101 Dalmatians (1961)

101 Dalmatians
Directed by Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, and Wolfgang Reitherman
Written by Bill Peet from a novel by Dodie Smith
Walt Disney Productions
Repeat viewing/Netflix rental

Anita: How are you?

Cruella De Vil: Miserable, darling, as usual, perfectly wretched.

The artwork is charming and who could resist all those adorable puppies!

The Dalmatian Pongo (voiced by Rod Taylor) and his “pet” Roger, a songwriter, are lonely bachelors – except that Roger doesn’t know it yet.  Pongo plots to find a woman for him and finds one, Anita, along with a mate for himself named Perdita.  The pairings are blissful and before long Perdita gives birth to a litter of 15 puppies!

Somehow, the gentle Anita ended up tolerating her old classmate Cruella De Vil.  Cruella is a chain-smoking, fur-wearing nightmare with some of the mannerisms of Tallulah Bankhead.  She is determined to have a Dalmatian-skin coat or six and has been buying up all the Dalmatian puppies she can find.  When Anita refuses to sell her litter, Cruella resorts to dognapping with the assistance of evil but bumbling henchmen Horace and Jasper.  The police have no luck, so it is up to Pongo, Perdita and assorted animal friends to rescue their babies.

Well, this is just a ton of fun.  Unlike other Disney animated features, this has only one song.  The animal behavior is amusingly captured and the animation style is quite a departure for Disney.  I really enjoyed it.


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