Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Disn-A-Thon: One Hundred and One Dalmations (1961)

Pongo and Perdita have a litter of 15 puppies. Cruella De Vil takes a fancy to the pups, and wants to get hold of them, as well as more pups, to make herself a lovely dalmatian skin coat... Cruella hires some thugs to kidnap the pups and hold them at her mansion. Will Pongo and Perdita find them in time? [imdb]
A huge break in animation style from all of the prior animated films, One Hundred and One Dalmations is another of my favourites.  It's a more modern (comparatively) movie than all before it, and it was the first to use the new Xerox technology instead of hand-inked cells.  This meant that the animators' drawings were copied directly onto the cell, as opposed to hours of tedious work by other people inking over the lines.  A lot less work unfortunately meant fewer workers, but the animators quite appreciated their work actually appearing on screen for the first time.

The movie is cute and placed in a more modern city, with the main human being a jazz-influenced song-writer, an occupation common to the late 50's.  One thing I immediately noticed was that the framing was in full screen and not widescreen like the last two(2) movies.  It struck me as a bit odd that Disney would revert backwards a bit as far as technology goes, but oh well.

All of the special features were good.  There's a documentary on the making of the film, another bit focusing on Cruella De Vil, and a few other little things thrown in here and there.  There's a big long slew of alternate takes of the few songs on the movie as well... Which warranted skipping through, considering the same songs over and over again start to annoy a person.

Worth noting, there really aren't many songs sung during this movie... Just mostly jazz music and normal score.

One special feature I really enjoyed were the trivia tracks.  There are two pop-up trivia tracks that play along with the movie, one "for the family" (information about dogs and dalmations and so on), and another "for the fans" (lots of information about the behind-the-scenes aspects of the movie).  These pop up not in normal subtitles, but in big dalmation spots planted around the screen.

Well, the facts and features are mostly very informative and entertaining, and the movie is one that will always be considered a classic... A start of another new era for the Disney animation studio.

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