Arthur Bach (Dudley Moore) is a weak, spineless, noisy little creep, who also happens to be a midget, a millionaire, and an alcoholic, and who cannot be trusted to cross the street without the aid of his butler/babysitter/best friend, Hobson (John Gielgud).
The only hope for Arthur, his family insists, is to marry a rich girl and go to work in her father’s business. Arthur would rather die, but what choice has he got? It’s either knuckle under or surrender a $750 million inheritance.
One day Arthur meets Linda Marolla (Liza Minnelli), a kooky waitress from Queens, while she’s shoplifting at Bergdorf’s.
The rest of this comedy devotes itself to the ways in which Linda nabs Arthur while his billionaire father – a sadistic puppet-master – insists that he marry perfectly boring WASP, Susan (Jill Eikenberry).
Arthur gets to keep the girl and the inheritance, and Hobson gives Arthur courage to take control of his life before the butler drops dead of cancer.
Tremendous performances from an energetic, impish, Dudley Moore as the hairy, obnoxious Arthur, Liza Minnelli as the practical and thoroughly befuddled Linda, and Geraldine Fitzgerald as Arthur’s ruthlessly eccentric old grandmother.
It is also a smashing performance by Sir John Gielgud, who steals the film as the grouchy, wonderful old snob of a butler. Arthur proves that Sir John is a wicked first-rate comedian.
This sprite, screwball comedy is peppered with zingy, clever one-liners which Moore tosses off with hilarious aplomb.
Anne De Salvo