Film Fridays is a project initiated by Sarah and I. See previous posts for a longer preamble!
We would be delighted if you would join us! We don’t necessarily want to talk about the nerdy technical details but more about why these films speak to us as individuals, why they have a place in out hearts, and any personal memories they evoke.
‘The Princess Bride’ (1987)
The Trailer :
Yes – I am still posting about ‘comfort food’ movies because the world still sucks! What passes for normal service may return to the blog soon, or it may not depending on if I can get the internet at home fixed….
Why this movie? It is not a typical ‘bloke’ movie I know. But it IS just wonderful!
Adapted by William Goldman from his own novel (which I confess I have never read, though Sarah tells me it is great). This tells the story of farm boy Westley and his quest to rescue his true love Princess Buttercup from evil suitor Prince Humperdinck. Along the way he encounters a trio of outlaws who have kidnapped the Princess, and outwits their leader before teaming up with the other two.
The Story is presented as a bedtime tale being read to a young Fred Savage (The Wonder Years) by his grandfather Peter (Columbo) Falk.
The main cast is great: Cary Elwes, with his old fashioned matinee idol looks, is perfectly cast as Westley. Robin Wright is great as Buttercup and Chris Sarandon suitably evil as Humperdinck. Of these, it is refreshing that Robin Wright has perhaps the greatest profile these days, with recent important roles in ‘Blade Runner 2049’ and ‘Wonder Woman’ – in which she was quite magnificent.
However, that said, it is the supporting cast that makes this movie for me: The three outlaws played by Andre the Giant, Mandy Patinkin, and Wallace Shawn. The latter two get the most quotable lines from a very quotable script! (Wallace Shawn is still recognisable in his current role as Dr Sturgis in ‘Young Sheldon, and apparently in his private life often still has people saying his Princess Bride catchphrases back to him – “Inconceivable!” indeed).
‘Spinal Tap’ star (and husband of Jamie Lee Curtis) Christopher Guest is the cruel Count Rugen, Humperdinck’s right-hand man. He has six fingers on his hands – a matter of great consequence to Patinkin’s character Montoya….
Then there are the small but wonderful roles for a series of comedy legends: Billy Crystal as healer Miracle Max, with Carol Kane as his wife Valerie. British comics Peter Cook as a Clergyman and Mel Smith as the Humperdinck’s torturer, the Albino. My favourite characters are Miracle Max and Valerie with their hilarious bickering, much of which was improvised after Billy Crystal and Carol Kane took time to discuss a back story for their characters.
Filming locations were in the UK and Ireland, though the movie has a number of ‘outdoor’ scenes clearly filmed on sound stages. The ‘Rodents of Unusual Size’ in the Fire Swamp are not terribly convincing it has to be said, yet it kind of works with the general pantomime air of the story.
The movie got great reviews but did not do well at the box office, however – it rapidly became a cult hit afterwards on home video. Rightly so too!