A much loved book and a classic movie: this month CineFix tackle the differences between the tree and silver halide versions of The Princess Bride by William Goldman.
Many years ago my sister was kind enough to force me to read The Princess Bride. Of course I was a fan of the movie; despite never doing the fancy dress thing for parties I have worn an Inigo Montoya name badge, so yes, I was a fan. But for some reason at the time I had this strange idea that if I had seen the movie then there wasn’t much point in reading the book. I mean, how different could they be?*
Long story short, The Princess Bride is one of my favourite novels, ranking up there with Good Omens and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. The What’s the Difference? video only makes passing mention to the style of the novel, which is as much about making an abridged version of the original S. Morgenstern novel, as it is about the adventures of Westley and Princess Buttercup. Having to edit out the endless chapters describing trees, the difficult negotiations required to secure the rights to do the abridgement over Florin native Stephen King (who ends up securing the rights to the sequel, Buttercup’s Baby), and generally only including the good parts, are key to the novel. Just about all of this was dropped from the movie, because meta-humour would be too confusing to audiences (trust me, people still don’t understand Inception for some reason). So the novel is quite different from the movie. Read it.
On the subject of the above video, it is interesting in this instance that William Goldman wrote the book and the screenplay. So we are able to see how Goldman has zeroed in on the important parts of the narrative to simplify the movie. Because movie audiences aren’t like us sophisticated book readers. In the anniversary edition of the book, Goldman notes how pleased he was with the movie, particularly the casting that brought the book to life. No mention was made of the budget blow-outs due to Andre The Giant’s alcohol consumption.
*Hence the reason I share this fantastic video series each month: it is my penance for such poor thinking.