101 Dalmatians

101 Dalmatians

From Pinterest

I’m seeing spots!

In 1961 Walt Disney brought to life a lively cast of k-9 personalities. Based on the 1956 children’s novel “The Hundred and One Dalmatians” by Dodie Smith, 101 Dalmatians would be a saving grace for Disney’s animation division. Talk of closing down the department followed after the financial flop of Sleeping Beauty in 1959 and the animators where in dire need of a hit!

After years of off -and-on correspondence with Dodie Smith, it was decided that 101 Dalmatians would be their newest project. Disney may have taken quite a few liberties while adapting the book into film, but the main theme stayed the same: two dalmatians running across England to rescue their puppies.

The need to cut down on production costs, led to a technological breakthrough. This film would be the first to use xerography, which oddly enough Walt did not like the look of. Embracing the new idea paid off – not only was 101 Dalmatians the top box office hit of 1961, but the new use of xerography would become the next visual style of Disney animation. So, is this Disney triumph all it’s hyped to be? Is it a tail wagging
good time?

“Oh, he’s intelligent enough, as humans go; and I think you could say Roger is a rather handsome animal in his way.”- Pongo

Plot overview

This film starts with what I think is the best Disney animation film intro. The music is fun and has a great tie in with the dalmatians and theme of spots. After the lively intro, we meet Pongo – a dalmatian who lives with his owner Roger Radcliff. Both bachelors are living in a small flat in London – both Pongo and Roger enjoy a quaint, little life.

101 Dalmatians

From Pinterest

Pongo, who is bored with bachelor life, plans to help Roger meet his perfect mate and maybe find a mate for himself. While keeping an eye out the window he spots the perfect pair: a woman named Anita and her dalmatian, Perdita. He notices that they are on their way to the park and devises a plan for them to “accidentally” bump into them. Changing the clock to make it time for his daily park outing, Pongo drags Roger out of the house and begins his search for Anita and Peridta.

After a hilarious meeting between the four, Roger and Anita, joined by Pongo and Perdita, fall in love and get married. A few months later and Perdita is going to give birth to puppies! The happy news is quickly turned into fear when Anita’s old school chum Cruella de Vil comes calling. Cruella, obsessed with fur coats, decides that she needs to buy all the puppies so that she can make herself a dalmatian coat. On the night of the puppies’ arrival, Cruella shows up in hopes that Roger and Anita will sell her the family’s new additions. When her offer is turned down, she becomes frantic and enraged -promising that she will get even with Roger and Anita.

“My only true love, darling. I live for furs.” – Cruella

Enter Jasper and Horace, Cruella’s henchmen and former burglars. While Anita and Roger are out for their nightly walk with Pongo and Perdita, Jasper and Horace break into the house and steal the puppies. When the four of them return and learn that the puppies have been stolen they turn to Scotland Yard. With Scotland Yard finding no leads and unable to find the puppies, Pongo and Perdita decided to take things into their own hands. They reach out via the twilight bark – a canine gossip chain that’s the fastest way to spread information.

101 Dalmatians

From Pinterest

A few days later and there is finally news: the puppies have been spotted at the de Vil Place – an abandoned, decaying estate. Not wasting any time, Pongo and Perdita leave right away and start on a crazy adventure to rescue their puppies. Will they rescue and find their puppies in time? Will they all make it home safe and sound? And what will become of Cruella’s plans for her dalmatian coat?

Content for concern

Violence: Cruella slaps Horace and Jasper, it is implied that Horace and Jasper are going to “bop” and skin the puppies amid a few comic slap stick moments. Language: idiot, shut up and imbecile are used frequently along with quite a bit of bullying by Cruella.

“Look, Anita! Puppies everywhere!” – Roger


So, is this Disney hit all its talked up to be? Yes! The fun music, hilarious personalities and beautiful backdrop make this film a ten in my book. This movie has it all in my humble opinion: comedy, adventure, intrigue and romance. Relax and enjoy this wonderful, heartwarming, spotted adventure!

Fun fact

The birth of the fifteen dalmatians puppies is based on a true event. Dodie Smith’s dalmatians had fifteen puppies and one was born lifeless. Dodie’s husband then revived it – just like Roger in the film!

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