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

As You WishIf you randomly find yourself uttering things like “Anybody want a peanut?”, “Have fun storming the castle,” or “I’m not a witch. I’m your wife!” — then face it: You’re a hopeless Princess Bride fanatic… and you’ll probably enjoy As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Prince Bride very, very much.

Written by Cary Elwes (Westley!!!), the book is a nice jaunt back in time, telling tales from behind the scenes of the production, from his casting and the early days of filming all the way through the cast’s reunion for a 25th anniversary celebration of this amazing movie.

Surprisingly, The Princess Bride was not a huge success when it was first released — perhaps due to completely bungled marketing on the part of the studio. Audiences who saw the movie loved it; the problem was, not that many people actually saw it. But with the advent of VHS (remember those?), the popularity of the movie took off until it became the cult classic it is today.

In As You Wish, Cary (can I call him Cary? I feel like we’re connected…) tells about his early meetings with director Rob Reiner and with his co-stars, and how the movie was made, start to finish. His reminiscences about the late, great André the Giant are particularly sweet and heartfelt, and his obviously sincere praise for the rest of the cast is quite lovely and a lot of fun to read. Side notes from Reiner, Billy Crystal, Robin Wright, and other cast members help round out the story of the movie-making, sharing other perspectives and anecdotes related to events that Cary describes.

I especially enjoyed the little tidbits that I hadn’t known before. Did you know that Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin did all of their own sword fighting in the movie? They trained rigorously for months to pull off The Greatest Swordfight in Modern Times, which makes it extra fun to watch and rewatch, now that I know.

If you’re a fan of The Princess Bride, this quick book is a fun way to spend an afternoon or two. It’s not especially earthshaking or surprising in any way, and there’s certainly no gossip or scandalous escapades here. As You Wish is a tribute to a movie that so many of us know and love, and it’s clear from reading this book that Cary Elwes and the rest of the cast and crew consider being a part of The Princess Bride a once-in-a-lifetime, extra special experience. Consider this a lovely little gift to the fans, straight from Cary Elwes’s heart… and enjoy.

_________________________________________

The details:

Title: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride
Author: Cary Elwes (with Joe Layden)
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication date: October, 2014
Length: 259 pages
Genre: Entertainment/memoir/non-fiction
Source: Purchased as a gift… then borrowed it back to read!

21 thoughts on “Book Review: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride

  1. As a fan of the movie I have been curious. Thank you for the review and the tidbit about the sword fighting. The fact it was done by Elwes and Pattinken and not stunt doubles makes it that much better.

  2. I caught myself quoting TPB at work recently (to a group of men!) and got blank looks all round. They weren’t convinced that they had to go see it.

    • If you love the movie, then this is definitely worth checking out. (In fact, I bought it as a holiday gift for my daughter — then borrowed it back before she’s even looked at it so I could have a chance to read it. 🙂 )

  3. I’m a big Princess Bride fan and I’d love to read this book. I once took a pizza order over the phone from Cary Elwes when he was staying at a hotel in Dublin. That it one of my biggest claims to fame!!

  4. I watched the Princess Bride only once, so many year ago on TV, I simply loved it. Never had the occasion to watch it agian. But hey… how I love internet and streaming.. I have to find it.
    Why did you mentione it???????

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