Always the Last to Know

A repost for National Poetry Month.

I wanted to look into something original, interesting that I could share about poetry. In my quest to find a fun-fact tidbit, I learned some facts about a childhood movie, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Of course, I’m talking about the chocolate factory with Gene Wilder from 1971.

Before I connect the movie to poetry, I want to point out a few things about the movie. I have seen it several times and never realized the film location was Munich, Germany. When I watched it as a child, the scenery seemed foreign to me, strange even. Now it makes sense. They even recruited Germans to play Oompa Loompas, which many didn’t know the words to the musical songs because they didn’t speak English.

I’m so clueless. Or maybe I shouldn’t even admit to such stupidity.

Now as a child, I did notice Willy Wonka’s spurts of words, how quick he responded to another character. I usually scratched my head in confusion. I thought these spurts of words were riddles I clearly didn’t understand. But I was wrong! Did you know that there are several poetic lines recited throughout the movie? Just say you didn’t know. And that some of Willy’s spurts are poetry lines? Well, they are I tell ya. Unfortunately, I can’t find any specifics as to the reasons for these lines other than they were written into the screenplay.

In the beginning of the movie, a tinker recites at 0:42 of the below clip, Up the airy mountain, / Down the rushy glen, / We daren’t go a-hunting / For fear of little men. This is from “The Fairy Folk” written by William Allingham.

Other lines throughout the movie include: “Is it my soul that calls upon my name?” William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”; “All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by” John Masefield – “Sea Fever”; “A thing of beauty is a joy forever” John Keats’s “Endymion: A Poetic Romance” and “Round the world and home again, that’s the sailor’s way!” William Allingham’s “Homeward Bound”. “We are the music-makers…” Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s “Ode”. “Where is fancy bred…” and “So shines a good deed…”. William Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice”. The lines from the song, Sweet lovers love the spring time, are from Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”.

Here is a clip of Willy Wonka saying, “The suspense is terrible, I hope it will last.” A quote from Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

And at 0:22 of the below clip, “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker” is from “Reflections on Ice Breaking” by Ogden Nash.

This is toward the end of the movie, when Willy Wonka tells Charlie he didn’t win. Charlie returns a piece of candy, and at 2:10 in the below clip, Willy says, “So shines a good deed in a weary world.” It’s a quote from Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice,” although Willy says ‘weary world’ instead of Shakespeare’s ‘naughty world.’

So I leave you with a bit more about movies and poetry. Dylan Thomas’ Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night has been used several times by Hollywood, most recently in the movie “Interstellar.”

Poetry in Motion,
Baer Necessities

10 thoughts on “Always the Last to Know

  1. Thanks for the tidbits about Willy Wonka. It’s always fun to be able to learn and recognize new things about beloved childhood movies. I can’t even count how many times I must have watched this. I had read before about the Munich location and also at the end of the movie when the glass elevator breaks the ceiling and flies over the city that shot is of all the red roofs in Rothenberg.

  2. Leave it to you to find the authors of the quotes. I always thought they were something, I just don’t know things like that. LOL
    BTW, my daughter had her 1st poetry slam yesterday. She has some great stuff. The older people there loved her – it was a great ego boost for my shy little introvert. 🙂

    1. June, I didn’t know either. I couldn’t believe it when I found this tidbit of information out.

      You have to share your daughter’s slam poetry. I would have never guessed she is shy, especially with you as her mother. 😉

  3. Wow, I had no idea. About the poetry, or about it being filmed in Germany, or any of that. The last time I saw it I was a kid, so all of that stuff went WAY over my head. Might have to watch this again some time soon to enjoy those poetic tidbits.

  4. I was in the generation of kids that grew up with the Johnny Depp version of the movie. But I have actually heard so many great things about this version that I should actually watch it too! I can never get enough of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or poetry, so I love that the two are combined here. And it’s cool that the location for shooting was Munich! I’ve been there before 🙂

    1. Olivia, The original one is the best one, in my opinion. The Johnny Depp version seemed WAY too creepy for me. Hope you get around to watching it.

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