We love the fact that Disney continues to bring more of their classic titles to DVD and Blu-ray, and on February 10, 2015, you’ll have the chance to add another to your personal collection as 101 Dalmatians releases as a Diamond Edition Blu-ray and DVD.
101 Dalmatians has a very unique backstory, and was a sort of turning point of sorts for Walt Disney Animation. While it’s hard to imagine in the present time, Disney had been dealt a serious blow at the box office when they released Sleeping Beauty. To put it lightly, Beauty was a box office failure. It was such a financial drain on the company that Walt Disney was contemplating shutting down the animation division. Instead, Walt decided to stay the course, and Disney moved forward with another project that was based on a beloved 1956 children’s novel from Dodie Smith of the same name, 101 Dalmatians. It was a box office champion but that was only part of the turnaround for the studio. The other magic that helped Disney was the invention of some inexpensive animation techniques by Ub Iwerks specifically for 101 Dalmatians. Ub introduced xerography to the process by modifying a Xerox camera. This allowed animators drawings to be transferred directly to cels. This saved Disney enormous amounts of time and money in production costs. It was the success of the movie, coupled with the talents of Ub Iwerks, that really helped turn the ship around for Disney.
101 Dalmatians originally released to theaters on January 25, 1961, was distributed by Buena Vista Distribution, and in the Disney Animated Canon, it’s number Seventeen. The film was nothing short of a smashing success and was re-released to theaters four separate times: 1969, 1979, 1985 and 1991. It has maintained a remarkable following over the years. In fact, the 1991 release of 101 Dalmatians was in the top 20 for domestic earnings that year – an amazing accomplishment for the 30 year old film.
Told through the unique perspective of two Dalmatians, 101 Dalmatians begins with one of the dogs named Pongo (voiced by Rod Taylor) and his human, Rodger Ratcliff. Pongo is determined to find a mate for the both of them and locates what he believes is the perfect match: Perdita and her human Anita. Pongo is quite the matchmaker and we move quickly to the marriage of Rodger and Anita and the birth of Pongo and Perdita’s puppies.
This is the point of the story where we’re introduced to one of Disney’s most beloved villains: Cruella De Vil (voiced by Betty Lou Garson and seen in the photo above). Cruella was created by Disney Legend Marc Davis, and she is definitely memorable. Once you’ve seen her, you’ll always remember the details: from the cigarette holder in her hand, to her almost skeletal looking frame draped in a gaudy fur coat, to her unmistakable voice, Cruella is definitely memorable. I’m not sure where exactly you’d rank her on the Disney Villain List (there are so many great options), but she would definitely draw her share of votes for the top spot. Cruella makes an attempt to purchase the pups, and when the offer is refused, she vows to get the puppies one way or another. When the pups come up missing (I’m sure you already know who has them), it’s up to Perdita and Pongo to rescue them.
101 Dalmatians was successful on many levels; the aforementioned re-releases to the theater, an animated television series and a live-action remake, not to mention a belated direct-to-video animated sequel. Disney’s 101 Dalmatians is undoubtedly one the great Disney classics, and releasing just in time for Valentine’s Day. It’s a great watch for the entire family and would a perfect gift.
Rod Taylor (Inglorious Bastards, The Birds) as Pongo
J. Pat O’Malley (The Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland) as Jasper
Betty Lou Gerson (The Fly, Cats Don’t Dance) as Cruella de Vil
Hamilton S. Luske
Story by Bill Peet. Based on the book “101 Dalmatians” by Dodie Smith
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Product SKUs: Digital HD & SD, Blu-ray Combo Pack, Disney Movies Anywhere & On-Demand
New Bonus Features:
All New Short – The Further Adventures of Thunderbolt
Walt Disney Presents “The Best Doggoned Dog in the World” (1961 Version)
Dalmatians 101: Hosted by Cameron Boyce (Disney Channel’s “The Descendants”)
Plus a Selection of Classic Bonus Features
Ratings: G in US & Canada (bonus materials are not rated)
Feature Run Time: Approximately 79 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1:33:1
Audio: Blu-ray: 7.1 DTS-HDMA / 1.0 Dolby Digital (English); 5.1 DTS-HDHR (French) & 5.1 Dolby Digital (Spanish)
Languages: English, French and Spanish
Subtitles: English (ESL/SDH), French and Spanish
Disclosure: We received a complimentary copy of this movie. All opinions are our own.