The movie theatre chain AMC announced that they will be running special presentations of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and “Blazing Saddles” in 55 of their multiplex locations on September 3rd and 4th. The announcement comes after Gene Wilder’s death on Monday August 29th. He was the beloved lead actor in these two classic films from the 1970’s. Tickets will be $5 for each film.
Gene Wilder was best known for his sweet yet often sarcastic portrayal of comic figures in some of the highest-grossing comedies of the 70’s and 80’s. The onscreen adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is perhaps the role that Wilder became most famous for in his lengthy career. His performance of the song “Pure Imagination” is an inspirational moment in cinema which when seen often brings a smile to almost anybody who has ever watched the movie.
Grandparents will surely enjoy sharing their childhood memories with the grandkids during the special presentations.
“Blazing Saddles” from 1974 was one of several collaborations between Wilder and film producer Mel Brooks. The western satire tackled the recurring national problem of racism with a lightness that appealed to audiences, while offering cutting commentary on American society. Its catch-phrase, “A black sherriff?” will still resonate with movie-goers, especially in the current political atmosphere of our nation. Wilder appears as a quiet, laid back foil against Cleavon Little who played the lead character. The vaudevillian film includes all the cliche moments of a western while firmly marching toward a more open and tolerant community.
The re-release of the two films by one of the leading movie theater chains in North America was decided upon after the successful showing of “Purple Rain” after the passing of Prince earlier this year. Fans crowded into theaters for a chance to share their memories with likeminded people and to share the excitement of their youth with a younger generations.
Gene Wilder passed away after a lengthy fight with Alzheimer’s Disease. He was 83. His family had resisted sharing his illness with the public due to Mr. Wilder’s wish that his fans would not be sad when they thought of their beloved Willy Wonka, recalling the public persona of a very funny man with a sweet, harmless disposition. He struggled with depression and addiction, especially after the death of his dear wife, Gilda Radner, in 1989 from ovarian cancer. He met and married Karen Boyer shortly after Gilda’s death, and the two were together for the next 25 years until his passing.
Movie times, locations and tickets for the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Blazing Saddles can be found on the AMC website at: https://www.amctheatres.com/