24 movies Guaranteed to make you feel Christmassy

December 16th - Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory Poster

Year : 1971

Director: Mel Stuart

Starring: Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Peter Ostrum, Roy Kinnear.

Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory

Another non christmas related film but one that is part of the traditional festive tv scheduling. A film about greed, corruption, consumerism and marketing - perfect for a cynics Christmas.

The story revolves around Charlie Bucket a boy from a poor household who lives in a tiny house with his mother and two sets of Grandparents - life is tough and money is short. A ray of hope comes into Charlie's life when the legendary, and reclusive, Chocolate maker Mr Willy Wonka announces that he will open the doors of his chocolate factory and let people in for the very first time. Charlie is very excited and dreams of being allowed into the magical factory, but there is a catch. Only five children plus their guardians will be allowed in, and those five will be those who can find one of five golden tickets distributed throughout the entire world that are hidden inside Wonka bars. Charlie tries not to give up hope and luckily he finds one. He and the other children receive their invitations to the Chocolate factory and Charlie is accompanied by his Grandpa Joe. When they all get inside the factory it is both magical and frightening at the same time.

Quite ironic that this film is a Christmas TV favourite when Roald Dahl wrote it as a criticism of the rampant consumerism that he felt had been creeping into society. The film itself obviously has a great starting point provided by Dahl's story and even though the film is prone to saccharine - artificial sweetners (of the worst type - think of some of the songs) its visual invention and the unsettling portrayal of Wonka by Gene Wilder makes this a good movie in its own right.

Tim Burton's recent film version of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory is darker and much nearer to the spirit of Dahl's original book - it is also helped by the superb gothic aesthetic that Burton brings to all of his movies. It will be interesting to see if this new version of the film eventually takes the place of the original film in the affections of viewers and the Christmas TV schedules.

Both films are brilliant in their own ways - you choose.

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory - Christmas TV favourite and placed at December 16th on our Films guaranteed to make you feel Christmassy (UK edition).

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