Movie Review: 101 Dalmatians (1961)

This spot filled movie released on January 25th 1961 is based on the novelThe Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith. Narrated by Pongo (Rod Taylor) we follow him and his owner Roger (Ben Wright) as they meet Perdita (Cate Bauer) and her owner Anita (Helene Stanley) at the park. Instantly falling in love, the movie quickly cuts to the wedding of Anita and Roger and Pongo and Perdita. Then cuts again to 6 months later when Perdita is expecting puppies. Anita’s old classmate Cruella de Vil (Betty Lou Gerso ) finds out and bursts in demanding to see the puppies but they aren’t due for a few more weeks.

The night the puppies are being born, Nana (Martha Wentworth) and Anita are helping Perdita while Pongo and Roger pace outside. Cruella De Ville comes back offering to buy all the puppies but Roger says “No.”

             A few months later Nana is putting the puppies to bed while Pongo and Perdita are on  a late night walk with Roger and Anita, when Horace (Fredrick Worlock) and Jasper (J. Pat O’Mailey) break in stealing the puppies for Cruella. They take them out to the countryside where they hide them in an abandoned house.

           Back in London, Pongo and Perdita come home to find Nana in despair. Roger and Anita call the police but Pongo needed to act to save his puppies. On their next walk they use the Twilight Bark to pass on the information about the missing puppies. The Twilight Bark reaches the countryside where Captain (Thurl Ravenscroft), Colonel (J. Pat O’Malley) and Sergeant Tibbs the cat (David Frankham) receive word. Colonel and Sergeant Tibbs go investigate the abandoned house because they thought they had heard noise coming from there.

           Sergeant Tibbs goes in to Rescue the puppies while Colonel barks back their location to Pongo and Perdita, who upon hearing the news run to the puppies. Attacking Horace and Jasper, Pongo and Perdita provide the perfect distraction for Sergeant Tibbs to get the puppies out of the house. Narrowly escaping, Pongo and Perdita meet up with Tibbs and the puppies, taking the puppies through the woods to avoid the and hide from Horace, Jasper and Cruella De Ville. With help from other dogs, Pongo, Perdita  and the puppies make it home where Roger, Anita and Nana celebrate counting 101 Dalmations.

So rematched this for what seems to be the millionth time. I love this movie and would love to be surrounded by 101 puppies. I mean who wouldn’t. It would be an awesome attraction at Disney World but alas impossible. Anyway, I assigned this movie for my film class I’m teaching. The assignment was to watch the movie and study how many drawings it could possibly take. Lets assume 45 pictures per a second with 90 minutes, thats 4050 pictures that are hand drawn. Yup thats a lot and only one of the reasons that it takes some films so long to complete. We also broke down the different jobs of those that worked on the film and their assignment was to create they own flip book. It gives kids a bigger appreciation on how much work goes into these pieces of art. Anyway signing off with my favorite scene.

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