I recently finished reading the novel The Princess Bride. If you are not familiar with the movie based off the novel, then I feel very sorry for you as you are missing out on a truly classic film. In so many ways it is an incredible adaptation of a novel. As the title for this post suggest, it may be the best ever. It is also very much one of the most quoted geek movies ever.
The movie really stays incredibly true to the novel, with some changes that just make sense and in the end nothing of the story is lost. We get a very pure transfer of the story.
One element of the novel that could not be transferred however is the odd claims by the author William Goldman that it is not his original story, but an abridged version of an older novel written by fictional author Simon Morgenstern. The novel opens up with a long explanation of why Goldman felt this abridgement was needed and the whole background story behind, with mention of a fictional wife and son (Goldman has two daughters and no son) being involved. This narrative is kept up through out the novel with various breaks in the story as Goldman explains what he cut out and why he did it. It is actually very convincingly done.
The odd false narrative of the abridgment is the inspiration for the movie's use of the grandfather reading the book to his sick grandson. Many of the grandson's interruptions are based on what Goldman claims to be him interrupting his father when his father read the book to him when he was young.
While the novel was enjoyable and left me with a new respect for the movie, I will say the movie itself is much better at delivering the jokes. Most of the jokes are in the novel as is much of the actual movie dialogue, being word for word more than you would think. Yet reading the jokes does not work as well as seeing them being played out.
The wikipedia entry on the novel is very much worth reading.
It is one of the novels where there is just so much more to it.