Gene Wilder Tribute: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Film, Fantasy
Gene Wilder Willy Wonka

Enter a world of pure imagination one more time

His turn as a psychiatrist in love with a sheep – a very good looking sheep, mind you – was the hilarious highlight of Woody Allen’s Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask). He co-wrote and played the title character in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein (“It’s pronounced Frahnken-steen!”) and his low-key comedic charms are like Easter Eggs in many, many more film of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.

But it's for his performance as Roald Dahl’s mysterious chocolate factory owner, Willy Wonka, that Wilder will chiefly be remembered by the generations of kids who caught it on VHS, DVD and digital. Lovable, weird and ever so slightly twisted, Wilder’s performance hits the perfect oddball tone, and his singing is lovely too.

The Hayden Orpheum is giving us all a chance to express the strange happy-sadness that Wilder’s death has sparked with a screening of the trippy 1971 film (which was shot, incidently, in Munich). All tickets are $15, and $3 from each one sold will be donated to Alzheimer’s Australia NSW to go towards dementia research. 

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