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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)

The mysterious and reclusive chocolate manufacturer Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) hides five golden tickets in his candy bars. The five children who find them will be allowed inside his chocolate factory and experience the magic and wonder. Directed by Mel Stuart with Roald Dahl adapting his book CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY for the screen (with a little help from David Seltzer). This charming and delightful musical fantasy is witty enough to retain its hold on adults who saw it as children without nostalgia entering the picture. I'm not a big fan of THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) but I would imagine that WONKA has some of the same pull that OZ has for its legion of admirers. Beautiful to look at courtesy of Harper Goff's art direction and gorgeously shot by Arthur Ibbetson (ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS) in what could pass for the gorgeous three strip Technicolor process used prior to 1954. But it's almost impossible to imagine what this movie would be like without Wilder's sterling performance. An inspired piece of casting because Wonka is essentially unlikable but there's a twinkle in Wilder's performance that clues us in that he's not really as "bad" as he'd like us to think he is. The lovely songs are by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. With Jack Albertson, Roy Kinnear, Leonard Stone, Julie Dawn Cole, Denise Nickerson and Peter Ostrum as Charlie. 

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