The 1971 movie, Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, has captivated audiences for years with its whimsical view of candy and how it relates to the world. When Charlie Bucket, an impoverished child that lives down the street from the world's most famous candy-maker, discovers one of five golden tickets provided by Willy Wonka, he has the chance to discover the magical world of Wonka's chocolate factory and all the mysteries it hides. Mise en scene, which literally means what is on the stage, is used to portray literal and figurative aspects of the props or things in a scene. It is a fundamental aspect of every film and can ehnance, or inhibit, the effectivenss of a film. The mise en scne in Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory is no exception to this. When the winners of the tickets and their parents are led to the chocolate room, the mise en scene draws in the audience through the contrast of the set and the setting, costumes, as well as Gene Wilder's portrayal of an eccentric chocolate maker.
Willy Wonka's world revolves around finding new and innovative ways to bring chocolate and candy to the public. At this point in the movie, the audience has not been exposed to any of Wonka's fantasies, only a taste of his odd personality. As the group is led through the giant black door, they are shown a room that is entirely edible. How can such a magical room exist in a factory which resides in a poor, run-down town? It is as if the factory is Wonka's mind with rooms for each part to discover different chocolate creations. He is able to then send his creations out of his mind to the public for them to enjoy as well. As The Film Experience says, there is usually a theme suggested throughout the movie with the intereaction between the set and the setting (pg 67). The suggestive theme that a person should think beyond themselves and share their ideas with everyone is obvious in this scene. The contrast between the dark, dingy-colored town and the interior of the bright, colorful factory continues this theme. Even though the location of the town is never given, the theme is applicable to every person.
The craziness of Wonka is further illustrated by what he wears which becomes his identity and recognizable trait throughout the movie (The Film Experience pg 77). When the winners line-up as they wait for Wonka's cue to enjoy the room, the contrast between clothing is evident. All of the actors, aside from Wilder, are wearing normal clothes - clothes that would be seen being worn on the street going to the store or going to work or school. Wonka is dressed in a bright purple coat, a purple polka dotted shirt, an excessive bow-tie and a top-hat that can just never sit quite right on his head. This sets him apart from the rest of the of the cast by showcasing his uniquenss in everything he does, not just his candy.
Gene Wilder was the correct pick to portray the candy man who is Willy Wonka. He is able to show the audience the mind of a man who lives around candy. In the same scene, as he is introducing the group to his world, he has a look that is not quite bored, but then again it is not quite in wonder. The expression of amazement is evident on the other actors, but Wonka has seen it all before. He knows what he is looking at and makes the group wait for the right moment before he lets them explore. As he sings his song, his eyes look off into the distance as if he is constantly trying to think of new things to create. He walks around the room knowing exactly how everything should be eaten. He uses his cane to bring gumballs down to Mike Teevee's level. As he is drinking from the teacup in the last bit of his song, his eyes portray some sadness of a world that has not fully discovered their imagination. This is only a taste of what is to come in the rest of the movie. Wilder's style of acting directly coincides with the necessary portrayal of Willy Wonka.
This movie is a classic and will continue to be a classic for years to come. The way in which Wilder portrays Wonka in combination with his costuming and the contrast between the set and setting that works so well makes this movie one to watch over and over again.