Hazel and Katniss and Harry and Starr Podcast: Charlie and The Chocolate Factory

The logo for Hazel & Katniss & Harry & Starr podcast: an orange box with the words written in white fontHazel & Katniss & Harry & Starr is a weekly Canadian podcast about young adult literature, their film and television adaptations, and everything in between. Now in its sixth season, the podcast—hosted by film critic Joe Lipsett and English professor Brenna Clarke-Gray—aims to highlight the cultural worth of young adult and middle-grade texts, with a focus on Canadian, Indigenous and minority creatives and stories.

Join us weekly for deep dives, as well as a round of YA BINGO.

Book 6, Chapter 14: Willy Wonka / Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

We’ve got a golden ticket! To coincide with the release of the new film Wonka, Brenna and Joe dip into Roald Dahl’s problematic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964), as well as Mel Stuart’s 1971 adaptation and Tim Burton’s 2005 “more faithful” take.

There’s *a lot* to discuss: colonialism, racism, slavery, “the deserving poor,” mixed moral messages, Anna Wintour hair, Michael Jackson and practical FX.


Read on for more about this week’s episode from co-host Joe Lipsett:

Covering a beloved children’s classic is always a dicey proposition. Thankfully Brenna and I have read Dahl before for our episode on The Witches, so we’ve already addressed many of his problematic issues (listen here). With the forthcoming release of Wonka, it made programming Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a no-brainer.

Despite the aforementioned issues with colonialism and slavery, there’s a lot to admire about all of these texts. The book is weird and wild. Stuart’s adaptation takes liberties, but Wilder’s performance is an all-timer. And that production design!

Surprising me most of all is Burton’s reverent take. Depp is *very* weird, but the emphasis on practical FX grounds this kooky film. It turns out each of these is a classic in its own right! -JL

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