Tuesday, March 24, 2015

'As You Wish'

I love movies.  Especially movies based on books.

I read 'Gone With the Wind' when I was twelve years-old, and I was amazed at how closely the film matched the book (although I still have a beef with the fact that the filmmaker didn't include Scarlett's other children).  Yeah, I love movies.

But as I've grown older, I've found that I absolutely adore 'stupid' comedies.  'Raising Arizona'?  Stupid humor in a brilliant script.  'Fargo'?  Oh, yeah.  Stupid, yet brilliant, also.  Those Coen Brothers really have a most intelligent way of portraying stupid comedy.  Twisted?  Yes.  And brilliant.

But along with the brilliance of stupid comedy comes innocent (yet snarky) comedy, and one of those films I really adore came from a most wonderful book.  'The Princess Bride', written by William Goldman, sucked me in from the first page.  But when the movie showed up years later, I was a bit hesitant to see it. However, once I did, I loved it as much as the book, and I watch the movie a few times every year.  I can't escape it.  It's funny, it's sweet, and it has a fantastic cast.

Brilliantly directed by Rob Reiner, from a script by William Goldman, the movie is one I cherish. I love the humor and innocence, the snarkiness and inside jokes.  There's just something about it that's hard to describe.  Let's just say that if you love 'Monty Python' films, you'll love 'The Princess Bride'.  The humor is contagious, and the cast is unforgettable.

And one of the major cast members has written a wonderful book about this memorable movie.

Cary Elwes, he who played the 'Farmboy' and 'the Man in Black', shares with us many warm memories about working with a perfect cast and a gifted director in his book, 'As You Wish'.

'It truly was as fun to make the movie as it is to watch it, from getting to work on William Goldman's brilliant screenplay to being directed by the inimitable Rob Reiner.  It is not an exaggeration to say that most days on set were exhilarating, from wrestling André the Giant, to the impossibility of playing mostly dead with Billy Crystal cracking jokes above me, to choreographing the Greatest Sword Fight in Modern Times with Mandy Patinkin, to being part of the Kiss That Left All the Others Behind with Robin Wright'.

Yes, the book is sweet.  And, yes, the book gives us quite a bit of inside gossip, but not malicious gossip (God knows I'm really tired of finding malicious gossip all over the internet, so this book was refreshing). Elwes still respects and loves his fellow players, and the 'inside scoops' are rather enlightening.  Although the entire cast didn't work together (i.e., Peter Falk and Fred Savage), they all did a great job of playing off each other.  Director Reiner was sensitive to his players (he has a great acting background, and his father is the phenomenal Carl Reiner), but his greatest coup (in my opinion) was getting his old friend Billy Crystal to play Miracle Max ("While you're at it, why don't you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it?") and Carol Kane to play his wife, Valerie.  The memories of André the Giant are very unusual, but funny, and reading of Wallace Shawn's fear of being fired had me thinking that no one else could have played Vizzini with such brilliance.   There are just so many things about this movie that stay with you; almost like the fart scene in 'Blazing Saddles', or anything from 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail'.
Author Cary Elwes

So, I'm sorry to disappoint those who are looking for 'juicy gossip'.  Most of the cast members include their own remembrances, which I feel is a nice touch.

As for me, I love this sweet memoir of such a sweet film.  It makes me adore Elwes even more.

And I adore Robin Wright even more, too, even if she is currently playing the Bitch Queen of the Universe in 'House of Cards'.

With that written, I think it's time to sit back and watch 'The Princess Bride' one more time.  Knowing what I know now, I think it will make the viewing even that more special.

'As You Wish' is available at your local library and favorite independent bookstore.  ISBN 978-1-4767-6402-3  

1 comment:

Don Lentz said...

Sweet !