101 Dalmatians (1996 film)
|Directed by||Stephen Herek|
|Screenplay 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. The film is a live-action adaptation of Walt Disney’s 1961 animated film of almost the same name, itself an 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. It 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 Close and 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 a female Dalmatian named Perdita (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 female 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.
Anita soon discovers that Perdy is pregnant and is then informed that she (Anita) is too, much to her shock. Sometime 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. Cruella 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 Great Britain, while Roger and Anita notify the Metropolitan Police. An Airedale Terrier named Kipper 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, causing her to fall into a vat of molasses and get thrown through a window into a pigpen. Shortly afterwards, the fleeing dalmatians (including Lucky) are found and sent home via the Suffolk Constabulary, while the cops were looking for Cruella at the farm, where they finally arrest her. In the police van, she berates Jasper, Horace, and Skinner for their incompetence before they are all sprayed by a skunk which she had mistaken for her purse. 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
- 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 Perdy (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 on 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.
Sigourney Weaver was offered the role of Cruella de Vil, while Cathy Moriarty did a screen test for the role but was later deemed too frightening for a children's film. John Hughes, who wrote the film's screenplay, approached Glenn Close for the role, 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 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 on 1996 by Tiger Electronics.
- Disney's Animated Storybook adaptation uses elements of this film along with the original animated movie in 1997.
- 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 pounds, 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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