Tuesday, November 14, 2006
"She kissed me! She kissed me!"
The Princess Bride (1987)
It was interesting to me when director/screenwriter Ali Selim told Dr. Cummings' class that one of his favorite movies was The Princess Bride. I vaguely remembered a fairy tale involving a Princess and her lover and of course the line, "She kissed me, She kissed me" from an old man whose identity I am still not certain of as the Prince's father is recently deceased. Upon seeing our somewhat confused expressions Selim asked, "who is the main character of that film?" I quickly said, "that one prince guy that fights a giant" and was was quickly corrected. Selim responded, "The story is about a boy and his grandfather." That storyline rang a bell and I decided to revisit the film and blog about it here.
The film is indeed about a young boy (Fred Savage, well known from the Wonder Years) and his grandfather. The film opens with the grandson bringing the boy a "special gift", but the boy is much more interested in his video games. The grandfather gets his way, as grandparents have a way of doing. The young boy quickly becomes enchanted by the love story of Westley (Cary Elwes) and Buttercup (Robin Wright Penn), but wants nothing to do with the "mooshy kissing stuff".
The story twists and turns. Inigo Montoya (Mandy Platinkin) is on quest to avenge his fathers death by the six-fingered man. He is on this voyage with Fezzik (Andre the Giant), a friendly giant, and Vizzini (Shawn Wallace), an almost carny like character that supposedly posesses great wit, but dies shortly into the film at the hand of Westley. Westley from there on out, is supposed to posess an even greater wit. Once Buttercup is taken away from Westley in the Red Swamp full of fire, quick sand, and abnormally large rodents, by the Prince Humperdinck (the name tells you everything), the quest to save her begins. Westley even comes back from the "mostly dead" to save her. In the end, Westley gets the girl, Inigo avenges his father's death, and the Fezzik is just as happy as he started out. It truly is the "fairy-tale ending."
What's interesting about the film is that if just the story of Westley and Buttercup was told without the pretense that this is a grandfather reading to his grandson, the film would have most likely flopped. It is simply too outrageous. However, the filmmakers' choice to make the fairytale a device which connects the two is what has made The Princess Bride a classic film which has so far withstood the test of time.