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Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, Wolfgang Reitherman
Rod Taylor, Betty Lou Gerson, Cate Bauer, Lisa Daniels, Ben Wright, Frederick Worlock, Lisa Davis, Martha Wentworth, J. Pat O'Malley, Tudor Owen
Writing Credits:
Dodie Smith (novel, "The One Hundred and One Dalmatians"), Bill Peet

First time out of the Disney vault in nearly a decade! Walt Disney's original classic 101 Dalmatians has charmed audiences for generations with its irresistible tail-wagging stars, memorable story and wonderful blend of humor and adventure. Now, with spectacular new bonus features including a "Virtual Dalmatians" game, "101 Pop-Up Trivia Facts" and an all-new digital restoration, this beloved animated masterpiece shines like never before in a special 2-disc Platinum Edition. Cruella De Vil, Disney's most outrageous villain, sets the fur-raising adventure in motion when she dognaps all of the Dalmatian puppies in London - including 15 from Pongo and Perdita's family. Through the power of the "Twilight Bark," Pongo leads a heroic cast of animal characters on a dramatic quest to rescue them all in a story the whole family will enjoy again and again.

Box Office:
$4 million.

Rated G

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Monaural
French DTS-HD HR 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 79 min.
Price: $36.99
Release Date: 2/10/2015

• “Redefining the Line: The Making of 101 Dalmatians” Documentary
• “Cruella De Vil: Drawn to Be Bad” Featurette
• “Sincerely Yours, Walt Disney”
• Trailers, TV Spots and Promotional Radio Spots
• DisneyView Presentation
• Music Video
• Abandoned Songs, Demo Recordings and Alternate Takes
• “The Further Adventures of Thunderbolt” Animated Short
• “Lucky Dogs” Featurette
• “Dalmatians 101” Featurette
• “Walt Disney Presents The Best Doggoned Dog in the World” (1961 Version)
• Sneak Peeks
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


101 Dalmatians [Blu-Ray] (1961)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 1, 2015)

Here are some fascinating facts about Colin: He like dogs. He likes Disney animation. He likes movies.

Here is a logical conclusion one may reach: Colin should like 101 Dalmatians.

Here is the fact: Colin does.

(Here is another obvious one: Colin is really desperate for introductory paragraphs to his reviews.)

The film was something of a departure for Disney in that it utilized a cartoonier, less realistic style of animation. No, the strokes weren't as broad as those we'd see in wilder shorts such as those from Warner Bros., but Disney's typically more naturalistic approach didn’t come into view.

101 also took a more broad action stance than most Disney efforts and seemed a bit light on the usual magic and sentiment. By no stretch of the imagination would I state that the film lacks heart - the interactions of the dogs can be touching - but it's clear that the emphasis is on broad humor and thrills, not on warmth and tenderness.

In that regard, the film works well, but it does feel like something's lacking. I enjoy 101 quite a lot, but I don’t think it could ever enter the ranks of my absolute favorites because the emotional component takes such a backseat to the more visceral thrills. It's a very enjoyable picture, but it doesn't get under my skin like more rounded efforts such as Lady and the Tramp or Pinocchio do.

One contrast between the two dog films comes in the "villain" category. Whereas Lady lacked a concrete antagonist, 101 features one of the most famous Disney baddies of them all: over-the-top uber-skank Cruella DeVil.

While I recognize that she is a fiendish creation, I must admit that she's never appealed to me as much as she seems to impress others. Perhaps it's the sketchiness of the film as a whole, but I never took Cruella all that seriously. Her cartoonishness makes her nowhere near as scary as someone like Stromboli in Pinocchio or Scar in The Lion King. She's entertaining and wild, but I just don't think she's all that terrific as a villain.

Still, despite the impression I may be leaving, I really do like 101 Dalmatians. It's a fun film that provides a rambunctious thrill ride experience. I think Disney neglected some broader emotions in their attempt to make it so exciting, but it's still a successful effort. (One thing's for sure: the original beats the miserable live action 1996 version without raising a sweat.)

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

101 Dalmatians appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The quality of the image seemed solid.

Sharpness was consistently positive. A few shots looked a smidgen soft, but those tended to reflect the original animation. The majority of the film appeared concise and accurate.

No problems with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I saw no edge enhancement. In addition, source flaws were delightfully absent. This was a clean image.

Colors were quite good. The hues came across as lively and full throughout the movie, with good range and delineation. Blacks looked dark and dense, and shadows showed good clarity. I found little reason to complain about this strong presentation.

The film's DTS-HD MA 7.1 audio was acceptable for such an old movie. Remixed from the original monaural - which also appeared on the Blu-ray – this turned into a passable surround mix, with unspectacular but decent results.

Some stereo effects appeared from time to time. We might hear a bark emit from a side speaker, and some panning occurred on rare occasions. Effects usually remained pretty centered, though.

Music spread to the sides but not with concise stereo imaging; the score sounded more like broad mono. The surround channel basically just gently reinforced the music, though a few unique elements popped up there. For instance, when Cruella first drove into view, a honk came from the right rear.

The quality of the sound seemed fine for its era. Dialogue appeared clear and relatively natural, though the lines could be a bit flat, and effects also seemed fairly realistic. The film's music showed adequate range and also sounded clean and listenable. The audio won't dazzle you, but it's pretty good for a film from this period.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the Platinum Edition DVD from 2008? Audio showed a little more pep due to the lossless presentation, but given the age of the material, the material didn’t show big improvements in that realm.

Visuals delivered more obvious growth. The DVD looked very good, but the Blu-ray appeared smoother and tighter. This turned into a good step up in quality.

The set mixes old and new extras, and we get a music video for a rendition of “Cruella De Vil” by Selena Gomez. She offers an odd pop/hard rock take on the flick’s signature tune. It’s very 80s and it doesn’t work. The video alternates lip-synch “fashion show” shots of Gomez with some movie clips. It’s not particularly interesting.

Next we go to a documentary. Redefining the Line: The Making of 101 Dalmatians runs 33 minutes, 55 seconds as it mixes movie clips, archival materials, and interviews. We hear from current Disney filmmakers Andreas Deja, Ron Clements, Eric Goldberg, Brad Bird, Don Hahn, Pete Docter, Will Finn, Harley Jessup and James Baxter, Disney historians Brian Sibley, Russell Schroeder, Jerry Beck and Paula Sigman, story artists Burny Mattinson and Floyd Norman, voice actor Lisa Davis, director’s son Bruce Reitherman, animation producer/historian Hans Perk, animator’s wife Alice Davis, Ub Iwerks’ son Don Iwerks, animators Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl and Marc Davis (in 1984-1985), production designer/art director Ken Anderson (in 1983), and color stylist Walt Peregoy.

“Line” looks at the source novel and its adaptation for the screen, notes about the filmmakers, the flick’s “contemporary” feel and its use of music, animation techniques and innovations created for the film, other artistic choices, and the movie’s reception.

We get a pretty nice take on Dalmatians via the satisfying “Line”. Like all programs about Disney animation, it comes with a lot of praise. Nonetheless, it conveys many good details about the production, so we learn quite a bit. It’s an enjoyable and informative piece.

One unusual “bonus”: something called the DisneyView Presentation. Also found on a few other Disney Blu-rays, it provides complementary artwork to fill the black bars on the sides of 16X9 TVs.

This sounds tacky, but it actually works pretty well. The art meshes nicely and doesn’t distract from the film. It also helps avoid potential “burn in” problems on your set; the art remains dark, but it’s not black and it changes. It’s a clever way to frame the movie.

A featurette entitled Cruella De Vil: Drawn to Be Bad lasts seven minutes and 10 seconds. It includes notes from Deja, Peregoy, Norman, Beck, Finn, Docter, Bird, Mattinson, Jessup, Signman, Hahn, Sibley, Marc Davis, Alice Davis, and Clements. “Bad” gives us a glimpse of the design and execution of De Vil. In this short piece, we find many fine insights and get a great feel for all the appropriate decisions.

Some archival material shows up in Sincerely Yours, Walt Disney. This 12-minute and 48-second piece shows correspondence between Disney and author Dodie Smith. Voice actors recreate the words of Disney and Smith as we hear the words of their letters from December 1957 through April 1961. A narrator offers some additional comments to place elements in historical perspective. Nothing earth shattering comes from the cordial correspondence between Disney and Smith, but it’s fun to see their long-distance interactions and how they handled some minor quibbles.

Next we find advertising for the film. This area presents five trailers and seven TV spots that span from the movie’s original 1961 release through reissues in 1969, 1979 and 1985. We also get Promotional Radio Spots from 1961. All of these add up to a nice collection of ads.

With that we head to Music & More and various versions of songs. We find “March of the One Hundred and One” (Deleted Song Sequence – 2:29), “Cheerio, Good-Bye, Toodle-oo, Hip Hip!” (Abandoned Song – 2:32), “Don’t Buy a Parrot from a Sailor” (Abandoned Song – 2:39), “Dalmatian Plantation” (Extended Version and Temp Version – 4:48), “Cruella De Vil” (Demo Recordings and Alternate Takes – 51:28), and “Kanine Krunchies Jingle” (Alternate Takes – 5:35).

Most of the sections come with text to explain them, though a couple feature intros from Schroeder. This section provides a real treasure trove of archival audio. I suspect fans will most enjoy the deleted songs, but I got the biggest kick from the alternate jingles; it’s amusing to hear all the different vocal affections attempted for it.

The rest of the materials are new to the Blu-ray. The Further Adventures of Thunderbolt gives us a new animated short. Based on the character shown as a TV star, the one-minute, 46-second piece gives us a quick cartoon. It’s decent but nothing memorable.

Lucky Dogs runs nine minutes, eight seconds and includes notes from animators Burny Mattinson, Floyd Norman and Rolly Crump, ink and painter Carmen Sanderson, film producer Don Iweks, and actor Lisa Davis. We learn a little about working at Disney as well as technical innovations used for 101 Dalmatians. The featurette is too short to be meaningful, but it comes with some good notes.

With the five-minute, 20-second Dalmatians 101, we hear from Disney actor Cameron Boyce. He gives us the “top five reasons” Dalmatians is the best Disney dog movie of all-time. The presentation and host can be obnoxious, but we get a smattering of behind the scenes facts.

For an archival piece, we go to 1961’s The Best Doggoned Dog in the World. It lasts 51 minutes, five seconds as Walt Disney tells us about a variety of dog breeds. We also get promotional materials related to 101 Dalmatians. This becomes an enjoyable extra.

The disc opens with ads for Aladdin and Cinderella (2015). Sneak Peeks adds promos for Dog with a Blog, Disney Parks, Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Lost Missions, Big Hero 6 and Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast.

A second disc brings us a DVD copy of Dalmatians. It includes the music video, “Dalmatians 101” and “Drawn to Be Bad” but it lacks the other extras.

The Blu-ray loses a few materials from the DVD. It drops two text commentaries, art galleries, and a few games. I don’t miss those games, but it’s too bad the Blu-ray drops the other components.

101 Dalmatians remains a winner. The movie itself isn't quite as good as the best Disney offerings, but it's fun and flip and it's sure to entertain a wide audience. The Blu-ray boasts excellent visuals as well as mostly good picture and bonus materials. I enjoy the movie and the Blu-ray translates it well.

To rate this film visit the DVD review of 101 DALMATIANS

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main