Is the river in ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’ really made of chocolate and cream?

For many years, the harvest hiss about the classic 1971 movie “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” revealed that the chocolate river in the movie was made from real chocolate and cream. A 2016 story in Life Housekeeping magazine read:

The chocolate river is made of 150,000 liters of water, real chocolate and cream.

How else do you think they got that rich, sweet ingredient? But because it was made of real food, it began to deteriorate over time and had a terrible smell by the time the film was wrapped. If you want to experience the closest thing to a chocolate river in real life, there is a giant chocolate fountain in the Willy Wonka theme park in Beijing, China.

There was no real cream or chocolate in the so-called “river”, as the child actors and directors claimed in interviews and books about the making of the film, although milk powder was added to the water. made of ice cream.

In a 2021 interview, several of the former child actors who were part of the film talked about the “chocolate river” with Polygon. Michael Bollner and Julie Dawn Cole, who played Augustus Gloop and Veruca Salt, respectively, described the river in detail:

Bollner: It’s actually not chocolate. It was very cold. It was stinking water! And all day long, jumping and jumping out, and walking around in wet clothes.

Cole: Michael must have fallen on that disgusting thing that’s been sitting there for three weeks. There was a light on it, and people poured the dregs of their cups into it.

Mel Stuart, the film’s director, talked about the “river” in his 2002 book, “Pure Imagination: The Making of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” He wrote (emphasis ours):

Then came the hard part – creating the chocolate river itself. The ingredients for the river became a mixed bag. Hank [Wynands, the construction coordinator] started with 50,000 liters of water and buckets of powder used to make chocolate ice cream. However, two problems occurred – the smell and the bubbles. Because the river was still for hours during the day and night, a stench rose from the water and permeated the entire sound stage. Hank found that mixing salt and some chemicals took care of this problem. The waterfall caused a bigger problem. When the water from the falls hit the river, it caused a ripple effect that turned the rest of the water white. To solve this problem, Hank had to fly to Hamburg to buy a special chemical that is used to control the ingredients in the shampoos. The substance was so powerful that it only took two cups of the substance to return the river to its natural brown color. The resulting river looks good, but it’s like: cold, dirty water.

Bollner said he was scared when he fell into the “river” because “it was only 10 inches deep. And there was a hole about a square meter that I had to hit. So I was very afraid that I would hit a square meter.” . and hit my head on the ground of the chocolate river.”

The film itself has become a cult classic and is one of actor Gene Wilder’s favorite films.

source of information

“Hendrik Wynands | Art Department, Extras.” IMDb, Accessed 5 Feb. 2024.

Hill, Libby. “Hollywood mourns the loss of comedy legend Gene Wilder.” Los Angeles Times, 29 Aug. 2016, Updated on 5 Feb. 2023.

Ibrahim, Nur. “Are Jeremy Allen White and Gene Wilder related?” Snopes, Oct. 8 2023, Updated on 5 Feb. 2023.

“Interesting Facts About Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – Willy Wonka Trivia.” Good Housekeeping, 29 June 2023, /. Updated on 5 Feb. 2023.

Patches, Matt. “The Story of Willy Wonka’s Gross Chocolate River: A Short Oral History.” Polygon, 29 June 2021, Updated on 5 Feb. 2023.

Stuart, Mel, and Josh Young. “Pure Imagination: The Making of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” Macmillan, 2002. Accessed 5 February 2023.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Directed by Mel Stuart, Wolper Pictures, 1971. Accessed February 5, 2023.

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