|Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory|
Original theatrical poster
|Directed by||Mel Stuart|
|Produced by||David L. Wolper
|Written by||Roald Dahl
David Seltzer (uncredited)
|Music by||Anthony Newley (lyrics and score)
Leslie Bricusse (lyrics and score)
Walter Scharf (score arranger and musical direction)
|Editing by||David Saxon|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures (original)
Warner Bros. (current)
|Release date(s)||June 30, 1971|
|Running time||96 minutes|
|Gross revenue||$4 million|
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a 1971 American film based on the 1964 Roald Dahl novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It stars Gene Wilder in the title role, and was directed by Mel Stuart. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score.
Charlie Bucket is a poor boy living with his mother and four grandparents in a tiny house. Charlie supplements the meager family income by delivering newspapers after school. The family, along with the rest of the world, learns that the candy maker Willy Wonka has hidden five Golden Tickets amongst his Wonka Bars. The finders of these special tickets will be given a full tour of his world-renowned but tightly-guarded candy factory, as well as a lifetime supply of chocolate. Charlie wants to take part in the search, but cannot afford to buy vast quantities of chocolate like most other participants. Soon, four of the tickets are found by Augustus Gloop, a gluttonous German boy; Veruca Salt, a spoiled English girl; Violet Beauregarde, a gum-chomping American girl; and Mike Teevee, a television-obsessed American boy. As they find their tickets, a sinister-looking man is observed whispering something in their ears, to which they listen attentively despite their preoccupations with their particular obsessions. Charlie's hopes are dashed when news breaks out that the final ticket has been found by a Paraguayan millionaire.
The next day, as the Golden Ticket craze dies down, Charlie finds a silver coin in a gutter and uses it to buy a Wonka Bar. Simultaneously, word spreads that the ticket found by the millionaire was forged. When Charlie opens the bar, he finds the true final ticket inside, and races home to tell his family, but is stopped along the way by the same man who had been seen silently talking to the other four winners. The man introduces himself as Arthur Slugworth, a rival confectioner who attempts to pay Charlie for a sample of Wonka's latest creation, the Everlasting Gobstopper.
An excited Grandpa Joe manages to get out of bed in order to serve as Charlie's tour chaperone. The next day, Wonka greets the children and their guardians at the factory gates and leads them inside, requiring each to sign a contract before the tour can begin. Inside is a psychedelic wonderland full of chocolate rivers, giant edible mushrooms, lickable wallpaper and other ingenious inventions and candies, as well as Wonka's workers, the small, orange-skinned, green-haired Oompa-Loompas. As the tour progresses, each of the first four children misbehave against Wonka's warnings, resulting in serious consequences. Augustus is sucked through a chocolate extraction pipe system and sent to the Fudge Room after trying to drink from a chocolate river. Violet transforms into a giant blueberry after trying an experimental piece of Three-Course-Dinner Gum. Veruca and her father are rejected as "bad eggs" and sent plummeting down a garbage chute in the Chocolate Golden Egg Sorting Room. Mike is shrunken to only a few inches in height after being transmitted by "Wonkavision," a broadcasting technology that can send objects through television instead of pictures. The Oompa-Loompas sing a song after each mishap, describing that particular child's poor behavior.
Charlie also succumbs to temptation along with Grandpa Joe, as they stay behind in the Bubble Room and sample Fizzy Lifting Drinks against orders from Wonka. They begin floating skyward and are nearly sucked into a ceiling-mounted exhaust fan. To avoid this grisly fate, they burp repeatedly until they return to the ground. Wonka initially seems unaware of this incident.
When Charlie becomes the last remaining child on the tour, Wonka politely dismisses him and Grandpa Joe and disappears into his office, without awarding Charlie his lifetime supply of chocolate. Grandpa Joe and Charlie enter Wonka's office to investigate. There, Wonka tells them that Charlie does not get the prize anymore because he broke the rules. Puzzled, Grandpa Joe denies seeing any rules.
Wonka irritably explains the forfeiture clause of the contract Charlie and the other four ticket winners signed at the start of the tour-Charlie's part in the theft of the Fizzy Lifting Drinks means that he violated the contract, and therefore he receives nothing. Wonka furiously dismisses them both.
A livid Grandpa Joe vows to give Slugworth the gobstopper in revenge. However, Charlie cannot betray Wonka and leaves it on his desk.
Wonka recants his penalty and asks for his guests' forgiveness. He reveals that Slugworth is actually an employee named Wilkinson, whose offer to buy the gobstopper was a morality test for the Golden Ticket winners, and Charlie was the only one who passed.
The trio enter the "Wonkavator", a multi-directional glass elevator, and fly out of the factory in it. As they soar over the village, Wonka tells Charlie that his actual prize is the factory itself, as the Golden Ticket search was conceived to help Wonka search for an honest and worthy child to be the heir to his chocolate empire. Charlie will reside in the factory and take over its operation when Wonka retires.
|Peter Ostrum||Charlie Bucket|
|Jack Albertson||Grandpa Joe|
|Gene Wilder||Willy Wonka|
|Julie Dawn Cole||Veruca Salt|
|Paris Themmen||Mike Teevee|
|Denise Nickerson||Violet Beauregarde|
|Diana Sowle||Mrs. Bucket|
|Dodo Denney||Mrs. Teevee|
|Michael Bollner||Augustus Gloop|
|Leonard Stone||Mr. Beauregarde|
|Roy Kinnear||Mr. Salt|
|Ursula Reit||Mrs. Gloop|
|Gunter Meisner||Arthur Slugworth/Mr. Wilkinson|
|David Battley||Mr. Turkentine|
|Werner Heyking||Mr. Jopeck|
The idea for adapting the book into a film came about when director Mel Stuart's 10-year-old daughter read the book and asked her father to make a movie out of it, with "Uncle Dave" (producer David L. Wolper) producing it. Stuart showed the book to Wolper, who happened to be in the midst of talks with the Quaker Oats Company regarding a vehicle to introduce a new candy bar from their Chicago-based Breaker Confections subsidiary (since renamed The Willy Wonka Candy Company and sold to Nestle). Wolper convinced the company, who had no previous experience in the film industry, to buy the rights to the book and finance the picture for the purpose of promoting a new Quaker Oats Wonka Bar.
It was agreed that the film would be a children's musical, and that Dahl himself would write the screenplay. However, the title was changed to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in order to promote the aforementioned candy tie-in, and also because of the United States' continued involvement in the Vietnam War at the time; "Charlie" was a nickname for the Viet Cong.
Screenwriter David Seltzer conceived a gimmick exclusively for the film that had Wonka quoting numerous literary sources, such as Arthur O'Shaughnessy's Ode, Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, and William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. Seltzer also worked Slugworth (only mentioned as a rival candy maker in the book) into the plot as an actual character.
Dahl, who had rights to the film production, unsuccessfully pushed for Spike Milligan to play Willy Wonka. His next choice, Ron Moody, rejected the part. Jon Pertwee also turned down the role due to ongoing commitments to Doctor Who. Also initially considered was Broadway star Joel Grey, who ultimately was rejected due to his small physical stature. Auditions were held for a week in New York City's Plaza Hotel, where Gene Wilder was immediately awarded the role. Wilder said that he would only do the movie if Wonka first appeared onscreen coming out of the factory hobbling with a cane, only to then lose it and do a somersault. Further auditions were held in New York, London and Munich to fill the parts of the other children and their parents.
Dahl was ultimately unhappy with the production, feeling "disappointed" about many elements. These included the non-casting of Milligan as well as the emphasis on Wonka and not Charlie. He was said to be "infuriated" at the plot changes made by David Seltzer, which included the conversion of Slugworth into a spy and the "belching" scene. This displeasure led to Dahl not allowing any more versions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to be made in his lifetime.
Filming commenced on August 31, 1970 and ended on November 19, 1970. The primary shooting location was Munich, because it was significantly cheaper than filming in the U.S., and the setting was conducive to Wonka's factory. Stuart also liked the ambiguity and unfamiliarity of the location. External shots of the factory were filmed at the Munich Gaswerks; the flats and clocktower still exist. The closing sequence when the Wonkavator is flying above the factory is footage of Nördlingen in Bavaria, Germany.
Production designer Harper Goff centered the factory around the massive Chocolate Room. The two-foot deep chocolate river and waterfall were created by adding chocolate ice cream mix to 150,000 gallons of water, which eventually created a foul odor that permeated the entire soundstage.
Willy Wonka was released on June 30, 1971, and earned a positive response from moviegoers, but box office figures were less than desirable due to lack of promotion. As a result, it was the fifty-third highest grossing film of the year in the U.S., earning approximately $4 million (on a $2.9 million budget, therefore making the movie profitable), equivalent to about $17.4 million in 2009. Even though the film received positive reviews from critics such as Roger Ebert and Wilder would later earn a Golden Globe nomination for his performance, Dahl was displeased with the final product and refused to sell the rights to the sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Seeing no significant financial advantage, Paramount Pictures decided against renewing its distribution deal for the film when it expired seven years later. Quaker Oats sold its share of the rights to Warner Bros., who had acquired Wolper Productions, for $500,000 in 1977. WB's ownership of this film helped them get the rights to remake it under the book's original title in 2005.
By the mid-1980s, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory had experienced a spike in popularity thanks in large part to repeated television broadcasts and home video sales. Following a 25th-anniversary theatrical rerelease in 1996, it debuted on DVD the next year, allowing it to reach a new generation of viewers. The film was released as a remastered special edition on DVD and VHS in 2001 in order to commemorate the film's 30th anniversary. It is now considered a cult classic, with Gene Wilder's performance being hailed as one of his greatest roles.
The first DVD was released in 1997 as the "25th anniversary edition" as a double sided disc containing a widescreen and "standard" version. The "standard" version is an open matte print, where the mattes used to make the image widescreen are removed, revealing information originally intended to be hidden from viewers.
A special edition DVD was released in 2001, celebrating the film's 30th anniversary, although only full-screen, on August 28, 2001. Due to the lack of a letterboxed release, fan petitioning eventually led Warner Home Video to issue a widescreen version on November 13, 2001. It was also released on VHS, with only one of the special features (a making of feature). Several original cast members reunited to film documentary footage for this special edition DVD release. The two editions featured restored sound, and better picture quality. In addition to the documentary, the DVD included a trailer, a gallery, and audio commentary by the cast.
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The Academy Award-nominated original score and songs were composed by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, and musical direction was by Walter Scharf. The soundtrack was first released on Paramount Records in 1971. On October 8, 1996, Hip-O Records released the soundtrack on CD as a "25th Anniversary Edition".
The music and songs in the order that they appear in the film are:
Originally released on LP on June 30, 1971, an audio CD of the soundtrack was released on October 8, 1996. The tracklisting is as follows: