BookBin2015: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride


I feel almost as if this were a cop-out review. I make no secret of the fact that I love The Princess Bride. It’s one of the funniest, sweetest, swash-bucklingiest, greatest modern fairy tales ever put to film, IMHO. Thankfully, I’m not alone in this opinion, as the movie continues to amuse and delight all age groups who see it. Simply put, it’s one of the most delightful films I own or I have ever seen. William Goldman, who both wrote the original novel and the screenplay for the movie, even stated that this is his favorite of all the things he has ever written. He loves the story so much that he was terrified of what might become of it in the hands of Hollywood.

Clearly, his worries ended up being totally and wondrously unfounded.

This entry isn’t about the original novel—although I do need to read that at some point. I own it. Of course, saying that I own a book doesn’t mean that I have read it, or will read it any time soon, for that matter. I own the unabridged version of Les Misérables as well. I bought it in 1992. It might be the longest-standing “un-read” book in my whole library.

I digress.

Instead, this is about Cary Elwes’ memoir As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride. Elwes, who played Westley in the film, provides us with some of his recollections of filming this movie and of being around the cast and crew on what he concedes is the most important film he has ever done. I have to admit, no matter what I see him in, my first thought is, “Ooh, Westley is in a new movie!” It’s not a bad thing at all.

One of the lovely things about this book is that Elwes doesn’t make it all about him. Instead, he opens it up to allow others from the film to share their memories as well. Sidebars abound from director Rob Reiner, Goldman, Robin “Buttercup” Wright, Mandy “Inigo Montoya” Patinkin, Wallace “Vizzini” Shawn, Billy “Miracle Max” Crystal, Carol “Valerie” Kane, Christopher “Count Rugen” Guest, Chris “Prince Humperdinck” Sarandon…Elwes invited them all on board, making this a delightfully communal commemoration of what they all seem to believe was a wonderful experience and a wonderful film. Either they are all genuine or all great actors. I’d like to think it’s a little bit of both.

There’s not much else to say. If you loved this movie, then I highly recommend this book. It’s funny, sweet, kind, and entertaining. Kind of like the movie it discusses in such reverent ways.

Final Verdict: I would not be averse to adding this to my library. I also really need to read The Princess Bride.

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