Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is considered to be one of the most beloved cult movies of all time. Yet one scene that was originally in the film has since been lost to history. And it’s all because of the insight of a psychologist who saw an early screening of the classic.
In 1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory arrived in cinemas. The movie was an adaptation of the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. However, the children’s author is alleged to have hated the film because significant changes were made to the plot.
But in spite of Dahl’s animosity, the film was nonetheless made, with Gene Wilder starring as the titular Willy Wonka. The actor, however, had his own stipulation for his involvement in the movie. He insisted that he wanted his entrance scene to show him walking with a cane, falling over, and then effortlessly somersaulting up again. When revealing why, the star said it was because, “from that time on, no one will know if I’m lying or telling the truth.”
The plot of the movie follows a young boy named Charlie Bucket, who wins a coveted golden ticket inside his Wonka candy bar. There are five winners in total, each of whom will be permitted to tour the candy-maker’s factory. The other winners are Veruca Salt, an over-indulged girl, Violet Beauregarde, who constantly chews gum and is competitive by nature, the greedy Augustus Gloop, and Mike Teevee, a television addict.
Due to their flaws, each of the children suffer terrible fates throughout the course of the factory tour. And that’s not the only notably disturbing aspect of the film. There is famously also a hallucinogenic boat ride that turns into something of a nightmare.
Director Mel Stuart reportedly didn’t tell the children what was about to happen before the boat scene started filming, because he wanted their reactions to be as genuine as possible. And similarly, there was another time that he kept them in the dark. The filmmaker also prevented them from seeing the magical chocolate room before cameras started rolling, in order to ensure authenticity in their responses to it.
There have been a wide variety of fan theories about the hidden meaning behind Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. One even suggests that Wonka lured the children to the factory in order to murder them. It claims that the eccentric chocolate-maker had been driven mad and that all the “accidents” were deliberately planned by him.
Another theory suggests that Bill, the candy shop owner who gives Charlie the chocolate bar with the golden ticket, actually works for Wonka. This theory derives from the fact that at the end of the film, Charlie proves his good nature by refusing to betray Wonka to a rival. But that competitor, Mr. Slugworth, was really employed by Wonka all along. This means that the factory owner isn’t opposed to hiring people for secret purposes.
The theory continues that the little boy was deliberately chosen to receive the prize, because he lived nearby and is “poor” and “unselfish.” Charlie, in the end, becomes the heir to the factory and moves in with all of his family. But is it possible that this was Wonka’s intention all along?
In any case, behind the scenes and theories, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was filmed in Germany. The $3 million budget was funded by Quaker Oats, who wanted to use the movie to plug their brand. But after the film’s release, it earned just $4 million at the box office and was not considered a success.
The German release of the film had been just 89 minutes long, as sections had been removed to make it more appropriate for children. There was also a version specifically for schools that contained less than half of the original content. Furthermore, one scene showing the FBI talking to a woman whose husband is being held for a ransom of Wonka Bars was removed from within some television edits.
However, although different versions of the movie have been released across the globe, there is a scene that was cut from all of them. This section was edited out on the advice of a psychologist. And since then, it has never seen the light of day.
The final cut of the movie includes scenes of various people searching for the golden ticket. But it was also initially intended to show an explorer meeting a guru after climbing a mountain. Stuart opened up about the scene in the 2001 book Pure Imagination: The Making of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
In the lost scene, the explorer begs the guru to reveal what the meaning of life is. The guru ignores him and asks him for a Wonka Bar instead, which the hiker hands over, despite the fact that it’s the last of his food. But when the guru sees that there is no winning prize inside, he discards it.
At that point, the explorer asks again to be told the meaning of life. And the guru responds, “Life is disappointment.” Stuart was a big fan of the scene and admitted that it was expensive and burdensome to shoot.
However, at a test screening for the film, only a small number of people in the audience laughed. So the next time it was due to be screened, Stuart brought along a friend of his who was a psychologist. He then asked his pal about the audience’s reaction to the explorer scene.
The psychologist revealed his thoughts as to why it hadn’t received the response Stuart had been hoping for. “You don’t understand. For a great many people, life is a disappointment,” the expert told the director. So the scene was cut – and has never since rematerialized.
While the guru was pointing out that we can’t always get what we want, it can be argued that the significance of the movie is that we get what we deserve. Charlie was rewarded for his altruistic behavior, while the other children were punished for being lazy or selfish. In fact, it has even been suggested that there is a spiritual message behind Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
One fan theory claims that the children in the movie represented different sins, such as greed, sloth and gluttony. Wonka is supposedly working to expose these faults and save the kids from themselves in the process. It’s suggested that Wonka is synonymous with God, and that when he gives Charlie the keys to the factory, this represents the kingdom of heaven.
In any case, the film is now considered a classic. A second film adaptation of the book called Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton, was released in 2005 to critical and commercial success. But for many, it’s the original movie that will always stand out as essential viewing.