I remember watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a child and being completely absorbed by the character of Willy Wonka. From reading the book, I then saw Gene Wilder’s interpretation and realised that he was exactly how my youthful mind had imagined.
Then he delivered that one line.
“So shines a good deed in a weary world”
I was moved. All throughout, Mr Wonka was conveyed as comically unbalanced to the point of madness, depth only being found within his passion. But then, reaching out for Charlie’s Ever-Lasting Gobstopper, Gene Wilder said those nine words. Suddenly I saw a character with so much more depth. Willy Wonka was given an intelligent sadness, which could be voiced through phrases that, even in context, could be deemed completely irrelevant.
Throughout life individuals have given speeches that have shaken the world and filled books with potentially moving quotations. These words, either spoken or written, can give strength and inspire.
Now a single line from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory might not meet that standard but, for me, it was the most moving part of the entire movie. Not the Oompa Loompas, not Mike TV or Veruca Salt, not even the lifetime supply of chocolate. Instead that one scene in the half office.
Gene Wilder showed me, even from a young age, that levels of character analysis and depth of emotion can be altered drastically from just one scene and one sentence.
This has followed me through almost every essay I’ve written, as I was constantly reprimanded in my college and university days for focusing on one phrase or one stanza, rather than on the piece in it’s entirety.