Princess Bride, Special Edition Preview

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Kyle Milligan, Aug 21, 2001.

  1. Kyle Milligan

    Kyle Milligan Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, MGM/UA took its time, but finally it has come. I can safely say those who were anxiously awaiting this one won't be waiting in vain.
    Here's our look at it, for more details click here
    Princess Bride, Special Edition:
    Good things come to those who wait. That would certainly be the moral of this DVD story. Just over a year ago, “The Princess Bride” was released, but it didn’t include some of the wonderful special bonus features here, and also without an anamorphic transfer. Now, these two oversights have been corrected, and compensated for very nicely.
    William Goldman has said that “The Princess Bride” was his favourite novel, and remembers a slow process of finally getting the story on celluloid. He’d sold the book, and was genuinely proud of himself for buying it back years later, and it’s safe to say that this is at least one occasion where the writer didn’t get screwed.
    You can listen to William Goldman’s audio commentary for thematic and historical relevance, but you’ll have to contend with the fact that he hasn’t seen the film in a while. He falls silent often, sometimes apologizing, “…sorry, I just have to watch this.” Being the writer, he’s not very clear on some of the technical aspects of the filmmaking, such as on the “Cliffs Of Insanity,” for example. He admits, “I have no idea how they did that.” Enter the director audio commentary.
    Rob Reiner recalls winning the confidence of Goldman, and getting started on the project. Rob is the best person to listen to for this film due to his involvement in all things concerning the production. I’ll bet you didn’t know that he was the voice of the “R.O.U.S.s” either, did you? Yes, Rob recorded the snarling for the Rodents Of Unusual Size, but it unfortunately took two takes because they forgot to hit the record button on the first one. Rob also reveals some of the tricks employed to alleviate Andre The Giant’s terribly bad back problems that rendered him unable to do his own fight scenes.
    And speaking of Andre, he figures prominently in the “As You Wish” documentary, as a touching remembrance of the late actor/wrestler is given with equal parts fondness and amazement. It also includes new interviews with almost all of the cast including Christopher Guest, Billy Crystal, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Fred Savage, Robin Wright Penn and Cary Elwes, not to mention the director and screenwriter as well. In it we learn that one of the actor’s who played one of the R.O.U.S.s got pulled over and put in jail on his way to the film set, sprung loose by the film crew that desperately needed him later on. Another funny moment is offered from William Goldman who admits his presence on the set doesn’t exactly help the production, especially when he screams uncontrollably, ruining a take.
    In addition to all that, there’s still a photo gallery and a couple of featurettes that both offer a tad more footage unseen after the lending of footage for the superior “As You Wish” retrospective. The personal video diary of Cary Elwes is well worth a look too, and works as part of a very strong package that awaits those who were patient enough to get this one.
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    Kyle
    www.toldyouso.net
    [Edited last by Kyle Milligan on August 22, 2001 at 12:49 AM]
     
  2. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    Thanks for the review! [​IMG]
    I'm glad Criterion doesn't license out their supplements - now this DVD + my LD will provide the ultimate collection of extras for The Princess Bride!
    Let the quotes begin! Inconceivable!
     
  3. Kyle Milligan

    Kyle Milligan Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Philip,
    What sort of bonuses do you have on the LD? Anything really cool?
    Kyle
     
  4. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    Oh yes! And I quote...
    "Audio commentary by Rob Reiner, William Goldman, Andrew Scheinman, Billy Crystal, and Peter Falk"
    (possibly my favourite ever commentary track)
    "Rob Reiner reads excerpts from William Goldman's novel The Princess Bride."
    (very interesting - need to get that book!)
    Then, lots of mini-extras: the usual Criterion essay, behind the scenes footage, Rob Reiner's production scrapbook, Norman Garwood's production sketches etc. Nothing too interesting here.
    It's a 2-disc (4-sided) CAV pressing...And the gatefold LD cover is gorgeous. If you can find it on eBay, it's still a very worthwhile purchase.
     
  5. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
    Reviewer

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    Kenneth McAlinden
    For anyone who might care, I A/B'd the Criterion CLV and new MGM anamorphic transfers. Before going into it or panicking anyone, I can say with confidence that the latest MGM release is superior.
    Video
    The Criterion transfer is on the soft side. The detail on the MGM anamorphic transfer is far superior. It may even be noticeable downconverted to 4:3, but I did not check. The color schemes vary somewhat. For example, Buttercup's dress when she is kidnapped looks crimson on the Criterion transfer, but looks more orange on the new MGM release. I'm not sure which one is "correct", but it is interesting to note that for most of the scenes after they reach the "Cliffs of Insanity", starting with when Fezzik warns Inigo to be careful before they part company, the dress looks less crimson and more orange in the Criterion transfer as well. Right or wrong, MGM gets points for consistency.
    Audio
    I'll call it for MGM in a close race. There seems to be improved clarity and separation in the MGM 5.1 mix versus the 2.0 PCM pro-logic mix on the Criterion laserdisc. Otherwise, MGM wisely chose to not alter the mix drastically, and seems to have had the restraint to use the LFE channel for Low Frequency Effects only rather than mixing primary bass information from the music in as well (the converse being one of my pet peeves).
    Extras
    My laserdisc is the CLV movie-only Criterion, so it has no extras. The CAV had some nice ones as listed above.
    Final Thoughts (Jerry Springer fantasy heading [​IMG])
    After being somewhat disappointed with the A/V presentation of MGM's Silence of the Lambs versus previous Criterion releases, I have no reservations about recommending their new transfer of The Princess Bride.
    Regards,
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    Ken McAlinden
    Livonia, MI USA
     

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