The Princess Past

The Princess Past April 15, 2024

A poster for the film.
Source: Flickr user theNerdPatrol

Until last week, I had never seen The Princess Bride (1987). I understand this to be some species of crime. It never felt criminal to me. I had my fantasies of a Spanish-speaking cat, challenging his father’s murderer for all eternity. To my mind, it also starred Anne Hathaway and may have included Grace Kelly. Such was my contented vision.

I turned out to be wrong on each count. Usually, I like to be right. In this case, I’m happy to have so widely missed the mark.

While I enjoyed much of this beloved kids’ tale, I knew it had a place in my heart during the wedding sequence. The bishop stands solemnly before the eponymous princess (Robin Wright) and her bigamy-chasing groom (Chris Sarandon). We expect a somber pronouncement about the spiritual and personal import of marriage, a paean to its virtues. Then he opens his mouth: “Mawwiage…” I burst out laughing. Imagine that: a kid’s movie with the maturity to go for such a low blow. A bishop with a lisp—genius!

It was at that point that my wife, who has been a fan of the movie since her childhood, breathed a sigh of relief. My normal cynicism would find no place here. The Princess Bride was good.

What more is there to say? Today I had to mow the grass for the first time this year. Summer is—somehow—almost here. I sweat almost too much to think of films.

And yet, I can’t escape The Princess Bride. “My name is…” testifies to its power even as it sells this wonderful little movie short. I look forward to watching it with my own kids one day. It’s a delight for adults, even as its silliness—I imagine—must delight children.

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