Tuesday, April 14, 2015

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess BrideAs You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My favorite thing about listening to the audiobook version of Cary Elwes' book was hearing many of the actual people involved with The Princess Bride voice their memories of making the film. It felt like they were sitting down with me and having a nice chat about the The Good Ol' Days, telling funny stories and reminiscing. How often do you get the chance to do that with the characters of your favorite childhood movie?

I still remember going on a rare movie date with my mom when I was about 12. We went to the Sellwood Theater (that no longer exists) and saw a double feature of La Bamba and The Princess Bride. Both were good movies, but The Princess Bride...ohhhh, yeah, that was the first of about 3 dozen viewings over the years. I can't wait until my daughter is old enough to see it on DVD with me.

Elwes' book is a must-read (or must-listen) for anyone who loves the movie. I adored hearing all kinds of stories about how and where they filmed different parts, all the background context and personalities. Like, for example, that the scene when the Prince & Count Rugen catch Buttercup & Westley as they emerge from the Fire Swamp, and the Count knocks Westley out with the handle of his sword--that was Cary Elwes collapsing unconscious to the ground because Christopher Guest accidentally bonked him too hard. OOPS! :D

The only (small) quibble I have with the audiobook version is that much of the time Cary Elwes, who narrates his own memoir, somehow manages to come off sounding ever so slightly pompous. Not in what he's saying, but in his tone, which I would have preferred to be a little more conversational. I kept envisioning him in the studio reading his book, whereas all the actors and the director who recorded their own memories sounded like they were simply telling stories to friends.

Still, it's a delightful love fest of mutual admiration, which makes a pleasant change from the usual spiteful tell-all memoirs. I was sad when the book came to a close. It felt like I had to say goodbye to my friends, which is apparently how they all felt at the end of filming.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a beloved DVD to re-watch....

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