Fantasy & Beyond

A Book Forum for Speculative Fiction

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#1508
As with a few from this time, I first encountered The Princess Bride via its filmed version. I wasn't even aware it was based on a novel. I was even more surprised when I found out that it was written by William Goldman. Goldman was as much a screenwriter as he was a novelist, and my previous exposure to him had been Marathon Man, which was also a successful film. He wrote across genres that were often quite different. He won Oscars for his work on Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All The President's Men. It kind of reminds me of Pierre Boulle who wrote Bridge on the River Kwai and Planet of the Apes or James Hilton who wrote Lost Horizon and Goodbye Mr Chips.

Both the film, which became a cult classic (Lejays is a big fan and watched it countless times with her sisters, she can quote large parts of the film, especially the marriage, or should I say 'mawwiage' scene? word perfect), and the book are a classic fairy tale with a bit of twist.

The book is more meta fictional than the film, which itself is a bit meta with Peter Falk's character reading it to his grandson played by Fred Savage (is this a kissing book?) The conceit with the book is that Goldman didn't write it at all, it was actually presented as an abridged version of a longer work by the author S. Morgenstern (who doesn't exist, except in Goldman's mind) and the full title of the book is The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure, some versions even purport to be The Good Parts version. Goldman comments frequently throughout the narrative.

It has many of the elements of the classic fairy tale, the beautiful farm girl, the much put upon farm boy, who goes to sea to make his fortune, pirates, mistaken identity, a man in black, a pair of outlaws (one of whom is the unforgettable Inigo Montoya, seeking revenge on his father's murderer), an evil count, and most importantly of all; a happy ending.

The book had its genesis in the same way that a number of famous stories have. It began life as a story Goldman told to entertain his daughters.

Given how very filmable it was, and the track record of it's author, it is surprising that it took 14 years from publication to make it to the screen.

It's much better known for the 1987 film, than the book, and to be honest I prefer the film, but given its impact on pop culture (how many of us know 'Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.'? I once saw it on a t-shirt, presented as one of those introductory stickers people wear at conventions).

In some ways I see it as a bit of a modern day Peter Pan, taking all of the elements that the author felt people might enjoy in a story of high adventure, putting them in a blender and getting them into the one story.

If any one has seen the film, but never read the book, it's not a bad exercise, and while they are quite different, I found that reading it after seeing the film transported me back to certain parts of what is a highly enjoyable film. The differences between the two, actually add to the experience.
Peat, DragonFlame liked this
#1510
Definitely one of my (and the sisters) favourite movies back in the day. We would stop at the video store (aging myself there :lol: ) on the way home from softball on Saturdays and Dad would inevitably go “why that movie again???” As we rented it as a part of the 5-weekly’s for $1 deal.

The wedding scene is the one I can quote without prompting, but there are so many other great scenes & lines.

But this is about the book, not the movie :lol: :amused:

My copy of the book is a movie tie-in version as it has Wesley & Buttercup on the cover. So I saw the movie before reading the book. I’ve read it a few times, and while I do enjoy it, for me the movie is far superiors.
I do like the conceit of the book being an abridged “good parts” version of the story his dad would read him - the parallel to Grandad reading to the boy “is this a kissingbook?”

“As You Wish” :loveit: :loveit:
Elfy, DragonFlame liked this
#1514
The movie is perfect.

The book is interesting. Agreed about the meta-ness, which I don't think helps it. It feels a bit stiff. It's still obviously a good story but I don't love it in the same way. Part of me wonders if that's because I'm subconsciously comparing it to a perfect movie.

Has anyone read Cary Elwes book on some of the stories from the filming?
DragonFlame liked this
#1525
Peat wrote:The movie is perfect.

Has anyone read Cary Elwes book on some of the stories from the filming?
The Princess Bride is our family top favourite film for three generations, it is quoted without thinking. I have deliberately never read the book because I was, and still am, afraid it would actually spoil the film.

I do have Cary Elwes book AsYou Wish on audible. It is a treasure trove of details, anecdotes and memories with contributions by most of the cast. I was particularly impressed by the fact that Wesley and Inigo Montoya had to train very very hard, every day throughout filming in fencing, both left and right handed, and two top fight coordinators of the time, who had worked with Douglas Fairbanks and Erroll Flynn, trained them.
I also remember a great deal of love expressed by all of them for Andre the Giant. He was so kind, gentle and patient to everybody, despite living with constant severe pain from back injuries caused by his wrestling days. There was much more, a book well worth reading.
Peat liked this
#1537
DragonFlame wrote: May 24th, 2024, 23:11
Peat wrote:The movie is perfect.

Has anyone read Cary Elwes book on some of the stories from the filming?
The Princess Bride is our family top favourite film for three generations, it is quoted without thinking. I have deliberately never read the book because I was, and still am, afraid it would actually spoil the film.

I do have Cary Elwes book AsYou Wish on audible. It is a treasure trove of details, anecdotes and memories with contributions by most of the cast. I was particularly impressed by the fact that Wesley and Inigo Montoya had to train very very hard, every day throughout filming in fencing, both left and right handed, and two top fight coordinators of the time, who had worked with Douglas Fairbanks and Erroll Flynn, trained them.
I also remember a great deal of love expressed by all of them for Andre the Giant. He was so kind, gentle and patient to everybody, despite living with constant severe pain from back injuries caused by his wrestling days. There was much more, a book well worth reading.
I don't think you can spoil that film but I certainly understand not wanting to take the chance!
DragonFlame, xiagan liked this