101 Dalmatians (1961)
One Hundred and One Dalmatians (alternatively titled 101 Dalmatians) is a 1961 animated film directed by Wolfgang Reitherman and distributed by Disney (formally Buena Vista Pictures Distribution). It is based off the 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians.
Dalmatian Pongo is tired of his bachelor-dog life. He spies lovely Perdita and maneuvers his master, Roger, into meeting Perdita's owner, Anita. The owners fall in love and marry, keeping Pongo and Perdita together too. After Perdita gives birth to a litter of 15 puppies, Anita's old school friend Cruella De Vil wants to buy them all. Roger declines her offer, so Cruella hires the criminal Badun brothers to steal them — so she can have a fur coat. With the use of the Twilight Bark, Pongo and Perdita must rescue 15 of their puppies before it’s too late. But will they be in time?
Why It Rocks
- The animation goes with the film's cartoony and fun spirit. Note that this is the first animated film to use Xerox process, which helped draw animation faster.
- Great voice-acting, especially from Betty Lou Gerson (yes, Cruella).
- Cruella is an awesome villain, along with two of her conspirators Jasper and Horace Badun.
- Pongo's idea of rolling into soot to 'look like a Labrador' is a creative idea, especially considering the dog protecting them is a Labrador.
- The comedy interwoven into it is funny.
- The puppies are cute, most notably Lucky (whose name is ironic).
- Roger's song 'Cruella DeVil' became a phenomenon.
- Like Cinderella and The Great Mouse Detective, this film saved Disney from shutting down their studio apartment after the critical and financial failure of Sleeping Beauty. This film was a critical and financial success, in sharp contrast to its predecessor.
- The skyline of London during the opening credits, the Twilight Bark sequence, and Dalmatian Plantation song is stylish and graceful.
- Despite having a limited amount of screen time, Scottie is a funny character during the Twilight Bark scene. The way he barks and bounces like a jackhammer is hilarious.
- Fabulous score by George Bruns.
- The film would later spawn a franchise but with mixed results.
- The 1997 television show 101 Dalmatians: The Series is terrible, due to it lacking the charm and cuteness of the original movie, trying to be cool and hip with the 90s crowd, tries to enforce morals down people's throats, animation that is while fluid, has various goofs here and there, and would occasionally "jump the shark" in certain episodes, one example would be the episode "Goose Pimples".
- The direct to video sequel to this film, titled 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure, while not terrible, isn't as good as the original film.
- It's live-action counterparts can also come with mixed results.
- For an example, the live-action Cruella movie seems to be a rip-off to 2019's Joker, at least according to the trailers.
- On the flip side, the 2019 television show 101 Dalmatian Street is actually a great show that is more faithful to the original movie when compared to the 1997 series.
- Despite that the Xerox process helped draw animation faster, unfortunately this resulted to a minor drop in animation quality compared to in the 1940s and 1950s, as the Xerox process gave a much sketchy look in the art style, which would become common for animated Disney films until the early-1970s.
- It has the annoying reused animation that would become common for animated Disney films until 1981, which makes things with the animation become noticeable until then.