"Naturally, although I find Thibault cancels out Capoferro, don't you?"
September 18, 2019 10:14 PM   Subscribe

Do you remember the sword-fight scene in The Princess Bride? And how Inigo Montoya and the Dread Pirate Roberts kept up a discussion about their various strategems? Turns out those are real, historic fencing references. [Threadreader]
posted by Chrysostom (30 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
 
I didn't the first time I watched it. Spent enough time reading about historical fencing to recognize the names at some point... Cool to see someone has done the research to lay things out explicitly. If you want to read the writings of these fencing masters, Wiktenauer is a good resource. Some of those mentioned in the twitter thread:

- Ridolfo Capo Ferro da Cagli
-
Gérard Thibault d'Anvers
- Camillo Agrippa

My username is actually inspired by a man named Cheese mentioned in George Silver's Paradoxes of Defense.
posted by Mister Cheese at 10:50 PM on September 18, 2019 [6 favorites]


Holy crap! I had always presumed those references had as much fact to them as the Cliffs of Insanity, shrieking eels or the nations of Florin and Guilder.

And in fact checking myself while writing this, Wikipedia tells me that guilder and florin were interchangeable terms for some currency. Nutty.
posted by drfu at 10:52 PM on September 18, 2019 [1 favorite]


Having watched Princess Bride this very night, I can say that the words don't match the actions. The film does not actually display Capo Ferro's techniques. Both Inigo and Wesley are following the teachings of the same master, Errol Flynn.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:00 PM on September 18, 2019 [30 favorites]


Inconceiv-- ohhh, never mind.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:46 PM on September 18, 2019 [7 favorites]


It's good fight, but Inigo vs the Six-Fingered Man takes the cake for me.

"I want my father back you son of a bitch!" still sends a shiver through me...
posted by dazed_one at 11:52 PM on September 18, 2019 [13 favorites]


never mind
I do not think

enhh, yeah, it’s tired. This here link is pretty sweet though.
posted by mwhybark at 12:18 AM on September 19, 2019


Inconceiv-- ohhh, never mind.

We also would have accepted, anybody want a peanut?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:23 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


"Stop saying that!"
posted by paladin at 2:05 AM on September 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


For more about Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin's *gruelling* training with Peter Diamond and Bob Anderson I recommend As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride (summary article available here)

It happens to include the most endearing stories of Andre the Giant you are every likely to read.
posted by Molesome at 3:03 AM on September 19, 2019 [12 favorites]


> "Turns out those are real, historic fencing references."

Well, of course. To best the Spaniard, he must have studied. How else is he supposed to have learned that man is mortal?
posted by kyrademon at 4:30 AM on September 19, 2019 [21 favorites]


"Unless the enemy has studied his Agrippa."
I had always heard that in Inigo's 'Spanish' accent as "Unless the enemy has a-studied his-a Grippa".
posted by MtDewd at 5:10 AM on September 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


This is somewhat less surprising in the novel, which is (inconceivably) even better than the film.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 5:42 AM on September 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


Watched the film recently with gwint jr. and boy howdy does it hold up. A treasure.
posted by gwint at 6:54 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


I love this movie, and I love this book even more. Thank you for reminding me of them.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 7:21 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


In addition, my stage combat professor in college said that it was the best swordfight on screen -- best choreographed, best performed. Not surprising, since fight choreographer Bob Anderson had a storied 50-year career spanning from coaching Errol Flynn to training the sword fighters of Middle Earth, and included performing Darth Vader's fights in Empire and Return of the Jedi in the meantime.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 7:25 AM on September 19, 2019 [14 favorites]


I was vaguely aware that they studied to do real things during that scene and I am excited to learn more but dangit the author leads off calling Westley "Wesley" and now I don't know if I can trust him to know anything
posted by solotoro at 7:30 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


I had always presumed those references had as much fact to them as the Cliffs of Insanity, shrieking eels or the nations of Florin and Guilder.

Or rodents of unusual size.
posted by RobotHero at 7:38 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Apparently some mad person at Sony wants to remake it, which led to general horror on Twitter yesterday. I'm not quite as horrified, since the original will still be there, but the odds of making anything half as good are quite small so I don't really see the point.
posted by tavella at 8:14 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Is it true Christopher Guest had to learn to defend himself properly because his costars were a bit too enthusiastic during their scenes with him?
posted by Fukiyama at 8:31 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


I thought it was the other way around, that he was so tickled to be in a swordfight scene that he had to be reminded to stop making "ksssh, ksssh" noises.

... the novel, which is (inconceivably) even better than the film.

For some reason I couldn't get into it the first time I tried reading it. The second time I was fine with it, though I still think the movie is a better, tighter, more compelling story.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:36 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Or rodents of unusual size.

Like capybara?
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:44 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I found the movie much more enjoyable.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:54 AM on September 19, 2019


Anyone here ever hear of the delicate measured dance called the minuet? This delicate sprightly historical dance?

Okay, if you look at it you will notice that it involves a lot of small, precisely placed steps and lots of arm movements with flourishes. Kinda effete. Guys in wigs and embroidered clothes...

The minuet is what happened when brawling bravos who used to duel relentlessly with swords got on a dance floor. The precise steps are the deliberate foot work of a fencing master, and the arm movements are the deliberate motions of guys who had forearms like iron bars and could prick a butterfly on the wing as well as thrust a sword through another guy's chest so that you would see it emerge from his back. Think of a guy who makes his living by setting up wagers on his ability to kill or merely wound another man, both of who took their study extremely seriously because they had already also used it in warfare, and they were the survivors of that warfare. Those pretty shoe buckles could the reward for winning a wager, or possibly just for doing a contact killing. The wrists of a fencer were like the size and sound of a Harley Davidson, or the contract signed when an NFL team throws as much money as they can scrape together to entice a free agent that is trading up. The wrists of those swordsmen left pretty much everyone in awe. And when they danced...

So after that everybody wanted to dance like them. Or with them. Oh, so badly.

Nowadays when you see someone dance the minuet they probably haven't lifted weights for fifteen years as preparation nor put in all the hours of daylight training their arm work, but if they did that would be what the minuet looked like in period. At least until all the poseurs took to dancing that way too...
posted by Jane the Brown at 8:59 AM on September 19, 2019 [24 favorites]


My username is actually inspired by a man named Cheese mentioned in George Silver's Paradoxes of Defense.

John Cleese's real family name is Cheese, but his father changed it, tired of the constant cheese jokes. It's a hard name to live with.
posted by w0mbat at 12:51 PM on September 19, 2019


Apparently some mad person at Sony wants to remake it, which led to general horror on Twitter yesterday. I'm not quite as horrified, since the original will still be there, but the odds of making anything half as good are quite small so I don't really see the point.

@Cary_Elwes: There’s a shortage of perfect movies in this world. It would be a pity to damage this one.
posted by sapere aude at 1:51 PM on September 19, 2019 [10 favorites]


I have a daily goal of trying to sneaking a Princess Bride quote or reference into some work conversation or dev ticket. I've been caught a few times, laughed with more often, and outright puzzled my coworkers in a meeting. My partner does the same with Alien/Aliens quotes. We're fun at parties; we crack ourselves up. sigh. Between us, I have been known to start a sentence with "is this a kissing . . . ?"
posted by lemon_icing at 6:16 PM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


I showed the movie to my (then) six-year-old last year and I was delighted that her reaction to the movie was exactly the same as the kid in the movie. "Is this a kissing movie?" "Do you want to turn it off?" "No, it's OK." "I LOVE THIS MOVIE!"
posted by kirkaracha at 9:59 PM on September 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


@Cary_Elwes: There’s a shortage of perfect movies in this world. It would be a pity to damage this one.

Wait wait wait wait wait. Wait just a consarned minute. "Norman Lear's" The Princess Bride (so-called in Sony's tweet that Elwes references)?? In the umpteen zillion times this movie has come up in conversation or print or website discussion in the years since it came out, I've heard Lear's name mentioned exactly never. Ok, so he was an "executive producer"; big whoop, all that means is he was involved in financing. The heart and soul of that movie absolutely belongs to producer Rob Reiner!! Fuck Sony fat cats and the limo they rode in on.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:11 PM on September 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


And William Goldman.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 8:57 AM on September 20, 2019


Well, yes.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:14 AM on September 20, 2019


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