Monday, November 28, 2016

As You Wish - Cary Elwes

I'm at the point in my life where I can read whatever I want without feeling guilty that I should be ploughing through the classics first. I've ploughed through the classics. La chair est triste et j'ai lu tous les livres - ok? So if I wanna read some corny book about the making of The Princess Bride I can, all right? Why do you have to keep bugging me about bloody Silas Marner? Life is too short for Silas bloody Marner! 
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Ahem, where was I. . .oh yes. As You Wish, the making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes. Elwes is a good writer. He cowrote the screenplay for last year's sleeper Elvis and Nixon and his prose is smooth and agreeable sort of like himself with his blue eyes and pretty pretty face. And this entire book is fairly pleasing if you have even a passing interest in how the movie came together. I listened to the audiobook and there were nice little additions from the cast and crew throughout. So it's all fine. 
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But here's the thing. Rob Reiner is an easy going director and everybody got on with everybody else and there were no major problems with the shoot and in the end they produced a pretty good movie. So where's the bloody drama? Much more entertaining are the books and films about the movie shoots that went horribly horribly wrong. Lost Soul, a documentary about the making of The Island of Dr Moreau is a classic. Now that was a movie that knew how to do drama around its production and the story of that movie could make 10 interesting books. Terry Gilliam's famously disastrous The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is another great movie about the making of a movie (that never actually got made). And Werner Herzog's diary about the making of Fitzcarraldo, Conquest of the Useless, might be among the best things he's ever done. 
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The worse it is for the cast and crew the more fun it is for us. So when everybody gets on and it all works out....that leads to, well, As You Wish, an amiable little book about an amiable film. Ok, now back to George bloody Eliot. 
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