Although Hollywood screenwriter William Goldman’s novel preceded the film, my first experience of romantic comedy fairytale The Princess Bride (1987) was on a small screen. I missed it at the cinema as it came out during a period in which I rarely went – but I did rent the VHS video from my local blockbuster – those were the days eh?
This viewing was also the first time I saw Mandy Patinkin (right) on screen – and I’m sorry, he may have been a great surgeon in Chicago Hope, a loyal CIA chief in Homeland, but in my head, and heart, he will always be the Spanish fencer from The Princess Bride whose catchphrase is:
Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.
I loved it then, but can remember thinking that Mel Smith as the Albino was rather strange casting! Watching it once more, I was charmed all over again and giggled my way through. Another delight is Peter Falk as the grandfather reading the book to his sick grandson, talking of whom, he has a classic reaction when Buttercup finally realises that she loves Westley;
The Grandson: Is this a kissing book?
I read Goldman’s original novel after seeing the film. It was published in 1973 so precedes the film by some years. The fairytale within is essentially similar, but Goldman uses a different framing device for the book within the book. It’s less cinematic than having Peter Falk as the grandfather, but as tongue in cheek meta-fiction, it hits the spot. Goldman puts himself into the framing story as the ill child and his father reads him a book by S.Morgernstern called The Princess Bride. Goldman is telling us this years later after having searched out and abridged S.Morgentern’s book. This is all totally made up of course, and is Goldman’s creation.
Both book and film are modern classics – and having revisited the film, I’m looking forward to re-reading the book now too.
Source: Review copies – Thank you!
The Princess Bride 30th Anniversary Edition is out on DVD/Blu-ray and the novel published in paperback by Bloomsbury