Full title: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride. Before I start my review, I want to mention that As You Wish is the perfect audiobook for a road trip between St. Louis, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas. I was traveling with my daughter and husband, and we were all entertained by Elwes’ memories of the making of the film. It’s really not that easy to find a book that works for all three of us, but this was an absolute hit. I can’t recommend it enough and if you’re already a fan of the movie, I’m sure that you’ll love it even more.
Though it starts out a bit self-congratulatory in tone, throwing around words like “timeless”, “modern classic”, and “once-in-a-lifetime experience”, As You Wish is ultimately, like The Princess Bride, a very sweet and and enjoyable memoir about the events behind the making of the film. At first, as I said, I was afraid that I was going to be bored to tears. Rob Reiner wrote and narrated the foreward and it is sugary sweet in its praise of the author, the movie, and everything to do with either. This high praise, some may argue, is well deserved, but I thought that it might have fit better in the flow of the tale as an afterword. First, the play then the applause, but, that’s just my opinion.
Some of the best parts of the memoir, not surprisingly, centered around Elwes’ interactions with his colorful co-stars. Andre the Giant figures largely into this tale, as he did in life, not only because of the enormous size of his body but also his heart. The brightest among us always seem to burn too quickly. Another of my favorite parts is the description of Elwes’ and Patinkin’s struggle to film the “greatest sword fight in modern times.” I had no idea of the amount of backbreaking work that went into the acquisition of the skills to run the scene. From day one of filming, Elwes and Patinkin were schooled by some of the best sword fighters in the movie business. Now that I know, I’m going to have to re-watch the film. I had always assumed that the fight was done by stuntmen. How wrong I was…
If you enjoy the film, The Princess Bride, you must listen to this audiobook. It is a real treat and you’ll appreciate some hidden gems revealed by Elwes’ narration. To borrow some descriptors from the book, it was a magical, “once-in-a-lifetime” moment when talent and story mixed together to create a “timeless, modern classic”. If you’re looking for some film related read-alikes (for movies other than the Princess Bride), try Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg or A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future…: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned by Michael J. Fox.
Thanks for reading! -Heidi