Review: One Hundred and One Dalmatians

Series: Disney Animated: #17

60 years ago. Dang. And you know? It holds up. The action is solid and story aren’t overly complicated but enjoyable, the animation really works (despite/because of the limitations of the time), and the villains are unambiguous and scary but not overly so. Perhaps best of all, it’s the story of an absolute pile of talking dogs. What’s not to love?

A few more specific thoughts:


I really do love that the main (human) character is a struggling musician who inadvertantly takes from his life to make it big. And in such a way.

I especially love how it evolves throughout the movie, from just the melody (Melody first, my dear, and then the lyrics, hmmm?), to attack-brass from the attack, to exploration, to the final track.


It’s traditional Disney animation and they had to take a few shortcuts to make it work in a reasonable timeframe and cost and at times it shows.

Backgrounds tend to be static, with most of the focus on the moving characters drawn as overlays (the scene of Nanny running through the streets after the dognapping comes to mind in particular). But I think that it works to keep the focus on the characters while still keeping the amount of animation work under control.

One interesting tidbit is that they apparently used the relatively new Xerox technology to copy the dogs a number of times. Perhaps there’s a reason they went with black and white dogs? :) Fascinating.

Random interesting factoid (via IMDb):

The birth of the puppies actually happened to the author Dodie Smith. Her dalmatians had 15 puppies, one was born lifeless and her husband revived it. However, they sold most of them, and kept only a small number.