I’m celebrating 50,000+ views on my blog (Thank you! Thank you!) and the 50th anniversary (published 1964) of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, published 1964.
Loved with this book, then I saw the movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – my mind was forever altered.
A factory full of chocolate? It was one thing to read about it, another to see a river of chocolate…
I still love the 1971 Gene Wilder version best (directed by David L. Wolper), maybe because it’s steeped in childhood memories or because for me, it’s Gene Wilder’s definitive performance.
This is where I fell in love. Gene Wilder and chocolate. Sign me up!
Wilder is the ultimate Willy Wonka. He didn’t go over-the-top weird, instead opting for a subtle, damaged man-child who was trapped in his own reclusion, a Howard Hughes-like creative genius who couldn’t cope in a reality that wasn’t of his own making. Wilder’s transcendent blend of cordiality, callousness, awe, and animosity make you think he is Wonka, he just is.
Jack Albertson was delightful as Grandpa Joe, who apparently couldn’t get out of bed to get a job, but could dance a jig and spend the day at a chocolate factory.
Charlie Bucket is the only child Dahl and Wonka even remotely like due to his meek and accommodating nature, but Charlie wasn’t as obedient as he seemed, he spent money on a chocolate bar that he wasn’t supposed to; so even in the most co-operative child Dahl found a fault.
The 1971 version was renamed Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory to cross-promote UK’s The Willy Wonka Candy Company who had bought the rights from Roald Dahl.
I never understood why Roald Dahl was classed as a children’s author, he clearly disliked children, at times rather intensely. His stories and books reflect this.
What he hated more than children were their parents, specifically parents who didn’t raise their children properly, at least from his point of view.
Imagine what Roald Dahl would think of children and their parents now?
I recently read A Brief History of Chocolate (Steve Berry and Phil Norman) which I must warn you will not only vastly entertain and inform, but make you crave chocolate.
Despite best intentions this book lacked something, what was it? Oh yes, chocolate. They should sell each copy with a chocolate bar or coupon for a free chocolate bar. There, a marketing idea, no charge…although I’d take a thank you in chocolate bars.