Saturday, June 18, 2011

Screen Gem Saturdays: Willy Wonka, circa 1971

There are a handful of movies that you would never imagine someone would have the gall to remake. “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” is one of them. How do you top perfection? From Gene Wilder’s performance to the perfectly cast little varmints that want a Golden Ticket to the memorable score and songs by Anthony Newley.

Who could forget Slugworth (played by G√ľnter Meisner), the (seemingly) evil villain who slides in and out of the film, whispering into the ears of the Golden Ticket winners, and scaring the bejesus out of Charlie in a dark alley on his way home.

The Rube Goldberg-esque much fun to watch!

Violet (Denise Nickerson) blowing up into a giganormous blueberry; the perfect fate for the little uncouth brat.

As Mrs. Teavee, Dodo Denney's rubbery face was a hoot to watch as she took this crazy journey in a vehicle that spews out bubbles. need to try this one again. And yet, they did. Is Hollywood that desperate for new ideas?

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William Bezek said...

I like Tim Burton's version, they are both nice interpretations of a favorite childhood book. I do think that the Oompa Loompas were a FAIL in both films though.

Deana said...

Yes, yes they ARE that desperate for ideas. I don't see the need to remake a perfectly amazing film. I'm waiting for a Wizard of the Oz remake with iPhones and other clutter to garbage it up.


Connie Moreno said...

Would you believe I've not seen either one of them?

Crosby Kenyon said...

They did make something called "The Wiz," didn't they?

Robby Cress said...

As much as I like Tim Burton, I wish he would have left Willy Wonka alone. The original is such a classic! Gene Wilder will always be Wonka to me.

Davelandweb said...

William - I guess Burton's was ok; visually, I loved it. However, Depp's take on Wonka was too Michael Jackson for me. Just seemed odd, and not as brilliant as Wilder's take on it. Connie - get your butt over to Blockbuster and rent the original! Crosby - You are right...and boy was that bad. Loved the stage version, but the movie...barf.

Momma Nic said...

Did you see the Willy Wonka reunion on the Today show? I was stunned that the movie is 40 years old already. If you google, Willy Wonka reunion, a video will pop up. It was fun to see all the kids grown up, and hear a few stories.

Anonymous said...

Gene Wilder singing "Pure Imagination" has a beauty and a haunting mystical tone unmatched by any piece of music in any fantasy film of the era, save for Julie Andrews singing "Feed the Birds" in Mary Poppins. The original film (not the remake) is one of the few in my collection that I will keep near the same shelf with my Disney collection ("The Wizard of Oz" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" are two of the others).

Robin's Egg Bleu said...

I first saw "Willy Wonka" 38 years ago today, June 18, 1973. It was a Sunday, and it was Father's Day. My Dad was finally home after two tours of duty in Vietnam. He was shot down twice but survived to come home to his wife and seven children.

He took the four of us elder children out for a rare treat that Father's Day, a matinee. The three youngest stayed home with Mom. In fact, this was the second movie he'd ever taken us to.

We fell in love with Willy Wonka, and especially "Pure Imagination."

We had a wonderful time, our Dad took us home and dropped us off, he had to take his old buddy flying. "Hap Hazard" was the gentleman's name, a famous flying aerialist in the 1920's. He'd built a kit plane but was too old to fly it. So my Dad graciously offered to take him up in it on Father's Day. The plane disintegrated and both of these lovely gentlemen lost their lives at 3 o'clock that afternoon over the Salinas riverbed.

So, this movie means an awful lot to me. The song tears at my heart every time I hear it. I'll be watching it tomorrow.

@Anonymous: Mary Poppins was the only other movie my Dad took me to, and Feed the Birds is my favorite Poppins song. Tears at my heart also.

Davelandweb said...

Robin's Egg - Thank you so much for sharing that personal story—somewhere is a movie to be made in there.