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Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory – 1971
It’s everybody’s non-pollutionary, anti-institutionary, pro-confectionery factory of fun!
Director
Mel Stuart

Writer
Roald Dahl (book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

Producers
Stan Margulies producer
David L. Wolper producer

Cast
Gene Wilder – Willy Wonka
Jack Albertson – Grandpa Joe
Peter Ostrum – Charlie Bucket
Roy Kinnear – Mr. Henry Salt
Julie Dawn Cole – Veruca Salt
Leonard Stone – Mr. Sam Beauregarde
Denise Nickerson – Violet Beauregarde
Nora Denney – Mrs. Teevee (as Dodo Denney)
Paris Themmen – Mike Teevee
Ursula Reit – Mrs. Gloop
Michael Bollner – Augustus Gloop
Diana Sowle – Mrs. Bucket
Aubrey Woods – Bill, candy store owner
David Battley – Mr. Turkentine
G√ľnter Meisner – Mr. Slugworth
Peter Capell – The Tinker
Werner Heyking – Mr. Jopeck, newspaper stand owner
Peter Stuart – Winkelmann
Dora Altmann – Grandma Georgina
Rudy Borgstaller – Oompa Loompa
Tim Brooke-Taylor – Computer Operator
George Claydon – Oompa Loompa
Pat Coombs – Henrietta Salt

Review by John Rouse Merriott Chard

So shines a good deed in a weary world
The world goes on chocolate overdrive when it’s announced that famed candy maker, Willy Wonka, has put five golden tickets in his Wonka Bars. The lucky recipients of these tickets will be treated to a day out in the top secret Wonka factory, where they can see how the sweets are made, and if they are even luckier, they will get a lifetimes supply of free chocolate. Nobody wants a golden ticket more than Charlie Bucket, from a desperately poor family, Charlie has learned to accept his heritage with a grace and credibility not befitting most other children. So when a miracle upon miracles happens, and Charlie finds a golden ticket, it just may prove to be a turning point far beyond his wildest dreams.

They say that true love lasts a lifetime, so shall it be the case with Willy Wonka and myself. As a child I was captivated by the colours, the dream of myself being able to visit a magical place where sweets and chocolate roll off the production line purely for my ingestion. Songs that I memorised back in my youth have never left me, and now as a considerably middle aged adult male, I can still embrace, and feel the magic, whilst enjoying the darkly knowing aspects of this fabulous and wondrous black comedy.

Roald Dahl was quite a writer of note, and thankfully the makers here have brought his astute morality tale to vivid cinematic life. Director Mel Stuart, aided by his screenwriter David Seltzer, even manage to add to Dahl’s wonderful story courtesy of a sinister outsider, who apparently in the guise of a rival corporation, will pay handsomely for a Wonka top secret, morality, greed and power all coming together in one big chocolate explosion. The greatest gift that Willy Wonka gives, tho, is that of the set designs and art direction, where in an almost hypnotically drug induced colourful world, Wonka’s factory is a child’s dream come true, however, peril is at every turn as life’s lessons dolled out courtesy of the scarily cute Oompa Loompas.

Songs are provided by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricuse, with the sumptuous art coming from Harper Goff. Gene Wilder takes the lead role of Willy Wonka, magnetic and bordering on clued in madness, Wilder takes his rightful place in the pantheon of memorable performances performed in fantasy pictures. But ultimately it’s the story and the way it appeals to every age group that makes Willy Wonka a prized treasure, the kids love it, while the adults watching with them will be wryly nodding and trying to suppress the onset of a devilish grin.

Pure magic is Willy Wonka, see it now in High Definition TV to fully realise the dream/nightmare on offer, oh oh I love it so. 10/10

Review by Sven Soetemans

Sweet as chocolate!,

With the brand-new version of Tim Burton coming up, I thought it would be appropriate to watch the very first film-adaptation of Roald Dahl’s popular children-novella first. Over 30 years old already, but this charming and moralistic fairy-tale still is a joy for all senses, with its likable main characters, exhilarating songs and valuable life-lessons. The movie might start out a little slow and overly dramatic with the extended portrait of the poor Charlie Bucket who has to work in order to support his family and he can only secretly dream about winning a grand tour in the wonderful chocolate factory owned by the mysterious Willy Wonka. But, when the miracle than occurs and Charlie walks into the factory together with four greedy kids, the movie REALLY takes off! The children and their adult companions are guided through the colorful landscapes and ingenious techniques of Wonka-world, where chocolate flows in rivers and candy bars can be taken out of TV-screens. This is a very fun movie and Dahl’s rich but bizarre imagination is wonderfully put to the screen by Mel Stuart. The set pieces are magnificent and they really have the true magical feel of fantasy. Typical for Roald Dahl’s work also is the slightly sinister and horrific touch, which is perfectly illustrated here in the unsettling boat-ride-through-the-cavern sequence. This particular scene is perhaps the most memorable one of the entire movie because of it’s great use of sound and lighting! New surprises and eccentric plot-twists are provided every couple of seconds and Gene Wilder’s jolly (but tempered) performance as the extravagant factory-owner really makes this movie complete. I can only hope the 2005 version will be as fabulous as this but I’m quite sure it will be. After all, if there’s one team able to re-tell this insanely great tale, it has got to be Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” is like a big bar of chocolate: delicious…and you’re never too old to enjoy it!

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70s Films

A tour through the great and not so great films of the seventies The seventies saw a huge change in styles and genres from the advent of the slasher horror movies like Halloween and the blockbuster summers films started by Jaws. More...

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