In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), everything in Wonka's office is cut in half: half a desk, half a sink, half a safe, half a bust, etc.

Why is this?

  • 5
    ...Because he's eccentric? (This was already asked on SE, BTW)
    – Walt
    Jun 29, 2016 at 21:54
  • 9
    he bought everything at a 50% off sale.
    – KutuluMike
    Jun 29, 2016 at 22:21
  • It's all right. Nothing sinister.
    – jejorda2
    Jun 30, 2016 at 17:29
  • Looking back I think Willy Wonka was Thanos, he even dressed in purple Nov 13, 2019 at 21:48

2 Answers 2


Because he's a nutter.

That's pretty much all there is to it. It was a very simple and obvious way of bringing out his whimsicality and eccentricity visually.

The director, Mel Stuart, answered this in his book Pure Imagination: The Making of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, where he said:

the reason everything in Willy's office is cut in half was because Stuart couldn't bear the thought of - after having gone through all the whimsical and creative rooms in the factory - ending the movie in an ordinary office. Everything was cut in half to make the room look more Wonka-esque.

Thinking about it a little more deeply, it could also be a reference to the halved pieces of crockery found in the 1951 Disney adaptation of Alice in Wonderland:

Alice Wonka

Both Alice in Wonderland, and Charlie in the Chocolate Factory, are examples of the trope of an ordinary child whisked into a fantastic world and shown incredible things. Perhaps this is the film's way of tipping the Wonka top hat to an older film adaptation of an older story with a similar theme.

(I in turn should tip my top hat to Jeff at the Sci-Fi & Fantasy SE for his answer to a similar question there.)

Oh and just for fun, from IMDb's trivia page:

During the construction of Willy's office, in which everything is cut in half, one of the prop men accidentally sawed in half a non-prop coffee pot that someone had put in the work area. Only when coffee began spilling out did he realize his mistake.

  • 5
    Looking at the calendar, what month begins with, or even contains, "AIR"? Jun 30, 2016 at 2:38
  • 1
    @JohnnyBones could it be an advertising calendar from an airline?
    – NiceOrc
    Jun 30, 2016 at 4:18
  • 1
    It's rather impressive that the tea stayed in Alice's half-teacup. Jun 30, 2016 at 4:27
  • 5
    @JohnnyBones it looks very close to the Air France logo. An image search of "Air France Calendar 1970" shows an image which could be cut at the same location (different month though).
    – The Dark
    Jun 30, 2016 at 4:51
  • 1
    I only just noticed the half-sheets of yellow wallpaper.
    – Criggie
    Jun 30, 2016 at 9:33

I think its a representation of how Mr Wonka is incomplete, half a man, half a stable mind. Charlie completes him and the factory and his possessions. The edge, the two sided nature of wonka shows the true self and the flamboyant side, which is ultimately empty.

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