D is for Devilish Dahl

I must confess--I have extremely fond memories of Roald Dahl, but they all have more to do with his impact on popular culture than the books themselves.

I have read various Dahl books, including his autobiography, Boy, plus several of his short stories. Creepy probably best sums up my overall reaction.

David Battley in the 1971 Willy Wonka
But most of my Dahl intake has been movies. Growing up, my friend Jen (whom I've known since I was five) and I would get together and watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971). We are both pastry and chocolate lovers, and these girls' nights in were almost always accompanied by making something delicious and chocolatey.

Then the creepy (but not in a delightful or ironic or cute way) Johnny Depp version came out, and I went off Willy Wonka for awhile.

I recently rewatched the 1971 movie with Gene Wilder and  boy, that's a good movie! Sometimes, as we age, the movies we adored as youngsters don't live up to our recollection, but the original movie is well-plotted, well-acted, and legitimately funny in a Monty-Python kind of way.

In fact, I know there is no connection, but I wouldn't be terribly surprised if someone told me that Dahl wrote for Monty-Python--he's that kind of author.

As well as Willy Wonka (1971), I quite enjoy The Witches with the remarkable Anjelica Huston. She takes the eponymous part by storm, and the movie ends in a less than distressing way (with Dahl, you can never be too sure).

I also associate Dahl with Quentin Blake (although other people have illustrated Dahl, and Blake has illustrated other people's stuff). I'm a big fan of Quentin Blake. I enjoy illustrations that appear to effortlessly capture a range of emotions with impressionistic verve.

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