Movie Marathon: ‘101 Dalmatians’



Yeah, bet you thought we’d given up on this one marathon…but we’re back. We just needed a break after The Black Cauldron.

For those just joining us, this is a movie marathon with a twist. Myself (cranky 40 year old blogger), my son Josh (10 year old Nintendo obsessive) and my daughter Amelia (drama llama 8 year old princess) are watching Disney movies in a random order and ranking them. We hope to see interesting differences in how we organise our lists.

Film: 101 Dalmatians

Released: 1961

Director: Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, Wolfgang Reitherman

Cast: Rod Taylor, Cate Bauer, Betty Lou Gerson, Ben Wright, Bill Lee, Lisa Davis

Plot: A couple of dalmatian dogs have their litter of 15 puppies stolen by Cruella de Vil, a cruel heiress determined to collect enough to make a fur coat. Parents Pongo and Perdita set out to rescue their lost children.

Review: Ok, let’s cut to the chase. There’s one key reason this is considered a classic, and that’s Cruella de Vil (Gerson). The original live action remake expanded this character and brought her to the forefront of the title, whilst the more recent adaptation went whole hog and cut the entire dalmatian part of the story. Cruella de Vil earns her reputation in spades. She’s completely unhinged and deeply narcissistic. She introduced into the film storming the Radcliffe’s home and demanding their pets. By the end of the movie she is wild-eyed rampaging along country roads willing to kill anyone who gets in their way. All of this is in the pursuit of…a coat. She’s determined to murder 99 puppies for a coat.

The story is actually told from the perspective of Pongo (Taylor), the dalmation who gets his ‘pet’ Roger (Wright) together with a nice lady who happens bring in Perdita (Bauer), a love interest for Pongo. Together the dalmatians have 15 puppies, and that brings in Antia’s (Davis) old school friend Cruella. From here it’s just set up for the rescue mission as Cruella’s henchmen force their way into the house and kidnap the puppies, adding them to the combined horde of 99 they’ve already gotten their hands on. The stakes are certainly high as Cruella lists of the ways her minions could potentially off the cute little creatures in service of her fashion choices.

Unfortunately there’s not much to the story, so the action jumps between Pongo and Perdita tapping into the dog communication network to find their puppies, and a trio of military minded farm animals who seek to break out the dalmations being held prisoner. As you’d expect, it is the cat who actually saves the day being the only competent character in the entire movie. Things move alone at a steady pace, with enough comedy and cuteness to keep it light while the shadow of Cruella hovers overhead.

Animation wise, this movie is serviceable. It’s the result of two issues, one being a need to reduce the costs of animation and utilising Ub Iwerks’ experiments in Xerox to skip over the inking process. It does leave the movie feeling a bit flat, and the scratchy outline to everything can look messy in crowded scenes. The film looks best when we’re in wide, open areas, such as the snow storm sequence. Walt Disney wound up not liking the final product and demanding that the art director Ken Anderson wouldn’t hold that position again. He relented The Sword in the Stone a couple of years later.

101 Dalmatians was very well received at the time and remained a low-key part of the Disney brand ever since. It’s a fun, harmless adventure with an especially memorable villain.

Best Song: ‘Cruella de Vil’ is not only a bunch of fun, it’s an early example of a dis track.

Coolest Easter Egg: It’s an easy one to spot, but cool. Lady, Tramp, Peg and Jock are all present in the Twilight Bark sequence.

Weirdest Trivia: The sequel to the novel that inspired 101 Dalmatians revolves about Pongo deciding if dogs should stay on Earth for their human companions, or to flee to space to avoid nuclear war. Where’s that movie?!

Rating: SEVEN out of TEN

THE RANKING

ME

Yeah, it’s fun. Hard not to enjoy Cruella.

Click those titles if you want to see what we said about the other movies.

  1. Zootopia
  2. Robin Hood
  3. Aladdin
  4. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  5. The Lion King
  6. Wreck-It Ralph
  7. Alice in Wonderland
  8. Beauty and the Beast
  9. Moana
  10. Big Hero 6
  11. Lilo & Stitch
  12. The Great Mouse Detective
  13. The Little Mermaid
  14. Frozen
  15. Peter Pan
  16. Tangled
  17. The Sword in the Stone
  18. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  19. Enchanted
  20. Mulan
  21. 101 Dalmations
  22. Raya and the Last Dragon
  23. Cinderella
  24. Emperor’s New Groove
  25. The Rescuers Down Under
  26. Fantasia
  27. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  28. The Three Caballeros
  29. The Jungle Book
  30. Fun and Fancy Free
  31. Sleeping Beauty
  32. The Princess and the Frog
  33. Hercules
  34. The Rescuers
  35. Oliver & Company
  36. The Aristocats
  37. Saludos Amigos
  38. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  39. The Black Cauldron
  40. Home on the Range
  41. Bolt
  42. Dinosaur
  43. The Fox and the Hound
  44. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  45. Pocahontas
  46. A Goofy Movie
  47. Tarzan
  48. Fantasia 2000
  49. Treasure Planet
  50. Meet the Robinsons
  51. The Wild
  52. Chicken Little

AMELIA

So Amelia may have hit her limit. She’s elected to put her participation on pause.

  1. Raya and the Last Dragon
  2. Frozen
  3. Moana
  4. Tangled
  5. The Little Mermaid
  6. The Rescuers
  7. The Rescuers Down Under
  8. Peter Pan
  9. Emperor’s New Groove
  10. Zootopia
  11. Lilo & Stitch
  12. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  13. The Great Mouse Detective
  14. Home on the Range
  15. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  16. Mulan
  17. Hercules
  18. Alice in Wonderland
  19. Cinderella
  20. Wreck-It Ralph
  21. Bolt
  22. Pocahontas
  23. The Black Cauldron
  24. Enchanted
  25. Dinosaur
  26. The Aristocats
  27. The Princess and the Frog
  28. Robin Hood
  29. The Jungle Book
  30. Fantasia 2000
  31. The Lion King
  32. Beauty and the Beast
  33. The Three Caballeros
  34. The Fox and the Hound
  35. The Sword in the Stone
  36. Saludos Amigos
  37. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  38. Tarzan
  39. Oliver & Company
  40. Aladdin
  41. Treasure Planet
  42. Big Hero 6
  43. Fun and Fancy Free
  44. Sleeping Beauty
  45. A Goofy Movie
  46. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  47. Meet the Robinsons
  48. Chicken Little
  49. The Wild
  50. Fantasia

JOSHUA

I guess I found it fine. I didn’t really like it that much. It’s the live action one I wouldn’t watch, considering how creepy the dogs looked in the picture.

  1. Zootopia
  2. Big Hero 6
  3. Raya and the Last Dragon
  4. Aladdin
  5. Emperor’s New Groove
  6. Treasure Planet
  7. Moana
  8. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  9. The Three Caballeros
  10. Saludos Amigos
  11. Wreck-It Ralph
  12. The Rescuers
  13. Frozen
  14. Mulan
  15. The Princess and the Frog
  16. The Lion King
  17. Lilo & Stitch
  18. The Jungle Book
  19. Robin Hood
  20. Bolt
  21. The Sword in the Stone
  22. Beauty and the Beast
  23. Oliver & Company
  24. Peter Pan
  25. The Rescuers Down Under
  26. Sleeping Beauty
  27. Tangled
  28. The Great Mouse Detective
  29. Cinderella
  30. 101 Dalmatios
  31. The Little Mermaid
  32. Meet The Robinsons
  33. Enchanted
  34. The Black Cauldron
  35. The Hunchback Of Notre Dame
  36. Home on the Range
  37. Pocahontas
  38. A Goofy Movie
  39. The Aristocats
  40. Fantasia
  41. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  42. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  43. Fun and Fancy Free
  44. The Fox and the Hound
  45. Fantasia 2000
  46. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  47. Dinosaur
  48. Hercules
  49. Tarzan
  50. Alice in Wonderland
  51. The Wild
  52. Chicken Little