Run time: 79 mins
It’s very hard to avoid hyperbole when discussing Walt Disney’s finest work: the man was, after all, a genius. So let’s not bother. 101 Dalmatians is witty, soppy, scary, beautifully paced, and brilliantly animated.
Set in a pretend England (mountains in Suffolk?), this is the tale of Pongo the Dalmatian and his bachelor master Roger who get it together with Perdita and her mistress Anita. Their charmed life near Regent’s Park goes all squiffy when Anita’s wild-eyed chum Cruella De Vil – one of the most iconic villains in Disney’s history – takes a fancy to the idea of a black-and-white spotted coat, and we’re not talking about the man-made variety. This leads to a heinous pupnapping and subsequent daring canine rescue.
Co-directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, who would go on to make The Jungle Book, this has all the essential elements in place: anthropomorphism, an evil witch (albeit a contemporary one), superbly detailed supporting characters and the family unit triumphing over adversity. This is Disney operating at their very best. Don’t miss