101 Dalmatians (1996 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Stephen Herek|
|Screenplay by||John Hughes|
The Hundred and One Dalmatians|
by Dodie Smith
|Music by||Michael Kamen|
|Edited by||Trudy Ship|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures Distribution|
|Box office||$320.6 million|
101 Dalmatians is a 1996 American live-action comedy adventure film based on Walt Disney's animated 1961 movie adaptation of Dodie Smith's 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians. Directed by Stephen Herek and co-produced by John Hughes and Ricardo Mestres, it stars Glenn Close, Jeff Daniels, Joely Richardson, Joan Plowright, Hugh Laurie, Mark Williams and Tim McInnerny. Unlike the 1961 film, none of the animals have speaking voices in this version.
101 Dalmatians was released on November 27, 1996 and was praised for its faithfulness to the animated classic. It received mixed reviews, but was a commercial success, grossing $320.6 million in theaters against a $75 million budget. Close, who was universally praised for her portrayal as Cruella de Vil, was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, but lost to Madonna in Evita. The film was also nominated for a BAFTA award for best makeup effects. A sequel, 102 Dalmatians, was released on November 22, 2000 with Close and McInnerny reprising their roles.
American video game designer Roger Dearly lives with his pet Dalmatian Pongo in London. One day, Pongo sets his eyes on a beautiful female dalmatian named Perdy. After a frantic chase through the streets of London that ends in St. James's Park, Roger discovers that Pongo likes Perdy. Her owner, Anita Campbell-Green falls in love with Roger when they meet. They both fall into the lake as a result of their dogs chasing each other, but they return to Roger's home and Anita accepts his proposal. They get married along with Perdy and Pongo. Anita works as a fashion designer at the House of de Vil. Her boss, the pampered and very glamorous Cruella de Vil, has a deep passion for fur, going so far as to have a taxidermist, Mr Skinner, skin a white tiger at the London Zoo to make it into a rug for her. Anita, inspired by her Dalmatian, designs a coat made with spotted fur. Cruella is intrigued by the idea of making garments out of actual Dalmatians, and finds it amusing that it would seem as if she was wearing Anita's dog.
Anita soon discovers that Perdy is pregnant and is then informed by Nanny that she (Anita) is, too, much to her shock. Some time later, Cruella visits their home and expresses contempt upon meeting Roger. Her initial disgust at them having a baby turns to excitement when she finds out Perdy is expecting too. Several weeks later, she returns when a litter of 15 puppies are born and offers Roger and Anita £7,500 for them, but they refuse. Enraged, Cruella dismisses Anita and vows revenge against her and Roger. One winter evening, she has her henchmen, Jasper and Horace break into their home and steal the puppies, while Roger and Anita are walking in the park with Pongo and Perdy. Along with 84 other dalmatians that were previously stolen, they deliver them to her ancient country estate, De Vil Mansion. Jasper and Horace also asks Skinner to kill and skin them to create her coat.
With the family devastated at the loss of their puppies, Pongo uses the twilight bark to carry the message via the dogs and other animals of Britain, while Roger and Anita notify the Metropolitan Police. A dog who had witnessed the stolen puppies follows Jasper and Horace to the mansion, and finds all of them inside, before helping them escape under the duo's noses. They make their way to a nearby farm, where they are later joined by Pongo and Perdy. Cruella arrives at the mansion and soon discovers what has happened. Angry with the thieves' failure, she decides to carry out the job herself, while Jasper and Horace attempt to search for them also. After several mishaps, Jasper and Horace discover nearby police on the hunt for Cruella and her henchmen and hand themselves in, joining Skinner who was beaten earlier while trying to kill Lucky (one of the 15 puppies), who had been left behind. Meanwhile, Cruella tracks the puppies to the farm where they are hiding and tries to retrieve them. However, the animals outwit her, cause her to fall into a vat of molasses and get thrown through a window into a pig pen. Shortly afterwards, the fleeing dalmatians (including Lucky) are found and sent home via the Suffolk Constabulary, while those looking for Cruella arrive at the farm to arrest her. In the police van, she belittles Jasper, Horace, and Skinner for their incompetence before they are sprayed by a skunk which she had mistaken for her bag. Pongo, Perdy and their puppies are reunited with Roger and Anita.
After being informed that the remaining 84 puppies have no home to go to, as they have not yet been claimed by their original owners, they decide to adopt them, bringing the total to 101. Roger designs a successful video game featuring dalmatian puppies as the protagonists and Cruella as the villain and they move to the countryside with their millions. Roger and Anita have a baby daughter, and a year later the puppies have grown up with puppies of their own.
- Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil
- Jeff Daniels as Roger Dearly
- Joely Richardson as Anita Campbell-Green-Dearly
- Joan Plowright as Nanny The Housekeeper
- Hugh Laurie as Jasper
- Mark Williams as Horace
- Tim McInnerny as Alonzo
- John Shrapnel as Mr. Skinner
- Hugh Fraser as Frederick
- Zohren Weiss as Herbert
- Frank Welker as Pongo & Perdy (voice)
101 Dalmatians was released on November 27, 1996. The UK premiere of the film was held on December 4, 1996, at the Royal Albert Hall, London, and the exterior of the Hall was lit with dalmatian spots. It grossed $136.2 million in the United States and $320.7 million worldwide.
101 Dalmatians was released on VHS for the first time on April 15, 1997, Laserdisc in early 1997, and on DVD on December 12, 2000. Due to the high sales of the One Hundred and One Dalmatians Platinum Edition DVD, Disney re-released it on September 16, 2008, in the U.S., along with its sequel, 102 Dalmatians and that to the original 1961 animated version, 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure.
A video game based on the film entitled 101 Dalmatians: Escape from DeVil Manor was released in May 1997.
On review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes, it has an approval rating of 37% and an average rating of 5.3 out of 10 from 35 reviews. The site's critic consensus reads: " Neat performance from Glenn Close aside, 101 Dalmatians is a bland, pointless remake.".
Animal rights organizations protested the film's release, saying that Dalmatian sales shot up after the premiere, fueled by impulsive purchases of puppies by parents for their children. Being ill-prepared to care for a relatively difficult breed of dog past puppy-hood, many of these new owners eventually surrendered their animals to pounds, where many dogs ended up being euthanized.
A sequel, 102 Dalmatians, was released on November 22, 2000. The film's early working title was 101 Dalmatians Returns.
Disney is planning a live-action Cruella de Vil prequel titled Cruella directed by Alex Timbers. Marc Platt and Andrew Gunn will produce; Glenn Close is executive producer. Screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna was set to write it, but Kelly Marcel replaced her. Emma Stone will play the eponymous role.
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