Newest Review: ... his mother. The family are very poor and have very little money. Until, one of Charlie's dreams come true. Five golden tickets have been... more
A Galaxy of Sweet Surprises
Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (DVD)
Member Name: arnoldhenryrufus
Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (DVD)
Advantages: It will pass a rainy afternoon, with a lesson in good and greed .
Disadvantages: Its a film you either love or hate
WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
I subscribe to a collection of musicals and every month I receive two musicals, I have over 60 of them now and I am slowly going through them. I say slowly because I don't watch the next film until I have reviewed the one I have just watched, at the moment I have one review typed up, one waiting to be typed and this one I am writing now. Eventually I will get around to posting them as a review, maybe before I get round to watching the next movie in my collection.
This review is about the original musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's children's' novel of the same name. It all came about when the director Mel Stuart's daughter showed her daddy the book and said it would make a great film, Stuart took the book to a friend and a producer David Wolper and together they agreed with his daughter and the idea was born. Shortly after Quaker Oats were planning a new chocolate bar; they liased with Quaker and managed to buy the rights to call this new bar a 'Wonka Bar' so they could use the film to advertise the bar of chocolate and vice versa.
Funnily enough didn't the new version with Johnny Depp do the same thing; unlike this version, the original Wonka Bar never got to see the light of day as they discovered it melted too easily.
Finding the cast they traveled far and wide with screen tests being done in New York, London and Munich. For the part of Willy Wonka the author Dahl wanted to use Spike Millighan, but this idea was squashed as the Americans vetoed him. Other names went into the hat including Ron Moody (remember him he played Fagan in Oliver) but he declined the part, then in walked Gene Wilder and Mel Stuart had found the man for the part.
After searching the globe to find a suitable location to film on and build the chocolate factory they settled on Bavaria film studios in Munich and used a local gas works for the outside pictures of the famous Wonka factory.
The film is all about Charlie a poverty-stricken young boy who dreams of winning the Golden Ticket to get a life time supply of chocolate. Also we have Willy Wonka who is looking for a child with integrity and honesty.
As the credits start rolling we see close-ups of chocolate being manufactured and then move onto the school children running into the local sweetshop after school to buy chocolate, this also leads us into the first song of the show.
The cameras then move on and introduce us to Charlie Buckett as he does his paper round to bring in some extra money to help his family; both sets of grandparents are bedridden and share a bed in the front room. Charlie's mother struggles to make ends meet and feed the family as they drink cabbage water again.
Charlie and his grandpa sit on the bed talking about the Wonka factory and he tells Charlie how Mr. Wonka closed the doors to all the public after his competitor Arthur Slugworth tried to steal his secrets. The next day it comes on the news that Mr. Wonka is offering a tour of his factory and free Wonka Chocolate for life to 5 lucky winners that find the golden tickets.
The world goes crazy as 'Wonkamania' spreads across the globe, one by one the golden tickets are found by very spoil and self centered children. At each celebration a scary man with a scar on his face is seen whispering in the winner's ear. There are two outstanding tickets left and Charlie really wants to win as he tells his mother that he wants it more than anyone, this leads us into another song.
Grandpa Joe has even spent his tobacco money on buying Charlie a bar of Wonka chocolate, but sadly it is not the winning ticket. Finally it is announced on the TV that the final golden ticket has been found and poor Charlie is devastated. Whilst he is walking he sees a coin in the street and decides to buy a Wonka Bar anyway, you can imagine his excitement and jubilation when he opens it and discovers the golden ticket and it is this ticket which is actually the last golden ticket as the previous announcement was about a phony ticket.
On his way home to share his good news with his family Charlie is approached by the evil looking Slugworth who offers Charlie #10,000 to get him a sample of the everlasting gobstopper, but Charlie refuses and runs home to share his exciting news.
The film goes on as the five winning children each with a guardian or parent meet at the gates of the Wonka factory ready for their grand tour. The rather eccentric and flamboyant Willy Wonka limps down to meet the children and then suddenly jumps into a somersault which takes them all by surprise.
As he takes them around the factory with its amazing colours and imagery; there are temptations put before them as a test to see who succumbs. We get to see edible flowers; we travel in a river of chocolate and also get to meet the Ooma-Loompas. It sounds exciting, but it is also quite scary as something happens to each one of the children that gives in to their own greed. Sorry you will have to watch the film to get more details.
Unlike a lot of musicals, this one only has six songs and to be honest the odd song you have to struggle to remember.
The film started with The Candy Man song, which was performed by the shopkeeper in the street shop, to be honest although looking back at the film I found it to be an uplifting cheery song with loads of children grabbing sweeties, I had forgot about until I looked up the list of songs.
A little while later just after Charlie has been telling his mom how he deserves to win the golden ticket; his mom sings a ballad called Cheer Up Charlie as we watch Charlie walking home with a sad face of weary determination.
You can't help but love the next song in the show as Grandpa Jo and Charlie Dance around the room celebrating Charlie having the winning ticket (I've got a) Golden Ticket is the title of this one.
You may remember me saying earlier something about edible flowers, well this area not only had them but also candy trees, candy toad stools and daffodil teacup, and this is where Willy Wonka takes us into song with Pure Imagination.
As we move along through the adventurous chocolate factory we meet the oompa-loompa's, who are little people with red faces and green hair that sing the oompa -loompa song on and off throughout the tour, but will people realize that they are warning you not to be greedy.
Finally the final song is done by one of the spoilt brats, and it is called I want it now; so yes you can imagine what it is about a spoilt child having a tantrum to get their own way.
So as you can see I think the only song that will really stick in your mind at the end of the movie will be the Oompa-loompa song that's because it's catchy, it's repeated and its song by those little red faced oompa-loompa's with green hair.
Music and lyrics were by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newly.
Willy Wonka - played by Gene Wilder, I agree whole heartedly with the choice of the director with Wider as he has a natural zany or mad look that fits the part well. His eyes always got me in this film, how they seem to stare at you and look right inside you. When I was a child I thought he was very scary, now as an adult I see how good as actor he was for this part.
Grandpa Joe - was played by Jack Albertson, he is like a father figure to Charlie, and boosts him up by saying that he believes that Charlie will win the golden ticket. He goes with Charlie to visit the factory.
Charlie Buckett - came from a very poor home and he never gave up hope of winning that golden ticket. He is played by Peter Ostrum who was playing in the children's branch of the Cleveland Playhouse in Ohio, he left acting after appearing in this and today he is a vet.
Veruca Salt - played by a young Julie Dawn Cole who is one of the spoiled children that won a ticket. She is the only one out of the five children involved as the main characters that are still acting, with her most recent part being Barbara Hope in Emmerdale.
Violet Beauregarde - the gum chewing spoiled child played by Denise Nickerson.
Mike Teevee - Paris Themmen plays the spoiled television addict that loves westerns.
Augustus Gloop - the final one is played by Michael Bolner who came from Germany.
Further to the main cast we also had:-
Roy Kinnear as Mr. Henry Salt, Veruca's father
Leonard Stone as Mr. Sam Beauregarde, Violet's father
Dodo Denney as Mrs. Teevee Mike's mom
Ursula Reit as Mrs. Gloop Augustus's mother
Diana Sowie as Charlie's mom Mrs. Buckett
Audrey Woods as Bill the Candy Store owner
Gunter Meisner played the evil looking Arthur Slugworth
I also noted Tim Brook-Taylor making an appearance ( do you remember him from the Goodies, the madcap comedy show in the 70's).
Gene Wilder was born 11.06.33 and named Jerome Silberman, when he was 8 yrs old after his mother had suffered a heart attack her doctor told him never to make her angry as it would kill her, but to make her laugh instead. These strong words obviously had a big impact on Wilder to make him into the zany comic actor he became.
At 16 he changed his last name to Wilder after the playwright Thornton Wilder, then later added Gene which was his mothers name.
The film opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York on 30th June 1971. At the premier Gene Wilder served ice-cream from a Wonkamobile.
Although it had only a modest success at the time of its release, it grew in popularity a few years later with its video release; it was then released in1996 in 50 cities and its popularity has continued growing.
Sadly there were no extras on my copy
Scene selections - as usual you just click on the picture of the scene you want to see again.
It comes in 3 languages English, French and Dutch.
There are 12 choices in sub-titles.
I would recommend this to be viewed, especially by children as it shows them in a very bizarre way the difference between right and wrong and how things can go very wrong if you are selfish and greedy.
It is amazing how you look at films in a totally different perspective the older you get.
Thanks for reading
Summary: A fun family film