There are several older movies that stick with you since you first saw them, and were lucky enough to be treated to seeing them again and again during holidays on TV, before we could instantly view them at any time. There was the Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, and Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. Yes, Musings did review the latest version of the movie based on the modern classic by Roald Dahl, which starred Johnny Depp in the Tim Burton remake, but this time we are going to focus on the original, and when you get to see this movie exactly how it is meant to be seen, you will wonder why it took so long to get to Blu-Ray.
From the very beginning, we get drawn into this amazing world of fantasy meets pop culture, all filmed in Munich, but we never really knew what town the Wonka Candy Company called home. We get treated to the song about the candy man, and it was such a hit that Sammy Davis Jr. took it to number one on the Billboard charts not too long after this movie was released.
This story is not the tale of a genius chocolatier, but of a young boy making do the best way he knows how while trying to help his mother care for his family. In this story, Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum) lives with his mother, Mrs. Bucket (Diana Sowle) and his four bed-ridden grandparents, Grandpa George (Ernst Ziegler), Grandma Georgina (Dora Altmann), Grandma Josephine (Franziska Liebing) and Grandpa Joe (Jack Albertson). Charlie goes to school, runs a paper route, and has only one materialistic desire, for Wonka Chocolates. Considering that this great, but very poor, kid only gets one treat a year, on his birthday, this makes perfect sense.
Grandpa Joe tells Charlie great stories of the days when Wonka pretty much ran the show, and what caused the downfall of the great company, and how it suddenly came back to life again, yet no one ever goes in or out of the factory, but soon the mystery of the candy is made will soon be solved, because Wonka come up with a plan that has many agendas attached to it. So, out ships the millions of Wonka bars across the planet, but only five them have special tickets that will get five lucky confection consumers into the factory, and a lifetime supply of chocolate.
Insanity ensues around the world, and we see all kind of wild events going on as people try to hoard Wonka bars, but soon, all five tickets are found. Charlie is distraught, but after all the craziness dies down, Charlie finds some money in the street, and heads right to the candy shop, and buys the biggest chocolate bar this coinage will get him. After he polishes off the big bar, he has some change, and buys a regular bar for his grandfather. When he gets down to the newsstand to pick up his papers for delivery, there is a commotion, and it turns out that the last ticket found was a fraud. He takes a chance on looking at the bar he had stashed for Grandpa Joe, and it contains the last ticket.
This is just the beginning of Charlie’s big adventure inside the world’s most wonderful chocolate factory, which he shares with four other children, their parents, and Grandpa Joe. The gluttonous Augustus Gloop (Michael Bollner), the spoiled, bratty Veruca Salt (Julie Dawn Cole), the prideful Violet Beauregarde (Denise Nickerson), and the angry Mike Teevee (Paris Themmen). Their host is the company owner, Mister Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder), and are these kids ever going to learn a few lessons today!The mystery of whom runs the factory is solved, when they see the Oompa Loompas, and we see all kinds of amazing, and some disturbing things along the way, but we never get tired of the movie.
There have even been parodies made of this story on Dexter’s Labratory and from R&B star Graig David, which takes this movie into a very sexy turn in his music video “What’s Your Flava?” Veruca Salt was also the name of a popular girl grunge band during the 90s.
This movie is a classic, and I will never tire of it, even if I live long enough to celebrate my 100th anniversary of seeing the first time at school… which would make me 107 when it happens. It is great to know that even though this movie is going to outlast any of the fads in current Hollywood, and that’s the way it should be.
If you do get to see the Blu-Ray, watch the “Making of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” featuring all the kids, now all grown up, and some of the production staff, and Gene Wilder. It answers lots of questions, and brings to light some of the reasons this movie was made in the first place, but does it really matter why? When it comes to movies like this, should you have to have a reason to watch it?
I give this film a Musing review of