One of the wittiest, best-crafted screenplays of the '90s gets a treatment to match its quality. William Goldman, a screenwriter who knows his craft well ("Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"), called this "one of the best two screenplays of the past 10 years," and he's right. It jumps off of the page with life.
What's used here is closer to a continuity record of the finished film than a final-version screenplay -- since, as the author admits (and includes), many scenes were omitted or rethought to get the film to a reasonable length. The original edit, over three and a half hours, was cut to two hours. Some of the filmed-and-omitted scenes had the best acting, by Curtis's admission, and (I would say) some of his best writing. Yet they resonate to a viewer who reads them here, and thus knows "what went on when these people were offscreen." All screenplay books should include the best of such filmed-but-cut scenes; not all do.
U.S. viewers will notice that two scenes printed here, featuring the hilarious flatmate Spike -- 86 (second half) and 112 -- didn't appear in the finished film. Apparently the editing decisions really did go to the wire on this one! These and the other bonus scenes, and Hugh Grant's hilarious Afterword, themselves make the book worthwhile for any fan of this film.
The British know how to make a proper trade paperback! Pages are sewn into signatures, keeping the book from falling apart. (You'll re-read it many times -- so that's needed!) It uses an excellent coated paper stock that allows for sharp, clear printing of the dozens of film and production still photos. The line drawings of Notting Hill are an added delight.