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Disney / 101 Dalmatians

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"Cruella De Vil, Cruella De Vil
If she doesn't scare you, no evil thing will
To see her is to take a sudden...
Cruella... Cruella...
She's like a spider waiting for the...
Look out for Cruella De Vil"
"Cruella De Vil" by Bill Lee

Entry #17 in the Disney Animated Canon, The Hundred and One Dalmatians was adapted for animation by Walt Disney Pictures as One Hundred and One Dalmatians.note  The second Disney animated film to be set unambiguously in contemporary times, this 1961 production was also the first to use xerography to ease the inking process and make a film with this much technical complexity (the 101 dogs and their collective innumerable spots) possible. Unfortunately, financial setbacks at the studio, especially in the wake of Walt Disney's death in 1966, made the process the norm and the technique, now dubbed Disney's "scratchy outline" period, plagued the studio's features for 16 years until technological improvements allowed for softer xeroxing on The Rescuers.


Although the original children's novel is far less remembered than the Walt Disney movie based on it, (and it had a sequel, too), this is one of the most faithful adaptations Disney has ever done.

It was followed by several sequels and spin-offs in different media beginning in The '90s. These works are listed on a separate franchise page.

The Disney version got a direct-to-video animated sequel in 2003 in 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure, in which Pongo and Perdy's son Patch is accidentally left behind when the family moves to the country, and feeling unappreciated, goes to find his idol Thunderbolt to be on his show.


The Disney Adaptation (1961) provides examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • Roger and Anita laugh following the Meet Cute scene when Anita tries to wipe herself dry with a handkerchief, only to find it's sodden, and Roger's handkerchief is as well.
    • Pongo enjoys Roger's song and impression of "Cruella de Ville" after she barges in and asks about Perdita's unborn puppies. Anita tries to put on an invoked Dude, Not Funny! front since she's trying to be civil to Cruella but eventually she breaks down giggling offscreen when Roger waltzes with her to the melody.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: The original book illustrations show Cruella as being fairly attractive looking in spite of her cold-blooded personality. The movie, in contrast, makes her very ugly to fit her more eccentric personality in the adaptation.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Both the original author and Disney himself praised the story's streamlining.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Mr. and Mrs. Dearly were changed to Roger and Anita Radcliffe for the animated movie. Later adaptations give them the given names from the movie and the surname from the book. Also, Saul Badun becomes Horace, Roly Poly becomes simply Rolly, and Lt. Tib becomes Sgt. Tibbs (with that particular cat also getting a sex change in the process).
  • Adapted Out: A few non-important characters from the novel were removed like Cruella's husband and cat, Cadpig (although she appeared in the animated series), and Perdita's old boyfriend Prince (who was mainly important in the book as dalmatian number 101 and part of an implied Beta Couple.)
  • Adult Fear:
    • Perdita's reaction to hearing that Cruella wants her puppies. She tearfully tells Pongo that she was so happy before, but now wishes they weren't having any.
    • Lucky is stillborn; only Roger's persistence at CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable saves him.
    • How Horace and Jasper break into the flat; after putting on a Bavarian Fire Drill that fails, they simply charge their way in, having Jasper distract Nanny by locking her up in a room while Horace collects the puppies. After they leave and Nanny finds the puppies gone, she runs into the streets calling for help and crying.
    • The kidnapping of the puppies is very much presented as if it was Roger's and Anita's children who were taken as well as Pongo and Perdita's.
    • The idea of having your children (or pets) kidnapped is bad enough, but imagine them being kidnapped by an insane Serial Killer who wants to wear their skin.
    • Pongo and Perdita trudging through the snow completely lost while the children are slowly freezing to death and all they can do is keep going. If the collie hadn't arrived when he did, they'd have lost at least a few puppies.
  • Angrish: When Cruella comes to claim the puppies, Roger starts stuttering in anger.
  • Argument of Contradictions: When Patch and Lucky push each other in the fireplace, they argue "Did not!" (Lucky) and "Did too!" (Patch) about who did it first.
  • Artistic Licence - Geography: An American road sign appears in the British countryside during the climactic car chase.
  • Artistic Licence – Law: As funny as it is, using an actual person's name in as the basis of a very insulting song would give Cruella the right to sue Roger for defamation.
  • Badass Baritone: The labrador at Dinsford has a very deep, powerful voice. He gets his badass credentials by singlehandedly distracting the Baduns to give the truck time to drive off with the dalmatians.
  • Badass Bystander: The van driver who has to deal with Cruella ramming him several times in the climax, hoping to first send him in the snow and then off a cliff. He merely yells at her, mutters, "Crazy woman driver," and focuses on keeping the van on the road.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Double Subverted. Horace and Jasper pretend to be electric company repairman making a surprise inspection, but Nanny won't let them in while Roger and Anita are out of the flat. Jasper then barges in, distracts Nanny by locking her in a room, and leaves once Horace has nabbed all the puppies.
  • Berserk Button: Cruella seems like a somewhat pleasant woman at first, if a bit snide and condescending, but she really didn't like being told the Radcliffes weren't interested in selling the puppies.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Roger may be a goofball with No Social Skills, but you don't barge into his flat right after he's saved a stillborn puppy, make several catty remarks about calling the newborns "little white rats," and then have the gall to "buy them all" expecting to get an acceptance.
    • Pongo and Perdita are as charming and adorable as animated dogs can be. As long as you don't mess with their children.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Pongo and Perdita crashing into Hell Hall just in time to stop Horace and Jasper from killing their puppies.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Cruella yells this at Horace and Jasper a lot. It comes back later as she's having a tantrum over having lost the puppies and ending up in a ditch, much to the irritation of Jasper.
  • Bowdlerize: Promotional stills of the Diamond Edition Blu-Ray release edited out Cruella's Cigar and smoke in her shots, although it was left in the film proper with a PSA against smoking added to the trailers on the disc.
  • Braving The Blizzard: The Dalmatians have to go through a blizzard on their journey home. It's very tough, and one of the pups has to be carried by Pongo, due to being too exhausted and cold to walk.
  • Butt Biter: Pongo gives Jasper a painful chomp to the rear at one point.
  • The Cameo: Jock and Peg (along with the bulldog from the pound who seems to have had puppies with her) from Lady and the Tramp make cameos during the citywide dog barking scene.
    • Tramp and Lady themselves show up in the very same scene, Tramp on top of a car and Lady in the street.
  • Canines Primary, Felines Secondary: Sergeant Tibbs the heroic cat ranks lower than Colonel the dog. Interestingly, they both rank lower than the horse, Captain. Also, Sergeant Tibbs is a lone cat in a movie with a cast made up mostly of dogs.
  • Cat Scare: Happens twice. The first time, Tibbs is right next to a bottle of rum; Jasper tries to take a swig from the bottle and mistakenly tries to drink the cat. The second time is when Tibbs is helping the puppies to hide. Tibbs can't take on Horace and Jasper on his own, but when Jasper looks under the bed, the ensuing MEEEOOWWWW and wild leap from Tibbs startles Jasper enough for the puppies to run past him.
  • Ceiling Banger: Nanny did this to get Roger to take a break from writing songs.
  • Chase Scene: While the whole plot is a chase, the third act where Pongo and Perdita are in one truck and Cruella is trying to run them down is the straightest example.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • The dogs that Pongo sees strolling on the street before Perdita and Anita appear later reappear to relay the message that the puppies have been stolen.
    • The truck that nearly hits Pongo and Perdita on their journey to Hell Hall is the same truck that will later take them and their puppies back to London.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: One of the most famous fur coats ever. Ironic considering it never actually gets made.
  • Combat Pragmatist: As fierce as they were against Horace and Jasper, Pongo and Perdita actually dispose of them by barely touching them at all, instead using their lair's surroundings against them or fooling them into hurting themselves in their own buffoonery (most likely to keep their cathartic "mauling" of them G-Rated).
  • Composite Character:
    • Perdita is the name of Pongo's wife in this adaptation (in the book his wife was named Missis and Perdita was a separate character).
    • Nanny Cook and Nanny Butler are merged into one "Nanny."
    • Cadpig, the small and delicate puppy, is merged with Lucky, the brave leader.
  • Conversational Troping: The bit where they watch Thunderbolt's show ("Ol' Thunder always wins!").
  • Cool Car: Cruella's car. A lot of people have put effort into trying to figure out what model it is. It's just too bad that Cruella's obsession with making a fur coat out of the dalmatians led her to trash the car...
    • It looks like it's part Duesenberg, but what would one of those be doing in London?
    • It's not impossible; Duesenberg did have some European sales.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: One of the 15 (the eventual "Lucky") was apparently stillborn, leading Roger to get an idea, rubbing the pup to stimulate it to breathe.
  • Creepy Jazz Music: Roger sings a jazzy "The Villain Sucks" Song about Cruella de Vil, which describes how wicked and heartless she is.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Horace and Jasper are on the receiving end of this when Pongo and Perdita charge in just as they were about to attack the puppies.
  • Deus ex Machina: The Dalmatians had nothing to do with their final escape from the villains. It was only by pure luck that the Baduns yanked out the steering wheel, lost control of their truck, and T-boned Cruella's car.
  • Disney Death: One of the initial litter of puppies (Lucky, although in the original book it was Cadpig) appears to be dead, but is resuscitated by Roger rubbing him. Yes, a Disney Death moment for a character that's only just been born.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Not one of the dogs, but at the end as Cruella is having her sobbing Villainous Breakdown which involves verbally assaulting Horace and Jasper some more, Jasper finally has enough and says "Awww, SHADDAP!".
  • Dogs Are Dumb: Subverted with most of them, but played straight with the Colonel. In the book, the Colonel is much less bumbling and more of an actual military commander, teaching the dogs how to fight and promoting them whenever they do something awesome.
  • Dog Walks You: Happens with Pongo and Roger in the early parts of the movie, as part of the Meet Cute.
  • Doomed New Clothes: Anita has a new spring suit on as she walks Perdita. Cue the Meet Cute, and she's sopping wet in a pond. What we go through for love, huh?
  • Door Slam of Rage: Done twice by Cruella, both times hard enough to result in property damage:
    • When the Radcliffes refuse to sell the puppies to her she storms out slamming the door hard enough to shatter the window panes on it.
    • Later, in when commanding Horace and Jasper to kill the dalmatians so she can make her coat, she slams the door behind her with enough force to cause a large crack in the ceiling, making a piece of it fall onto Horace's head.
  • Door Slams You:
    • When Cruella shows up looking to buy the puppies, she slams poor Nanny.
    • Also happens later in the film. At one point Cruella is in her car in the street and yells for Jasper and Horace, who are inside a wooden building with a locked barn-style door that leads out to the street. They try to break down the door, and they knock it down right into her face, as it turns out she was parked right outside, leaning out the window.
  • Dope Slap: Jasper's usual response to Horace's Dumbass Has a Point moments.
  • Dramatic Thunder: A loud one rolls right before the 15th puppy gets resurrected.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Horace is clearly not the sharpest tool in the shed, but by assuming that dogs think the way people do (which in this movie, they do), he is constantly suggesting what the dogs are actually up to when trying to evade them. He's almost always right, but Jasper will have none of it.
  • Eureka Moment: When Pongo sees two of his little ones covered in soot, he gets the idea for the disguise as black Labradors.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Just about every dog can tell Cruella is pure evil. Pongo was already growling angrily at her on the first meeting when she tried to beckon to him.
  • Evil Laugh: Roger has one when he sings about Cruella.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Sadly, Cruella's obsession with the dalmatian fur coat she will never have ultimately lands her in this trope.
  • Filthy Fun: When the dogs are rolling in the soot to disguise themselves as black Labradors, they greatly enjoy it.
  • Foreshadowing: One of the lines in the Cruella de Vil song (although this was cut from the actual movie, but does appear in music video versions of the song) is all innocent children had better beware. Roger had no idea how accurate that statement was about Cruella later turned out to be (well, if you're a dalmatian child anyhow).
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Let's do the math. The movie opens in spring. After Anita and Roger get married they lived for 6 months in a house, then the puppies come in October. This places the wedding in April, so they must have married right after their Meet Cute.
  • Gender Flip: The character of Sergeant Tibbs (Tibb, in the novel) is changed in this adaptation from female to male. And on a more minor level, so is the puppy whose life Mr. Dearly/Roger saves at birth, given that this puppy is hinted to be Lucky — not Cadpig, as in the book.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Desperate to get the word out about the kidnapped puppies, Pongo resorts to the Twilight Bark, the local gossip chain. It works.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Roger's Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe vs Cruella's cigarette with holder.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Jasper's pink underwear gets exposed during the fight at the old house.
  • Happily Married: Pongo and Perdita and their "pets" Roger and Anita.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Anita honestly trusts Cruella, mainly due to them being old schoolmates, while no one else feels very fondly of her at all.
    Anita: Roger, I admit she's eccentric but she's not a thief.
    Roger: Well, she's still #1 suspect in my book!
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Sergeant Tibbs and The Captain to The Colonel.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Cruella telling Horace and Jasper, "Watch your driving, you imbeciles! You wanna get nabbed by the police?!"
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Hell Hall.
  • Jump Scare: Roger and Pongo get one from Nanny of all people when she announces that THE PUPPIES ARE HERE!!!
    • Then there's the bandit Thunderbolt is fighting on the television, scaring the daylights out of Lucky who stood too close for his own good.
  • Just in Time: The moment when the Baduns have cornered Sgt. Tibbs and the puppies and are about to kill them, Pongo and Perdita smash through a window and attack the would-be murderers.
  • Laughably Evil: As ruthless as Cruella and her goons are in stealing (and attempted murder of) the puppies, their overblown whimsy and bumbling make up a lot of the movie's humor. It helps that Roger starts singing "The Villain Sucks" Song and then starts playing it in the attic as background noise when Cruella first appears onscreen.
  • Light Is Not Good: Cruella De Vil dresses in a light colored fur coat, but she is the villain.
  • Limited Animation: Not the whole movie, but the Kanine Krunchies commercial is animated in the limited style of animated commercials of the sixties.
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: Horace and Jasper get kicked by Sergeant the horse.
  • Love at First Sight: Pongo instantly takes to Perdita, calling her "the most beautiful creature on four legs."
  • Mama Bear / Papa Wolf: As if traveling through the English countryside in the middle of winter to save their puppies wasn't enough, Pongo and Perdita are scary when they face off against Horace and Jasper, snarling with bared teeth and their eyes flashing red. Considering they just interrupted the Baduns as they were about to bludgeon their children to death, who can blame them?
  • Meet Cute: Invoked by Pongo who was probably going for more of a conventional Boy Meets Girl scenario, but his intervention leads to Roger and Anita's (and consequently his and Perdita's) first meeting starting out as this.
  • Men Can't Keep House: Commented on by Pongo at the beginning of the film, Roger's flat is a horror.
  • Named by the Adaptation: In the book, only four of the puppies are given names: Lucky, Patch, Roly Poly and Cadpig. In the movie, while dropping Cadpig (her characterization passed on to Lucky) and simplifying Roly Poly's name to just "Rolly," gives us the additional puppy names Freckles, Penny and Pepper.
  • Near-Villain Victory: If Horace hadn't accidentally pulled off the steering wheel to the Baduns truck causing them to crash into Cruella, there's no way the dogs would have escaped her — her car was literally hanging onto the van. That's how very, very badly Cruella wants that fur coat.
  • Newspaper-Thin Disguise: Jasper and Horace make their entrance this way, sitting in their truck and hiding behind their newspapers until Anita and Roger have walked by.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Sergeant Tibbs has the horse Captain kick Horace and Jasper into a wall... and from there, the two see the dogs' footprints in the snow. Oops.
  • Nightmare Face:
    • Cruella makes a particularly frightening one during the last minute(s) of the Car Chase before Jasper and Horace crash into her.
    • Pongo and Perdita are scary too when they get their Game Face on.
  • No Time to Explain: When Pongo and Perdita meet the Colonel, they inquire about their puppies but he hurries them along using this line.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Sergeant Tibbs gets this look after one of the Baduns grabs him by the neck, mistaking him for a bottle of wine.
    • A more dramatic one in the climax from Pongo and Perdita, when Cruella manages to ram her car into the back of the van they're trying to escape in.
    • Pongo and Perdy's understandably horrified response to finding out that their puppies are being held at "the De Vil place".
    • Cruella gets one during the climactic chase when she looks up and realizes that she's headed straight into a ravine.
  • Paper Destruction of Anger: After Roger declines to sell her the puppies, Cruella De Vil takes the check she was writing, tears it to pieces, and tosses them at Roger's face.
  • Parental Bonus: At the end, when Pongo and Perdita return to the flat with their own puppies plus 84 extra, Anita asks "But where did they all come from?". Roger responds by patting Pongo on the head and saying "Pongo, you old rascal!".
  • Pie in the Face: Horace gets his face slammed into a cake when the piano wing collapses above him at the mansion.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Inverted with the dogs' collars: Pongo and the male puppies wear red collars, while Perdita and the female puppies wear blue ones. At the time the movie was made, blue was considered feminine and reds masculine. Later adaptations didn't care as much. Nor did the tie-in merchandise artists.
  • Pulling the Rug Out: Perdita takes out Horace by yanking the rug out from under him, causing him to fall into the fireplace.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Cruella's unforgettable and vicious reaction to Roger flatly rejecting her offer to buy the puppies.
    "Why you horrid man! You! You! All right! Keep the little beasts for all I care! Do as you like with them! (tears up check, throws remains into the air) Drown them! But I warn you Anita, we're through! I'm through with all of you! I'll get even! Just wait! You'll be sorry, you fools! You idiots!"
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: After driving her car out of the ditch in mad determination and trashing it pretty good, Cruella's eyes briefly turn red as she barrels after the truck.
  • Rotoscoping: Sort of. Cruella's car was a white model with outlines drawn on the edges shot in stop-motion in front of a white background with a high exposure; the result was then photocopied onto the cells.
  • Sarcasm Mode: When Horace suggests to Jasper that the puppies have disguised themselves using soot, Jasper says jokingly, "Say now! Horace, that's just what they did. Dogs is always paintin' themselves black! (hits Horace in the head) YOU IDIOT!"
  • Scenery Porn: In a retro and colorful way that perfectly complements the characters' angular designs.
  • Screen Shake: Happens after Horace and Jasper's Staircase Tumble comes to an end in the old house.
  • Share Phrase: One really gets the sense that the dialogue editors loved the word "idiot." note  To help get the point across: Early in the movie there's a gag where a character on the phone with Cruella says "You idiot!" to someone else in the room, but Cruella hears it and thinks the insult was meant for her. In the very next scene, they repeat the exact same gag with different characters (but still Cruella on the other line).
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Silly Symphonies short Springtime briefly appears on the TV the pups are watching.
    • During the scene where Pongo sends a message to all the dogs in London, various dogs from Lady and the Tramp make a cameo.
    • "What's My Crime?", a favorite TV show of the Baduns, is pretty clearly in homage to What's My Line?.
  • Show Within a Show:
    • "The Thunderbolt Adventure Hour".
    • "What's My Crime?"
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: When Cruella barges into the Radcliffe's flat just minutes after the puppies are born, she takes one look at Lucky (who Roger had just saved from being stillborn) and makes several nasty, catty remarks about the puppies, which angers Nanny enough to get in Cruella's face and tell her off.
    Cruella: "15? 15 puppies?! How marvelous! How marvelous! How perfectly — ugh! Oh, the devil take it, they're mongrels. No spots! No spots at all! What a horrid little white rat!"
    Nanny: "They're not mongrels! They'll get their spots! Just wait and see!"
  • Source Music: All throughout Cruella's first scene, Roger plays "The Villain Sucks" Song as loud and obnoxiously as he possibly can, utilizing a piano, a trumpet, and a trombone by turn.
  • Stylistic Suck: The Kanine Krunchies commercial that the pups are watching is animated in the Limited Animation style typical for animated TV commercials of the time.
  • Terrible Trio: Cruella De Vil and her henchmen Jasper and Horace are textbook cases.
  • This Cannot Be!: Cruella delivers this line when discovering that the labrador puppies are actually dalmatians.
  • Uncatty Resemblance: From his window, Pongo observes the resemblance between the dogs and their owners on the street below.
  • The Dark Age of Animation: Somewhat overlaps with The Golden Age of Animation, but this is clearly where the Dark Ages found solid rooting in Disney animation. Still one of the most entertaining Disney features from any era.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Cruella during the climactic Chase Scene. This is especially acute after she accidentally drives her car into a ditch and, in driving it out, accidentally trashes it on some thorny brush. By now, she is plenty pissed off, and it's become clear that it's the dalmatians or her — and she doesn't care who gets in her way.
    • In the book, her hair changes color with the shock of her defeat. The black half turns white... and the white half turns green!
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: You know the one. It probably got published either because Cruella's universally acknowledged as a horrible person, or the publishers thought it was a made-up name.
  • Watch the Paint Job: Cruella epicly trashes and then wrecks her own presumably-valuable classic car in her rage-induced pursuit of the puppies. It even returns in the sequel, having apparently been very cheaply slapped back together. (Guess she's not as rich as she comes across.)
  • Wingding Eyes: To go along with Cruella's Nightmare Face during the chase, especially as she tries to ram her car in the back of the van the Dalmatians are trying to escape in.
  • Women Drivers: Cruella Drives Like Crazy, and a truck driver even cites this trope at one point. Justified by Cruella being completely Ax-Crazy.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Captain, Colonel, and Tibbs do this for the Pongos at the old farmhouse, and later the Labrador at Dinsford does it as well — attacking Jasper and Horace so the Dalmatians can escape.


Example of: