Feelings about the 1971 movie version are mixed. I liked it enough, but had read the book first, and I’m always surprised to learn when a contemporary of mine has seen the movie and not read the book. I actually thought the major plot change in the movie was a good one (in the book, Wonka’s competitors do not try to lure Charlie into stealing a confection for industrial espionage), but there was something a little too bright and happy about the movie. Also, I found it troubling that the Quaker Oats company was one of the producers (IMDB doesn’t list them as such, but they are named in the credits for the movie), as if it were really just an ad for the just-launched Wonka candy brand.
On the other hand, Tim Burton’s movies are usually aggressively dark, which I think also won’t be right for the film. Let’s hope the film-makers find the right balance. I think the book worked so well because it deftly combines the bleakness of the poor Buckets with the exuberance of Wonka’s factory.
Speaking of the book, Dahl wrote a sequel, called Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, which is very different from the first. It’s more of a silly space adventure, but is enjoyable in its own right. I remember as a kid being excited when it was coming out, and reading excerpts of it that were published in Life magazine. I’d like to see what the vermicious knids would look like on the big screen!