Another entertaining one for all the family. William Goldman is the legendary screenwriter of “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid”, “Marathon Man” and “All The President’s Men”. He wrote the book “The Princess Bride” about another book his father used to read to him by S. Morgenstern when he was a kid. When he finally read it as an adult he realised his father had left out all the boring bits.
He decided to write a more entertaining version, the way his dad used to tell it. He included extensive, often humourous, footnotes to address the changes he’d made to the original and why.
Now, I’ve just told you a story, but it’s not the complete story – just like the book. Goldman’s book is real but it’s complete fiction. S. Morgenstern doesn’t exist. The book is Goldman’s meta commentary on fairy tales and adventure stories such as “Gulliver’s Travels” (which are often political allegories and have many boring bits if you’re a kid – or even an adult). It’s really a fantastic and silly fairy tale adventure inspired by stories Goldman made up for his daughters.
The film by Rob Reiner, which Goldman also wrote, captures the spirit of his innovative book. The story is framed by the fictional book being read to a kid (Fred Savage) by his grandfather (Peter Falk). In the story there’s everything a fairy tale needs – a damsel in distress, handsome heroes, wicked villains, a giant, sword fights and magic potions.
What makes it so fantastic is the writing and the performances. The script is absolutely hilarious and almost every line is quotable, but everyone manages to play it with a straight face.
For once I can say the production values are poor, because it’s supposed to be that way. It’s not supposed to be realistic. All the cast are great, especially Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya. Robin Wright has never looked more beautiful. And there are a load of wonderful comedy cameos. It’s another must-see.