As I’m sure you know by now, I’m Paulie Marino, the Classics Host at Rave Buckland Hills, Manchester CT . Yes, that’s right: Marino! “And as I am sure you’ve guessed, I’m of Sicilian descent. And, you guessed right. Now just before I punched in on 1/15/14, I made a bet with my General Manager that there would be more than 100 people in attendance for that Classic, Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride. If I was right, I got a raise to $8.70 per hour; but if I was wrong, then my pay became minimum wage*. Now, you probably all think that I guessed wrong. But you only think I guessed wrong! That’s what’s so funny! I switched into my sunglasses as people were coming in! Ha-ha, you fools! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is: Never get involved in a land war in Asia. But only slightly less well-known is this: Never go in against a Sicilian when money is on the line”! A-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!…”
But never mind my wager, let’s talk about Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride, shall we? It’s a romantic comedy released in 1987 that became an almost instant cult classic: The perfect paradigm for a play within a play. As Grandpa/The Narrator (Peter Falk) reads the novel The Princess Bride to his Grandson (Fred Savage), the story is re-enacted. It’s set in seemingly pre-Renaissance Britain and tells the tale of Westley’s (Cary Elwes [El`-whez, rhymes w/ says]) love for Buttercup/The Princess Bride (Robin Wright). But alas, Westley is but a poor farm boy under Buttercup’s employ. He has no money & must leave the farm to earn the funds necessary to marry Buttercup. He promises to return to her. Buttercup then learns he was murdered by the Dread Pirate Roberts. But when the evil Prince Humperdink (Chris Sarandan, Susan’s ex) decrees her his fiancé, she resigns herself to a lifetime of unhappiness – for she still & forever will love Westley. One day, the marriage is put on hold when she is kidnapped by the Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), who thinks of himself as a criminal genius, and his 2 employees: Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), a master swordsman; and the gargantuan, Fezzik (Andre the Giant).
The Princess Bride received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song for Willy DeVille’s Storybook Love, which is played during the end credits. The casting is fantastic in The Princess Bride. The Casting Directors are the renowned Jane Jenkins & Janet Hirshenson, whose credits include A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, and A Few Good Men among the 100+ feature films they’ve cast since teaming up in ‘81. The Casting Director is responsible for the pre-production (i.e., before filming begins) determination of much of the cast, though, ultimately all casting decisions are made by the Director, Producers and Executive Producer. For The Princess Bride, Reiner, Janet & Jane, et al scoured various arenas of the acting world for the cast: Patinkin came from Broadway, 7 years earlier winning the Best Actor in Musical as Che in the original Evita, which my wife Cindy & I were fortunate to see; Peter Falk, Billy Crystal and a then 10 year old Fred Savage came from TV; Peter Cook (The Impressive Clergyman) and Willoughby Gray (The King) from British Telly; Andre the Giant was a professional wrestler; and much of the cast are film actors. I can tell I’ve wet your whistle for Rob Reiner’s great cast in The Princess Bride, at least to the point of wanting to see the trailer, right? [As if falling off a building] “A-a-a-as you-u-u wi-i-i-ish!!!”. 4 Stars!
* Minimum wage in CT became $8.70 on 1/1/14