At one point during the production, Liza Minnelli was supposed to board a bus in front of Bergdorf's on Fifth Avenue. When a real bus came along, she boarded it thinking it was the "movie bus". Not until she was halfway down the block did she realize her blunder when she looked back and saw the whole crew cracking up.
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Dudley Moore was said to have based his performance partly on Peter Cook, whose excessive drinking had soured his and Moore's comedic partnership in the 1970s.
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Sir John Gielgud turned down the role of Hobson several times, finally accepting it only because the salary he was offered was too good to pass up.
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Barney Martin (Ralph Marolla, the father of Liza Minnelli (Linda Marolla)) played Minnelli's husband in the Broadway stage production of "Chicago".
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Dudley Moore kept cracking up the cast and crew, so much so, that twenty-seven takes were needed to get one scene filmed at one point.
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Reportedly, when Dudley Moore was doing the mansion moose head sequence, a lighting technician laughed so much, that he fell off his ladder.
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Apparently, Writer and Director Steve Gordon had originally wanted to cast George Segal in the lead role of Arthur. After the box-office success of 10 (1979) however, Dudley Moore replaced Segal. This movie was actually the second time that Moore replaced Segal. Segal was originally cast in the lead role in 10 (1979), but Segal apparently walked off the set shortly after filming began. Reportedly, this was rumored because Julie Andrews' role had been built up. Apparently, after 10 (1979) had been released, Segal, when once asked if he had seen the movie, allegedly replied with a finger gesture.
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The movie's song, "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)", was co-written by Christopher Cross, Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, and Peter Allen, who was Liza Minnelli's ex-husband. Allen's only contribution to the song was its famous chorus lyric ("When you get caught between the moon and New York City, the best that you can do is fall in love.") He came up with this line while sitting on an airplane that was stuck in a holding pattern over New York City at night, waiting to land at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Despite his minimal contribution, the other three songwriters insisted that Allen receive a songwriting credit. He ended up winning an Academy Award for Best Song, just for this small, but important contribution.
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This was the fourth most popular 1981 movie at the U.S. and Canadian box-offices.
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This movie is the only theatrical movie directed by Steve Gordon. Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988) was dedicated to the memory of Gordon, who died in late 1982.
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The role of Hobson, which won a Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar for Sir John Gielgud, was originally intended for either David Niven or Sir Alec Guinness.
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According to Producer Charles H. Joffe, Sir John Gielgud "never really understood the jokes he was giving." According to Liza Minnelli, Gielgud kept turning to her and Dudley Moore asking if what he just said was funny. After this movie came out, Gielgud wrote to journalist George Pitcher, explaining that he was "very bucked" at the success of this movie. "I thought Liza so very good, and underestimated by the critics", Gielgud added. "Dudley screams too much at first, but gets better all through and is very charming and cooperative in the scenes with me. We also got on so wonderfully well together, despite that appalling heat."
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According to his widow, John Belushi was offered the role of Arthur, but ultimately turned it down, fearing typecasting.
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After shooting the scene where Arthur gets beaten up by his would-be father-in-law, Dudley Moore was still wearing his tattered costume and bloody make-up when he turned to his then-girlfriend Susan Anton (who was nearly eight and a half inches taller than him) in a Waldorf-Astoria elevator and said, "Susan, I told you I'd be home, why wouldn't you believe me?" The other elevator passengers were aghast.
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The scene where Arthur drives his race car around a track was shot at the now defunct Danbury Fair Racearena in Connecticut. The type of car that Arthur drove was never raced there, it was primarily for modified stock cars and was one of America's great short tracks. Sadly, despite its great success, the land became too valuable and it gave way to a shopping mall. The Danbury Fair Racearena closed on October 12, 1981, shortly after the movie was filmed.
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This film is considered a modern reworking of the P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster tales, Arthur is the equivalent of Bertie Wooster and his servant Hobson the equivalent of Jeeves.
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Features Dudley Moore's only Oscar nominated performance.
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In Liza Minnelli's dressing room, Dudley Moore, an accomplished pianist, would play her piano. Sometimes Minnelli would sing along. Other times, Jill Eikenberry (who portrayed Arthur's fiancée, Susan Johnson) played.
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Apparently, when this movie was first touted, Dudley Moore thought (perhaps jokingly) that the movie was about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
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There's a framed photo of Harry S. Truman on Arthur's father's desk. The other photo, to the left of Harry S. Truman, is that of Sir Winston Churchill, and it appears to be autographed.
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Director Steve Gordon and Dudley Moore argued over Arthur's accent. "I explained to the director I couldn't possibly do it as an American since I spent half the time trying to get my vowels right", Moore reasoned. The two continued the discussion of whether Moore should use an American accent even after filming had started, but Moore won out.
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Shooting in New York City in the summer of 1980 drew thousands of onlookers curious about Liza Minnelli's new project. One of the older onlookers confused Minnelli for her mother, Judy Garland.
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After Linda first meets Arthur she says that he looks like one of Santa's little helpers. Dudley Moore played the part of Patch one of Santa's elves in Santa Claus: The Movie (1985).
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Four different endings were shot. Director Steve Gordon still hadn't figured out which ending to use during editing. A rough cut, to which Dudley Moore objected, gave more of a focus on Arthur and Hobson's relationship than Arthur and Linda's.
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Dudley Moore has claimed that he was far from the first choice, as the producers originally wanted an "American actor" for the part of Arthur. They eventually offered the part to Moore after other stars, such as James Caan, Al Pacino, Robert Redford, and John Travolta, turned the role down.
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Jeff Bridges, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Jack Nicholson, Sylvester Stallone, and Robin Williams were all considered for the lead role of Arthur.
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Mia Farrow, Farrah Fawcett, Goldie Hawn, Barbara Hershey, Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Bette Midler, Gilda Radner, Susan Sarandon, Cybill Shepherd, and Meryl Streep were all considered for the role of Linda.
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Tuesday Weld was originally offered the role of Linda Marolla, but turned it down.
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This movie did very well at the 1982 Academy Awards, winning two of its four nominations.
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Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the Top 100 Funniest American Movies.
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The Bach family fortune of seven hundred fifty million dollars would be (adjusted for inflation) approximately 2.1 billion dollars in 2018.
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Burt Reynolds and Tom Selleck were considered for the role of Arthur.
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Michael Constantine was considered for the role of Arthur.
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Bud Cort was originally suggested for the role of Arthur. Apparently, Cort was actually cast in the part, but withdrew prior to principal photography.
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In the numerous scenes where Arthur and Hobson are both present, Arthur is always sober and, with only two exceptions in the hospital scene, Hobson speaks every comedic line. In every scene where Arthur is drunk he speaks every comedic line, and Hobson is absent.
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Charles Grodin was considered for the role of Arthur
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If Arthur and Linda were to marry and become pregnant in 1981, and their baby being born in 1982, would only this year, or about, be old enough to become President as dreamed by Martha. (2017)
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Kay Lenz wanted the female lead role badly, because her previous attempts to be a movie star failed.
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