Movie Club: The Princess Bride

Discussion in 'Introductions & Off Topic' started by LiamABC, Aug 12, 2017.

  1. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    A big thanks to everyone that are joining us through all of this.

    This week, we're back in the 80s again after a long absence, and specifically watching the classic The Princess Bride.

    Remember any ideas for films to discuss are most welcome, and should be made on the Movie Club Introduction thread (the sticky one).

    Just a friendly reminder to everyone that, whilst fans are obviously welcome to passionately discuss and give their views on these episodes, please remember to keep things on a friendly footing and respect your fellow posters.
    Also, please do not post where or how to find the full movie online. And do not post asking others to PM it to you. You are however allowed to watch the movie in whatever manner you want.
  2. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Wow what a great movie.
    I only ever seen a few minutes of this on TV years ago but never the full film.
    A couple weeks back I seen this DVD on sale in a supermarket for £4 so I decided to get it.
    Great story and great casting.
    I was discussing this with Liam a couple of days ago and he described it as ''Walt Disney meets Monty Python'' and that is a pretty accurate description.
    The sword fighting scenes are pretty amazing.
    I really enjoyed the scenes with Peter Falk and Fred Savage. I especially liked the toys in the bedroom as some of them were some of my favourites growing up. Like He=-Man and Leech from MOTU and most importantly the Marvel Superheroes Secret Wars Captain America figure which was the first I action figure I ever got bought to me by my Mum and Dad. :D
    The filming locations are pretty stunning, especially the Cliffs of Moher and the various English countryside scenes like Derbyshire etc.
    This is now another of my favourite 80's movies. :D
  3. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    This has been a favourite of mine ever since I first saw it. Why I only got the DVD last week I'll never know. But it was packed with fascinating bonus features in addition to the movie itself, and I learned quite a bit.

    Firstly, the sequences with the kid and the grandpa are in the original book as well! Speaking of the book, it was first published in the early 1970s, and author William Goldman tried to get it filmed for about 15 years before finally succeeded. It wasn't that people didn't like the book, but he was plagued by a lot of ill luck in the venture, just as the idea got accepted, studio bosses would get fired and their successors would cancel it simply because it "belonged" to the old boss. Finally in the mid 80s Rob Reiner got on board as director. He'd already made "This Is Spinal Tap" and went on to make "When Harry Met Sally" before the decade was out. He was the perfect person to handle this film.

    Incidentally William Goldman in his commentary mentioned that there had been very productive talks in the mid 1970s with Richard Lester, who'd just directed The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers. Goldman speculated on what it would have been like with Lester at the helm, imagining, almost by default, some of the Musketeers cast in these roles. For my part I reckon that would still have worked. Although possibly not as well.

    It's one of the trailers on the bonus disc that describes this film as "Walt Disney meets Monty Python", and I'd never thought of it in that way, but bloody hell it's spot on. There's actually a bit where Westley is climbing the rope and talking to Montoya, where he does sound a little bit like John Cleese, oddly enough!

    Which is as good a place as any to talk about that swordfight. Described tongue-in-cheek in the script as "the second greatest swordfight in the history of the movies, the greatest is coming up later on" - it's now regarded as being superior, and for any number of reasons. First of all, it is believed to be the only swordfight in cinema history not to use stunt doubles. Yes, the acrobatic jumps and somersaults were stunt doubles, but every thrust and parry of swordplay in this scene was done by the two actors themselves, Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin. Even more remarkable, both of them use both their left and right hands in this sequence. As well as throwing witty lines at each other, there's a lot in this scene. They go all over the set.

    Digressing for a moment here - it's curious how it's so obvious that a lot of these scenes were sets, but it's not a problem. The script and acting are so engaging that this detail doesn't matter! (Possibly because there's so much comedy in it, a more serious film might not get away with it.)

    Anyway, that swordfight is significant in another way, because in the course of it we quickly realise that Inigo Montoya is not the black-hearted villain we initially took him for - as indeed we see with Fezzik a few minutes later. Hence it is only Vizzini who is actually killed in the chase, slightly cold-bloodedly in the execution (no pun intended) but as Westley has just dispatched his two henchmen without killing them, and Vizzini is the scheming villain, at least at this point. We later find out who hired him . . .

    The cameos in this movie are also amazing. Billy Crystal as Miracle Max, apparently improvised some of his lines, with a skill and tone reminiscent of Robin Williams. Imagine those two trading jokes with each other - the audience would all bust their guts with laughter . . . Mel Smith as the albino, with a voice that reminds me of Bill Bailey (although he hadn't got started yet). Peter Falk as the grandpa is amazing too. Wallace Shawn as Vizzini, I can see why he was later cast in Deep Space Nine to play Zek, the Grand Nagus of the Ferengi.

    The leads are no less impressive. Cary Elwes has everything that is needed for this role. He has the wit and the panache, and even the look. They talk about him looking like Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn and they're right. He has the look of a Robin Hood, and indeed played that role in Mel Brooks' parody "Robin Hood: Men In Tights" which I have never seen all through but suspect I would enjoy, being familiar with both the Kevin Costner and the Errol Flynn films of that legend (for my money the Errol Flynn movie from 1938 is still the best Robin Hood film there's ever been). Hmm, thinking out loud here, we could at some point do a Robin Hood fest on here - I need to see Men In Tights, anyone who hasn't seen the Errol Flynn one is missing out, and the Kevin Costner one is still OK if you can swallow the deviations from the traditional story. But not right now, that can wait for another time.

    And of course, Mandy Patinkin - who by my count utters that famous line six times:

    "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

    With varying degrees of humour and seriousness. Indeed, in the online "back room" of the satire page that I write for, we've been riffing off this film on one thread, and when one of my colleagues made the quote that I was about to make, I said to her, "my name is Liam Callaghan. You stole my punchline. Prepare to die."

    Which says it all really. I could go on about how amazing this film is all day, but I'll shut up now. If you've never seen it before, watch it for yourselves and fall in love with it. If you already love it, watch it again because you know you want to. And if you dislike it . . . I don't trust your opinion on anything ;)
  4. Daremonger

    Daremonger Thunderian Legend

    I remember The Princess Bride. It was a great movie, and it turns 30 this year.
  5. The Drifter

    The Drifter Berbill

    The Princess Bride is an excellent film, and proficiently mixes both drama & humor. I thought it was funny how the story started out as a book that the Peter Falk grandfather character reading to the kid (Fred Savage), and then was interrupted throughout the film by the kid asking questions, etc. - normally, this type of thing would "take me out" of a movie, but since it was done so well that it worked perfectly here.

    Robin Wright was gorgeous in this film - very good casting here.

    Wallace Shawn was fantastic as Vizzini. He can make me laugh even without saying anything, since his physical appearance is amusing on many levels (I have a similar reaction to Jay Leno - LOL). However, combine his funny appearance with his hilarious nasal voice, and you have a real recipe for comedy. Shawn was also great in numerous Woody Allen films over the years, and in the '80's cult classic My Dinner with Andre (1981).
    LiamABC likes this.
  6. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    A few weeks back we watched this movie and I enjoyed it even more this time. My Mum and Dad also really enjoyed it.
    Such a wonderful film.

    I was thinking how awesome some Princess Bride action figures would be then today I seen in Toyark that McFarlane toys are releasing some action figures of the main characters next year. McFarlane have really upped their game in the articulation department the last year or two, especially since getting the DC comics licence.
    NECA did release one figure a good while back but it was basically more of a statue than an action figure...although since then they to have really improved giving figures great articulation.

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