Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


ONE HUNDRED AND ONE DALMATIANS [aka 101 Dalmatians/1961. Directors: Several. Walt Disney Studios.

This wonderful Walt Disney animated movie is timeless. The dalmatian Pongo (voice of Rod Taylor) arranges for his "pet," the songwriter Roger (Ben Wright) and for himself to find mates: Anita (Lisa Davis) and lady dalmatian Perdito (Cate Bauer). Unfortunately Anita's old school mate Cruella De Vil (Betty Lou Gerson), a witchy, hideous apparition with no love for animals, wants to buy Pongo and Perdito's 15 puppies, and when Roger and Anita refuse, decides to kidnap them -- along with dozens of others. Her goal: several dalmatian fur coats. Tom Conway [brother of George Sanders] does the voices of the collie and of the quizmaster who appears on the funny "What"s My Crime?" TV show parody watched by the puppies. You don't have to be a child to enjoy this movie, which is charming and well-done on all levels. There are even quite a few harrowing and suspenseful sequences. Cruella De Vil remains a fascinating Disney creation, and the image of her tooling about in her out-sized automobile looking for puppies to kill and skin stays with you.

Verdict: A certified Disney masterpiece. ***1/2.

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