wealth and engagement to WASP witch Susan Johnson (Jill Eikenberry). Arthur, who is looked after by his kindly valet, Hobson (John Gielgud), soon falls for working girl Linda
Marolla (Liza Minnelli), whom he prefers to his socialite fiancee. Susan, however, refuses to be shunned, and Arthur's father and grandmother threaten to cut off his inheritance if he continues to see working-class Linda. Moore is predictable as the spoiled scion of wealth, Minnelli is terrific as
his candid sweetheart, but Gielgud's loyal yet sarcastic servant steals the film (he was rewarded with a supporting actor Oscar). The highly polished production is well paced and imaginatively directed, although the happy union of prince and pauper is harder to swallow in 1981 than it would have
been in 1931, when cinematic escapism brought relief to depression-era audiences. A flat sequel, ARTHUR 2 ON THE ROCKS, was released in 1988.