|Directed by||Stephen Herek|
|Written by||John Hughes|
|Based on||The Hundred and One Dalmatians|
by Dodie Smith
|Edited by||Trudy Ship|
|Music by||Michael Kamen|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures Distribution|
|Box office||$320.7 million|
101 Dalmatians is a 1996 American adventure comedy film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Great Oaks Entertainment, with distribution by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution. It is a live action remake of Walt Disney’s 1961 animated feature film of the same name, itself an adaptation of Dodie Smith's 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians. Directed by Stephen Herek, written by John Hughes and produced by Hughes and Ricardo Mestres, it stars Glenn Close, Jeff Daniels, Joely Richardson, and Joan Plowright. Unlike the 1961 animated film, none of the animals speak.
101 Dalmatians was released on November 27, 1996, and grossed $320 million in theaters against a $67 million budget, making it the sixth-highest-grossing film of 1996. Close was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, while the film was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Makeup and Hair. A sequel, 102 Dalmatians, was released on November 22, 2000, with Glenn Close and Tim McInnerny reprising their roles while a reboot, Cruella, directed by Craig Gillespie was released on May 28, 2021.
American video game designer Roger Dearly lives with his pet Dalmatian Pongo in London. One day, Pongo sets his eyes on Perdita, another Dalmatian. After a chase that ends in St James's Park, Roger discovers that Pongo likes Perdita. Her owner, Anita Campbell-Green falls in love with Roger when they meet. When they return to Roger's home, Anita accepts his proposal. They get married along with Perdita and Pongo. Anita works as a fashion designer at the House of de Vil. Her boss, Cruella de Vil, has a deep passion for fur, going so far as to have a taxidermist, Mr. Skinner, skin a white tiger named Sue-Ling at the London Zoo to make her 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.
Perdita gets pregnant, and so does Anita. Cruella visits their home and gets excited when she finds out Perdita is expecting too. 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 the couple is walking in the park with Pongo and Perdita. Along with 84 other Dalmatians that were previously stolen, they deliver them to her country estate, De Vil Mansion. Cruella 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 Great Britain, while Roger and Anita notify the police. Anita realizes Cruella was behind the kidnappings and confirms her suspicion when she shows Roger and Nanny her portfolio. An Airedale Terrier follows Jasper and Horace to the mansion, and finds all of the puppies, who he helps escape under the duo's noses. They make their way to a nearby farm, where they are later joined by Pongo and Perdita. Cruella arrives at the mansion and discovers what has happened. Angry with the thieves' failure, she decides to carry out the job herself. After several mishaps, Jasper and Horace discover nearby police looking for Cruella and hand themselves in, joining Skinner who was attacked in defence while trying to kill a puppy who have been left behind.
Cruella tracks the puppies to the farm and tries to kill them. The farm animals carry out a plan to take down Cruella while the puppies escape. They steal her hat, drop a pig on her, cause her to fall into a vat of molasses and get flung into a pigpen, defeating her. The police arrive and arrest Cruella, who is taken into custody along with Jasper, Horace and Skinner. With her arrest, the downfall of her business and reputation is inevitable.
All of the dalmatians are found and sent home via the Suffolk Constabulary. Pongo, Perdita and their puppies are reunited with Roger, Anita and Nanny. After being informed that the remaining 84 puppies have no home to go to, as they have not yet been claimed by any owners, they decide to adopt them. Roger designs a successful video game featuring dalmatian puppies as the protagonists and Cruella as the villain, with this success they move out of London to the countryside with their millions. Roger and Anita have a baby girl, while the dogs grow 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
- Hugh Laurie as Jasper
- Mark Williams as Horace
- John Shrapnel as Mr. Skinner
- Tim McInnerny as Alonzo
- Hugh Fraser as Frederick
- Zohren Weiss as Herbert
- Brian Capron as Television News Reporter
- Frank Welker as Pongo and Perdita (creature sounds)
The animatronic creatures used in the film are provided by Jim Henson's Creature Shop. Producer Edward S. Feldman guaranteed the adoption of every puppy used in the film. Over 300 Dalmatian puppies were used over the course of filming, because "we could only use them when they were 5 or 6 weeks old and at their cutest." Filming took place at Shepperton Studios in London.
John Hughes, who wrote the film's screenplay, approached Glenn Close for the role of Cruella de Vil, but she initially turned it down. The film's costume designer Anthony Powell, who was working with Close on the Broadway show Sunset Boulevard, then convinced her to take it.
101 Dalmatians was released in the United States 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 North America and $320.7 million worldwide.
- An Handheld LCD Game based on the film was released in 1996 by Tiger Electronics.
- The 1997 Disney's Animated Storybook (CD-ROM for PC) adaptation uses elements of this film, along with the original animated movie.
- A video game based on the film entitled 101 Dalmatians: Escape from DeVil Manor was released in May 1997.
On Rotten Tomatoes, 101 Dalmatians has an approval rating of 41% and an average rating of 5.32/10, based on 37 reviews. The site's critic consensus reads: "Neat performance from Glenn Close aside, 101 Dalmatians is a bland, pointless remake." On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 49 out of 100, based on 20 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
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 shelters, where many dogs ended up being euthanized.
Sequel and reboot
Disney planned a live-action Cruella de Vil reboot film on the title character's origins titled Cruella. Glenn Close acted as an executive producer. Emma Stone played the title role. The film was released on May 28, 2021.
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