With the help of a smooth talking tomcat, a family of Parisian felines set to inherit a fortune from their owner try to make it back home after a jealous butler kidnaps them and leaves them in the country.
Pongo and Perdita have a litter of 15 puppies. Cruella De Vil takes a fancy to the pups, and wants to get hold of them, as well as more pups, to make herself a lovely dalmatian skin coat... Cruella hires some thugs to kidnap the pups and hold them at her mansion. Will Pongo and Perdita find them in time ? Written by
Colin Tinto <email@example.com>
The final film for animator Marc Davis. After animating Cruella De Vil in this film, Davis went to work for WED Enterprises, designing for such Disneyland rides as the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. See more »
Kanine Krucnchies sponsors the Thunderbolt show but in the 1960s, advertisers could not directly sponsor programs in the UK. See more »
My story begins in London, not so very long ago. And yet so much has happened since then, that it seems more like an eternity.
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There are no end credits for this feature film. However, the credits are at the beginning. See more »
I won't set the plot of "101 Dalmatians" out in any detail, as it is already well-known from this film, the nineties remake and Dodie Smith's original book (a great childhood favourite of mine). Briefly, however, it deals with the theft of a litter of Dalmatian puppies by a woman named Cruella De Vil (an obvious pun on "cruel devil") who wants to turn them into fur coats. The human authorities are baffled, so it falls to the kidnapped puppies' parents, Pongo and Perdita, to track them down and rescue them- along with a lot more Dalmatian puppies acquired by Cruella for the same nefarious purpose.
The film is rather different in look from a lot of earlier Disney cartoons, which were characterised by bright, even garish, colours. Here, by contrast, the colour scheme is surprisingly restrained for a film aimed at children. Much of the action takes place either at night or in the depths of a snowy English winter, and the palette reflects this. Black and white are much in evidence (as one might expect in a film about black-and-white dogs), and the other predominant colours are blues, greys and purples. Unusually for a Disney cartoon, the action takes place in a modern-day Britain, and this restrained look may also reflect American ideas of the British as a nation of quiet, restrained, phlegmatic people, qualities exemplified by the human protagonists, Roger and Anita Radcliffe. (In Smith's novel their surname was Dearly, and Roger was an economist or financier by profession, not a musician as he is here). Actually, these qualities are also exemplified by the animal protagonists as well; Pongo and Perdita are essentially Roger and Anita transmuted into canine form, and the various animals they meet in the course of their adventures generally represent recognisable British "types", such as The Colonel, an Old English Sheepdog with a distinctly military bearing. (His friends, or should I say subordinates, are a horse named Captain and a cat named Sergeant Tibbs).
One person, however, who is neither quiet nor restrained is the villainess Cruella de Vil. She is perhaps Disney's most memorable villain, a monstrously hyperactive woman with an obsession with fur; she is always seen wearing a fur coat. (In the novel her husband was a furrier, but he does not appear in the film). Her main distinguishing feature is her hair, half-black and half-white. The subsidiary villains are the comically incompetent Badun brothers, Jasper and Horace, whom she employs to steal the puppies.
This was one of my favourite films as a child. I was a great animal- lover and generally found that Disney cartoons involving animals, like this one and "The Jungle Book", were a lot funnier and less sentimental than all those boring girly fairy-tales like "Snow White" and "The Sleeping Beauty". I also liked the fact that the action took place not in some fantastic never-never land but in the real England in which I was growing up. My one complaint was that the music (in comparison with something like "The Jungle Book") was a bit forgettable; even though Roger is a songwriter there are only three songs. I recently saw it again for the first time in many years, and I can say that the animals- especially the spotty dogs themselves- are just as endearing, and their adventures just as amusing- as they were in my childhood.
Some goofs. Although the Disney organisation seem to have gone to some lengths to make the film as British as possible, one or two errors have crept in. British television programmes were not directly sponsored in the early sixties. A "creek" in British English means a saltwater inlet, not a freshwater stream. The Suffolk landscape is not as hilly as it is depicted here. I will, however, let them off over that girder bridge- they are not common in Britain, but not completely unknown. I will also let them off over the name "Perdita"- strictly speaking, Latin grammar demands that it be stressed on the first syllable, but the actual pronunciation in Britain tends to vary.
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