Monday, June 11, 2012

Happy B'day, Gene Wilder: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 91 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux


Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Running time: 100 minutes (1 hour, 40 minutes)
DIRECTOR: Mel Stuart
WRITER: Roald Dahl (based upon his book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
PRODUCERS: Stan Margulies and David L. Woper
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Arthur Ibbetson
EDITOR: David Saxon
Academy Award nominee

FANTASY/MUSICAL/FAMILY with elements of comedy

Starring: Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Peter Ostrum, Roy Kinnear, Julie Dawn Cole, Leonard Stone, Denise Nickerson, “Dodo” Nora Denney, Paris Themmen, Ursula Reit, Michael Bollner, Diana Sowle, and Aubrey Woods

The subject of this movie review is Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, a 1971 musical fantasy film starring Gene Wilder. The film is an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1964 novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Some of the late-author Roald Dahl’s works have been adapted to screen. Perhaps, the best known of these films is Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, taken from Dahl’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s a nice movie for children, and two things that certainly make the film worth watching are Gene Wilder (who received a “Best Motion Picture Actor – Musical/Comedy Golden Globe nomination for his performance) and the songs, which received an Oscar nomination for “Best Music, Scoring Adaptation and Original Song Score.”

In the film, the best candies in the world are the chocolate confections of the Wonka Chocolate Factory, owned by the mysterious and reclusive Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder). One day Wonka announces that five lucky candy buyers who find a golden ticket in their Willy Wonka candy bars will be able, with one guest each, to tour his factory. One of the hopefuls is Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum, in his only film role), a boy from an impoverished family. When he finds the last golden ticket, he takes his Grandpa Joe (Jack Albertson) as his guest on the factory tour. Of the five children who find the golden tickets, Willy Wonka has his eyes on Charlie, most of all.

The songs in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory are great, especially “The Candyman” (which became of a staple of Sammy Davis, Jr.’s stage show, although the filmmakers declined to allow Davis to play Bill, the candy store owner who first sings the song in the film) and also the Oompa Loompas theme. The sets look cheap (even for the early 70’s) and are only mildly imaginative in their design. Ultimately, this is a curiosity piece for adults, but a fun and fanciful flick for pre-teen children.

5 of 10
B-

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

NOTES:
1972 Academy Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Music, Scoring Adaptation and Original Song Score” (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley, and Walter Scharf)

1972 Golden Globes, USA: 1 nomination: “Best Motion Picture Actor - Musical/Comedy” (Gene Wilder)

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