Saturday evening at the Downtown Cossitt Library, the final Pandemonium Cinema Showcase event of the year will honor the 45th anniversary of a beloved children's classic.
Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka
When Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was released in June 1971, it made money but was not a huge hit for Paramount and director Mel Stuart. But over the years of Sunday night TV reruns and home video rentals by parents of young kids, it would become a beloved cult film, eventually landing on the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.
The 45th anniversary of the visually colorful but surprisingly darkly themed film comes at a poignant time, with the recent passing of Gene Wilder, the genius comic actor whose turn as Wonka would prove to be a warm up for his double shot of Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles.
The Pandamonium series, masterminded by Black Lodge Video's Matt Martin and director Craig Brewer, was started to not only strengthen the cinema community in Memphis, but also increase the visibility of the long neglected Cossitt Library. The shows have been elaborate, interactive affairs, and this screening promises Oompa Loompas handing out candy in real time and much more. Best of all, it's totally free!
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory will begin at 5:30 PM at the Cossitt Library. The movie is free, but seating will be limited to 100 people. Then at 7:00, a second film based on a Roald Dahl story, James and the Giant Peach, followed by an encore of Wonka at 8:45.