The Princess Bride is yet another film that I could easily watch with the sound down (this time, missing a cracking soundtrack by Mark Knopfler) as I’m pretty confident that I could provide the dialogue. [you’ve got to note here however – how much of my formal education has received the same memory retention?]
What is it about this film that I love? I suppose it’s the tongue in cheek pastiche of a fairytale – that could be equally watched by children and adults. As a fairytale, it has everything – pirates, giants, an evil prince, a beautiful princess, swordfights, torture chambers, a six fingered man and a fire swamp (I’m probably missing lots of important bits out here!)
As a screenplay, it is filled with wonderful dialogue:
Inigo Montoya: You are sure nobody’s follow’ us?
Vizzini: As I told you, it would be absolutely, totally, and in all other ways inconceivable. No one in Guilder knows what we’ve done, and no one in Florin could have gotten here so fast. – Out of curiosity, why do you ask?
Inigo Montoya: No reason. It’s only… I just happened to look behind us and something is there.
Vizzini: What? Probably some local fisherman, out for a pleasure cruise, at night… in… eel-infested waters…
Buttercup: You mock my pain.
Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.
Perhaps my favourite scene is the interjection into the story by narrator (Peter Falk), reminding you that you are in fact being read this story, which in the intervening period you’ve forgotten. Peter Falk’s character is reading the story to his grandson, who is ill in bed. He stops the story momentarily, as he sees his grandson getting so involved in the story he is worried about his emotional state – so he gives away a little bit of the story to come to ease his disposition:
Grandpa: She doesn’t get eaten by the eels at this time
Grandpa: The eel doesn’t get her. I’m explaining to you because you look nervous.
Grandson: I wasn’t nervous. Maybe I was a little bit “concerned” but that’s not the same thing.
Which got me thinking – would we interrupt a chain of events in order to help someone we love, if we could?
About ten years ago I was given William Goldman’s fabulous book by a colleague, and it proved to be an even better read than the film – I’d heartily recommend it!
“As you wish…”
image credit: oxygeon.