Rest In Peace Mel Stuart
Hey guys, Quint here. It has fallen to me to say a few words about the passing of Mel Stuart. While the man was a giant in TV and has an Oscar nomination and Emmy and Peabody wins on the ol’ resume, one particular project of his stands head and shoulders above the rest for me personally.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a landmark film for me. It’s something that could just be straight up children’s entertainment, but decided to go dark, to go counter-culture… in short, to go a little mad. Gene Wilder is a big piece of that puzzle (God help us whenever Gene leaves. I’ll cry for a week.), as is Roald Dahl, but Mel Stuart was the captain of that ship. He’s well-known as saying he made it for adults, not for children, and that’s probably why it’s still going strong.
I recently posted a picture of Stuart and Wilder on the set (included below) and you can tell that those two were having a blast. If they weren’t they sure hid it well. Stuart always came across like an incredibly likeable guy.
I’m not too familiar with the rest of his filmography save the fantastic funk documentary Wattstax, but there are already a couple on there that I now feel the need to seek out after having looked over his work, namely 1970’s I LOVE MY WIFE, with Elliott Gould starring as a doctor who is bored with his family, and 1978’s MEAN DOG BLUES, a prison farm flick starring Gregg Henry, George Kennedy and Scatman Crothers.
While Wonka will reign supreme as far as how his work has impacted me personally, there’s no denying his documentary work was massive. He was nominated for Four Days In November, the Kennedy assassination documentary that came out less than a year after the shooting. It’s an incredibly in-depth piece of film that is all the more biting for its proximity to the event itself.
There’s also the aforementioned Wattstax, known as the Black Woodstock. I’m a huge fan of the funk and soul music of this era and man is this an amazing doc. Or is it a concert film? It’s a little bit of both, but whatever it is it captures a fascinating moment in time. Check out the trailer:
Stuart led a hugely influential life. Though he lost his battle with cancer, he left a legacy the likes of which any human being would be proud of. Thanks for the childhood memories, Mr. Stuart.
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
+ Expand All
Aug. 11, 2012, 11:35 a.m. CST
Aug. 11, 2012, 11:35 a.m. CST
by Dave Knight
Aug. 11, 2012, 11:43 a.m. CST
i haven't seen him even give an interview or sound bite in over a decade...is he in good physical or mental health?
Aug. 11, 2012, 11:49 a.m. CST
ZOMBOT - GENE IS DOING OKAY, HE WALKED AWAY OF HIS OWN VOLITION. HE GREW TIRED OF THE BIZ, AND AND JUST WANTS TO BE LEFT ALONE.
by Darth Busey
Aug. 11, 2012, 11:58 a.m. CST
Ill also be pretty sad when Gene Wilder dies
Aug. 11, 2012, 12:27 p.m. CST
Aug. 11, 2012, 12:43 p.m. CST
He would have spent twenty minutes telling some story about himself and how it somehow relates to all this.
Aug. 11, 2012, 12:58 p.m. CST
by Nice Marmot
Back to the subject: Thanks for the memories Mel. Wonka will be forever embedded into my happy thoughts.
Aug. 11, 2012, 1:02 p.m. CST
Aug. 11, 2012, 1:08 p.m. CST
A childhood favourite of mine too. RIP
Aug. 11, 2012, 1:51 p.m. CST
...and unsettled. Wattstax looks awesome, too! Peace to Mel Stuart and his loved ones.
Aug. 11, 2012, 3:36 p.m. CST
He also directed a movie called The Chisholms which featured one of my coworkers who was an extra dancing in the opening wedding scene. Glad to hear that Gene Wilder is still alive and with it too. I remember that I hadn't seen him in anything for a long time either. His episode was the first time I ever saw Inside the Actor's Studio, and I still hate their theme music to this day because it's so slow and mournful. My first thought was that Wilder had died and this was a tribute to him.
Aug. 11, 2012, 3:43 p.m. CST
If you want to view Paradise, simply look around and view it. Anything you want to, do it. Want to change the world? There's nothing to it.
Thank you Mr. Stuart for your Pure Imagination.
Aug. 11, 2012, 4:11 p.m. CST
by John Kenny
Willy Wonka is one of those rare family films that will carry on through the years. It will be the big screen adaptation that people will look back on fondly, not the shit-tastic remake.
Aug. 11, 2012, 4:20 p.m. CST
Aug. 11, 2012, 4:49 p.m. CST
google for the letters that Gene Wilder wrote before he accepted this role. He outlined suggestions for changes to everything right down to the clothes he would wear - and all of it made it into the movie. Super kudos to Mr. Stuart for putting aside ego a
Aug. 11, 2012, 4:54 p.m. CST
...although I was fully aware that Gene Wilder had retired years ago, on his own terms. I love Wilder's work as much as anybody, and it had a significant effect on my nascent enjoyment of cinema as a kid. But frankly, I find it hard to identify with Quint when he speaks of Wilder's eventual death as something that will shock his system enough to make him "cry for a week." Gene Wilder, the actor, has already been gone a long time. Will it sadden me when I eventually hear that he has died? Sure. But his early and complete retirement has given me a chance to get over "losing" him over the course of a lot of years.
Aug. 11, 2012, 5:43 p.m. CST
I believe it aired on Bravo and it was a tow hour special that explored everything about the man. He's still heartwrenchingly missing Gilda every day. Sorry that doesn't satisfy your need of "what I deserve from this celebrity" but he seems to be as happy as he can be on a daily basis. Being a media who're like Betty White just isn't what he wants for the rest of his life. No disrespect to Betty either, she's happy too. Just that reaction to her has gone critical. Why can't we just wish good will to those that enriched our lives? Why can't that be good enough for you?
Aug. 11, 2012, 5:58 p.m. CST
Man were they ever on the same wavelength when that topic came up.
Aug. 11, 2012, 6:10 p.m. CST
Check it out if you have any interest in that kind of music. Great stuff.
Aug. 11, 2012, 6:40 p.m. CST
by Neil Harrison
RIP Carlo Rambaldi.
Aug. 11, 2012, 6:51 p.m. CST
For doing what he loved and giving people fond memories because of it, Stuart will never be forgotten
by Christian Sylvain
RIP Mel. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory has done more for children than any other film could.
Aug. 11, 2012, 7:13 p.m. CST
by Joey Stars
It was the source material, Dahl's novel, that had all the punishment and attempted murder of the bad kids. It was pretty dark to begin with. I mean good on them for not bungling up the adaptation or making it more kid-friendly, but by 70's standards most movies were a little more dangerous and edgier, weren't they? Oh Yea, RIP Mel Stuart.
Aug. 11, 2012, 7:51 p.m. CST
It's good he's dead. Pedos deserve to die.
Aug. 11, 2012, 7:57 p.m. CST
by Anthony Torchia
Pure Imagination, Baby. Nothing but net!
Aug. 11, 2012, 9:06 p.m. CST
You can't call someone a media whore in one breath and erase it with "no disrespect" in the next.
Aug. 11, 2012, 9:18 p.m. CST
I'd like to see it again
Aug. 11, 2012, 11:46 p.m. CST
Aug. 11, 2012, 11:49 p.m. CST
Wilder developed cancer in the late 90's but he's been in remission for years now, he actually married the specialist that helped him through chemo. Anyway, he's been pretty steadily writing books for a few years, and his writing is amazing. His autobiography, 'Kiss Me Like a Stranger,' especially, is one of my favorite books and I could read it a million times and it would never get old. I recommend it wholeheartedly
Aug. 12, 2012, 12:53 a.m. CST
Aug. 12, 2012, 1:53 a.m. CST
So you think it's neat to use an iconic character I created to make an ironic jab at someone else...<p>what's wrong with using your own face?
Aug. 12, 2012, 2:03 a.m. CST
I would put it up with "The Last Waltz" and "Gimme Shelter". Seriously. That good. And I'm an old white dude. Just Sayin'.
Aug. 12, 2012, 5:24 a.m. CST
When Gene was promoting his Bio in England he did an Interview for TALKSport radio station where he revealed his great passion for Tennis. Gene said Andy Murray (just breaking through in the Tennis world at that time) would go on to be a great player. Gene was so humble, I never bought the book but after reading the above, I must do
Aug. 12, 2012, 5:29 a.m. CST
RIP Mr Stuart- Your version of WONKA will last forever. So much Emotion in that picture. Gene's last line to Charlie always makes me Tear Up
Aug. 12, 2012, 5:35 a.m. CST
The Wonka Boat Scene was like being on The Best Ghost Train in the World...Utter Madness and I freaking LOVE IT!
Aug. 12, 2012, 6:34 a.m. CST
Plus you get a cameo of a young Fred Berry putting on a pop and lock clinic!
Aug. 12, 2012, 6:50 a.m. CST
Nobody spotted a young Ted Lange in that trailer?
Aug. 12, 2012, 8 a.m. CST
Where is gene has been my question for years. Willy wonka was just only part of his great and wierdly child friendly filmography. At least it was friendly to me as a child. I remember his and Richard pryors films and I thought they were a riot when I was younger, but hardly anybody I know has seen hear no evil, see no evil. Most have seen his and Mel's frankenstein comedy and should understand the genuis that is missing from the cinema world right now. Damn the gods!
Aug. 12, 2012, 8:32 a.m. CST
Not sure if he lives in Atlanta, but 2 years ago my wife saw him at a school graduation for his grand - or maybe great - kid.
Aug. 12, 2012, 10 a.m. CST
Aug. 12, 2012, 10:19 a.m. CST
Many memories .. many times ..
Aug. 12, 2012, 10:38 a.m. CST
Gene Wilder WAS and always will be Willy Wonka. Tim Burton should have cast him again and then made the sequel based on Roald Dahl 's Charlie And The Glass Elevator.
Aug. 12, 2012, 10:39 a.m. CST
Aug. 12, 2012, 11:17 a.m. CST
thread is winding down so lets end it right: Charlie, dont forget what happened to the man who suddenly had all his dreams come true...
...he lived happily ever after.
Aug. 12, 2012, 11:54 a.m. CST
And I don't just mean talkback.
Aug. 12, 2012, 4:43 p.m. CST
Too bad it's involving Russell Brand.....
Aug. 12, 2012, 4:53 p.m. CST
Aug. 12, 2012, 5:13 p.m. CST
so far the lowest point in an already shitty, shitty show!
Aug. 12, 2012, 10:40 p.m. CST
I am puzzled. This has been staged quite ineptly. I've never seen so many people waving their arms around with a total lack of synchronization.
Aug. 12, 2012, 10:45 p.m. CST
I just hated that he was a jerk to Charlie at the end - it confused me as a kid. What if Charlie never gave away the "secret", but didn't hand back the Gobstopper (or whatever)?? It just seemed somewhat "random" to me, at the time. Regardless, great flick - even with the mother's buzz-kill song. The Fizzy-Lifter scene is also a bit of a drag. The Loompa songs have some smart points, and the sarcasm surrounding the entire film is excellent.
Aug. 13, 2012, 9:06 a.m. CST
Quint, Gene left a long time ago...not Earth...but acting....we lost what could have been some really wonderful years from him. Hell, I even love See No Evil, Hear No Evil. That's how fucked-up in love I am with Wilder's work.
Aug. 13, 2012, 9:10 a.m. CST
Of course it could have been 1980's Joan Severance's ya-ya's on display too...not sure. I saw it at puberty. But still got crazy Wilder-love.
Aug. 13, 2012, 9:25 a.m. CST
It was great to hear it. A great tribute to both Roald Dahl and Mel Stuart.
Aug. 13, 2012, 10:26 a.m. CST
Oh yeah, Gorgomel! I totally forgot that! It was a great moment in what I thought was the best closing ceremony I've seen.
Aug. 13, 2012, 11:33 a.m. CST
A film that drew me in like the Death Star tractor beam, I have such amazing memories of watching it as a kid. Every drop of that film is beautiful.
Rest in peace.
Aug. 13, 2012, 12:10 p.m. CST
Hated seeing Brand lip-sync it.
- PROMETHEUS 2 now has a writer!!! -- 627 total posts 460 posts
- John Ary's Video Review Of WORLD WAR Z!! -- 213 total posts 213 posts
- Harry's 25th Picks & Peeks of 2013!!! With THINGS TO COME, OCTAMAN, Bette Davis, STOKER, HOWLING, LIFEFORCE & more! -- 212 total posts 212 posts
- Ryan Reynolds No Longer the HIGHLANDER -- 320 total posts 205 posts
- David S. Goyer And Mr. Beaks Talk MAN OF STEEL Spoilers! DA VINCI'S DEMONS,100 BULLETS And JUSTICE LEAGUE Also Discussed! -- 485 total posts 179 posts
- Behold A Nifty New Poster For Disney's THE BLACK HOLE (1979)!! -- 155 total posts 155 posts
- SIN CITY 2: A DAME TO KILL FOR delayed to next year. NOOOOOO!!!!! -- 151 total posts 119 posts
- Father Geek says MAN OF STEEL is pretty much the best Superhero Movie ever made and I'm not gonna argue! -- 1846 total posts 112 posts
- We have the first trailer for Disney Animation's next film, FROZEN right here!!! -- 96 total posts 96 posts
- Sony has announced release dates for both THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 3 and THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 4!!! -- 221 total posts 85 posts