101 Dalmatians (1961/1996-2000)


D: Wolfgang Reitherman
Disney (Walt Disney)
US 1961
79 mins
W: Bill Peet [based on the novel by Dodie Smith]
Mus: George Bruns
voices of: Rod Taylor (Pongo), Cate Bauer (Perdita), Betty Lou Gerson (Cruella De Vil), Ben Wright (Roger Radcliffe), Lisa Davis (Anita Radcliffe)

Walt Disney's first animated feature of the 1960's is arguably the last true classic of the studio head's lifetime.  

Based on the novel by Dodie Smith, it gets its usual bit of Disney tweaking, with the usual songs added to tell the story of a pair of dogs who have to save their puppies from a cruel villainess who plans to use their skins for fashionable clothing.

Though the story is quite dark, in Disney's hands it's transformed into something perfectly apt for all the family. The songs aren't quite as memorable as other Disney works, but the animation is just fine, particularly on the dalmatians themselves and the brilliantly-realised London backgrounds.

101 Dalmatians
101 Dalmatians

So many dogs, so little time
So many dogs, so little time


D: Stephen Herek

Disney / Great Oaks (John Hughes & Ricardo Mestres)

US 🇺🇸 1996

103 mins


W: John Hughes [based on the novel “The Hundred & One Dalmatians” by Dodie Smith]

DP: Adrian Biddle

Ed: Trudy Ship

Mus: Michael Kamen

Glenn Close (Cruella de Vil), Jeff Daniels (Roger Dearly), Joely Richardson (Anita Campbell-Green-Dearly), Joan Plowright (Nanny), Hugh Laurie (Jasper), Mark Williams (Horace)

At least a decade before Disney resorted to remaking ALL their animated classics as live action films, screenwriter John Hughes adapted Dodie Smith’s novel for a family audience.

Glenn Close receives top billing and seems to have lots of fun in her performances as the villainous Cruella de Vil, who plans to make a coat from the hides of the Dalmatian puppies belonging to Roger & Anita Dearly.

The performances are all in good fun, but every human actor is upstaged by the dogs. A fine family movie, but I wouldn’t choose this version over the 1961 animated classic.


101 Dalmatians
101 Dalmatians


D: Kevin Lima

Disney / Cruella Productions (Edward S. Feldman)

US 🇺🇸 2000

100 mins


W: Kristen Buckley, Brian Regan, Bob Tzudiker & Noni White [based on characters created by Dodie Smith]

DP: Adrian Biddle

Ed: Gregory Perler

Mus: David Newman

Glenn Close (Cruella de Vil), Ioan Gruffudd (Kevin Shepherd), Alice Eve (Chloe Simon), Gerard Depardieu (Jean-Pierre LePelt), Tim McInnerny (Alonzo)

A sequel nobody was barking for to a live action remake that a pale imitation of the original animated film.

Glenn Close is the only cast member from the 1996 film to reprise their role, though the sequel is pretty much more of the same. Close plays the villain, Cruella de Vil, who is released from prison following rehabilitation, but it doesn’t take long for her desire for fur coats to return.

The 1996 film wasn’t great, but it had enough about it to keep young minds engaged, whereas this sequel would probably struggle to do even that.

Though it receive an Oscar nomination (for costume design), it has to be said that this one is a complete howler.


Glenn Close in 102 Dalmatians
Glenn Close in 102 Dalmatians