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101 Dalmatians

Animation and Kids & Family movie

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The special features make it even more entertaining.

  • Mar 4, 2008
  • by
Note: This review is of the most recently issued (2008) version.

I find it difficult to believe that it has been 47 years since this film first appeared. (I also find it difficult to believe that I now have ten grandchildren with whom to watch it.) Credit the Disney organization with providing with this latest restored version a generous selection of bonus features that substantially increase the pleasure of seeing this classic film once again. They include a DVD-ROM of a "Virtual Dalmatians Game," "Op-Up Trivia Facts," and "The Making of One Hundred and One Dalmations," and correspondence between "Sincerely yours, Walt Disney" and Dodie Smith, author of the novel on which the film is based.

The basic plot involves two lonely dalmatians (Pongo and Perdita) who meet in a London park and whose owners then meet and marry. Over time, the dalmatians become parents of 15 puppies who are stolen by Cruella De Vil who is determined to make a fur coat out of their skins. That doesn't happen, of course, but younger children get all caught up in efforts to rescue the puppies (at least when viewing the film for the first time) just as they do when hoping that Pinocchio will be reunited with Gepetto, that Snow White will awaken from her deep sleep, and that Belle and the Beast will live happily ever after. In the best of Disney's animated features, there always seems to be a subtext of menace and this film is no exception. When observing Cruella De Vil's behavior, many of those in my generation will be reminded of Gloria Swanson's portrayal of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. In terms of quality of its story, art, and music, 101 Dalmatians deserves to be ranked among Disney's finest animated films. The special features offer an exceptional "bonus."

My only concern, frankly, is that once again, many adults who are charmed by the Dalmatian puppies will decide -- or feel great pressure from children -- to purchase one. They would be well-advised to learn all about the breed first. Perhaps the next time around, Disney could add a special feature that provides such information. Just a thought....

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More 101 Dalmatians reviews
review by . August 03, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
I'd forgotten how wonderfully enjoyable this Disney classic was! 101 DALMATIANS was remarkably the highest-grossing movie of 1961; and although Walt Disney himself was said to have been disappointed by the look and quality of the animation in the film, the design of the production holds up just as beautifully as it did 40 years ago.     Based on the book of the same name by Dodie Smith, the story follows dalmatians Pongo (voiced by Rod Taylor), Perdita (Cate Bauer) and their …
review by . March 01, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Based upon a story by Dodie Smith, 101 DALMATIANS is the story about a Dalmatian couple, Pongo and Perdita, and their litter of fifteen puppies. The wicked Cruella De Vil has a keen interest in the Dalmatian puppies because she wants to make a Dalmation-skinned coat, but only her henchmen, Horace and Jasper, are aware of her plans. Something doesn't seem right and the dogs' owners refuse to part with the animals. So, Horace and Jasper steal the puppies and bring them to the old De Vil mansion in …
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Robert Morris ()
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Professionally, I am an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and breakthrough high-impact organizational performance. I also review mostly business books … more
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About this movie


Back in 1961, Walt Disney got a little hip with101 Dalmatians, making use of that flat Saturday morning cartoon style that had become so popular. The result is a kitschy change in animation and story. Pongo and Perdita are two lonely dalmatians who meet cute in a London park and arrange for their pet humans to marry so they can live together and raise a family. They become proud parents of 15 pups, who are stolen by the dastardly Cruella De Vil, who wants to make a fur coat out of them. Cruella has become the most popular villain in all of Disney; she's flamboyantly nasty and lots of fun. But it's the dalmatians who shine in this endearing classic, particularly those precocious pups. Telling the story from the dogs' point of view is a clever conceit, a fundamental flaw of the live-action remake. --Bill Desowitz

On the DVD
This two-disc platinum edition features great sound and incredibly bright, intense colors thanks to the restoration process, but its most impressive selling point is the huge assortment of bonus features designed to delight children, families, and the most serious Disney fans. Kids will have fun caring for their very own puppy in the virtual Dalmatian game for television or on DVD ROM and can find out just what kind of puppy they're most like and which human Disney character they're most compatible with in the puppy profiler game. The fun with language game is geared toward the very young preschooler and teaches numbers and the names of ...

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Genre: Family
Release Date: 1961
DVD Release Date: March 4, 2008
Runtime: 79 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Studio Home Entertainment
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