“Come my love, I’ll tell you a tale, of a boy and girl and their love story…”
The Princess Bride is my favorite movie of all time. I grew up watching this movie over and over and over. I love it. I love everything about it. I love the characters, the soundtrack, the script, the plot, the cheesy-ness, the humor, the one-liners, the clothing….
I’m not saying you have to love this movie to be my friend……… but it helps.
I used to be able to quote this movie from beginning to end verbatim. I haven’t watched it in a while, and that’s a skill that needs to be worked at to be retained. I’m still pretty good for quite a lot of quotes, though. I am seriously looking forward to introducing my children to this movie. (I’m waiting until they’re old enough to really appreciate it, though… so maybe in another year).
I own the soundtrack, several versions of the DVD and Blu-Ray, the book… and I think I have a copy of the script saved somewhere on my computer.
This is one of those few, rare (seriously rare) instances in which I cannot honestly tell you whether or not I like the book or the movie better. I love them both. I love them both equally. They are brilliant, inspired, hilarious… this is the sort of pairing that should exist between book and movie, and yet so often fails miserably.
I could go on for hours. However, I did actually have a point for this post, and it wasn’t just to subject you to the ravings of an infatuated fan. I wanted to discuss the book for a bit. The whole “Princess Bride: Book or Movie” conversation has come up over on goodreads, and I wanted to take a minute to clarify a few things in more detail than I am able to over there.
If you have read this book, or pick this book up off the shelf, you are in for an unparalleled treat. But there are a few things you ought to know first.
1. S. Morgenstern does not exist. Or rather, he does… S. Morgenstern is William Goldman’s pen name. I read the book many times before I realized this… and reading it in ignorance or reading it knowing the truth… I feel both can be very fun ways to read the book.
2. William Goldman does not have a son. He has 2 daughters. When he was tucking them in one night, he wanted to tell them a story. He asked them what it should be about. One said, “Princesses!” the other said, “Brides!” and he replied, “Well then, that will be the title.” His wife is not a psychiatrist, either.
3. Florin and Guilder are not real places. They are currencies.
4. The Princess Bride: The Good Parts Version is the ONLY version of this book that exists. There is no political satire that this story was based off of. All of the author asides and references to the book his father read him as a little boy are as made up and fictional as the rest of the story.
Some people I have talked to have been bothered by the above facts. They feel that the author (William Goldman) is “lying” to them in his prologue about his father reading him the book, searching high and low for a copy of it to give to his own son, and his own quest to abridge the novel to make it into a child-friendly read. I have a few things to say to that.
1. What section of the library do you find this book in? The FICTION section. (Which should be plenty good enough and we could stop right there, but if you’re still bothered, keep reading).
2. Nobody complains about the bits of the movie where the Grandpa is reading to the grandson. Nobody complains that those scenes detract from the story. In fact, that flipping back and forth is what most people LOVE about the movie. Well, guess what? It is also part of the book. The idea was in the book first.
3. While we’re on the topic of complaints: nobody complains that Peter Falk isn’t really Fred Savage’s grandfather, either.
Personally, I find the author asides to be immensely humorous. When I read the story the first several times, I knew none of the above facts… but I enjoyed the story anyway. When I learned that the asides were part of the story (I was in college before I discovered this)… I did not feel betrayed or lied to. In fact, I felt that I needed to tip my hat to the author’s brilliance. Though Morgenstern is the pen-name, Goldman himself became a bit of a fictional author to some extent as well, which is vastly entertaining. In essence, the fabrications about William Goldman’s life and the creation of the author S. Morgenstern aren’t really all that different from what was done in A Series of Unfortunate Events by the so-called Lemony Snicket… Goldman just did it first.
Really, all of this just makes me love the story more. I love the author’s sense of humor… and I even love that not everyone “gets” it. We few, we happy few, who do “get” the joke… we are truly a band of brothers and sister… probably a band of nerds… but I choose to embrace the fact that I’m a nerd and make no apologies for it.
What is your favorite Princess Bride quote or scene?
What other “campy” movies do you just love?