One Hundred and One Dalmatians
Cruella De Vil, Cruella De Vil
If she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will
To see her is to take a sudden chill
Cruella, Cruella De Vil.
Oh, Cruella, my divine Cruella! My heart belongs to you, and always has. Maleficent tried to seduce me away from your cruel embrace, and I admit I was tempted, but I always came back to you. Briar Rose? Cinderella? Snow White? Their charms are as nothing compared to your sleek, magnificent presence! Those cheekbones, that hair, the way you brandish that cigarette holder and fill the air with your toxic green smoke … I still treasure that magic moment at the Disney Resort when we met, and you spoke to me. “Beat it!” you said, and I did beat it… and so did my heart. (I’m sure that you would tear my heart from my chest and eat it with some fava beans and a nice Chianti …)
Okay, this is a respectable entry in the Disney canon. This is where the animators began to use the xerography process, which made things look a little less rich, a little less well-defined. Walt didn’t like it, but it saved a lot of money. For the most part, the artists were able to work with it and, by wise choices, use it to their advantage rather than as a drawback. It meant switching to a more modern style that persisted until the advent of CGI opened new frontiers for everybody.
It’s based on a novel, and as with all based-on-novels Disney films so far, I haven’t read it. (In fact, other than a few stories from The Jungle Book, I never read any of the source material for a Disney film until he made The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh, which didn’t impress me, so it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t read many children’s books when I was growing up, switching early to Heinlein juveniles and adult science fiction.) As usual, Disney took the parts he wanted and changed things here and there to suit him. It doesn’t sound like any of these changes violated the spirit of the book. One dog character was eliminated, and the main male human character—Pongo’s “pet”—was changed from a mathematician/economist to a songwriter. Stuff like that. There are several things for Disneyphiles to notice. In a pet shop window during the Twilight Bark we can see Peg and the bulldog from Lady and the Tramp. All the puppies like to watch television, and one show they watch is a 1929 Disney cartoon, “Springtime.” Another show is “What’s My Crime?” a clever spoof of “What’s My Line?” with John Charles Daly, a show I got to see in New York when I went there for the 1964-65 World’s Fair.
Weird Trivia: Somebody seriously in need of getting a life claims to have counted all the spots on all the Dalmatians, frame by frame. In case anybody ever asks you, the number was 6,469,952. It’s sure to come up in conversation now and then.
PC Smoking Warning: Roger puffs on his pipe a lot, and Cruella is always smoking a cigarette and blowing green smoke.