Day 3 of the A to Z Challenge: C for Charlie

3 April 2014

When considering ‘Charlie possibilities’ today, a few options popped into my head. I briefly considered something relating the Royal Family but quickly discarded that idea. Toying with other ideas such as Charlie Brown, Charlie Sheen and Charlie Chaplin – all of which had legs – I settled on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

OK, I confess. This features in my top 10 ‘guilty pleasures’ list. The book – published in 1964 by Roald Dahl who, despite what you might assume from his name, was British – features the adventures of young Charlie Bucket inside the chocolate factory of the rather eccentric Willy Wonka.

The book has been adapted into two films: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory in 1971 (featuring Gene Wilder) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 2005.

The 1971 motion picture was filmed in Munich in 1970 and the film was released on 30 June 1971. It received positive reviews, but it was a box office disappointment. However, it developed into a cult film due to its repeated television airings and home video sales. In 1972, the film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score, and Gene Wilder was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

Tim Burton directed the 2005 film with Johnny Depp starring as Willy Wonka. Filming took place from June to December 2004 at Pinewood Studios. Avoiding the use of digital effects as much as possible, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a box office success, grossing approximately $475 million worldwide. Odd how they quote this figure in US dollars, despite it being a British production….

Roald Dahl was inspired to write the story following experience of chocolate companies during his schooldays. During his childhood, Cadbury and Rowntree were the two largest chocolate makers and they often used to try to steal secrets from their competitor by sending spies to the other factory, just as Dahl portrays in the book.

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