Thursday, June 3, 2021

The twilight bark

This reviewer at CrimeReads has no intention of seeing the new Disney film Cruella, but celebrates the 1961 animated feature One Hundred and One Dalmatians. She is totally uninterested in a backstory about how Cruella de Vil came to hate puppies, but she really liked the original movie. I think I'll watch it tonight.
One Hundred and One Dalmatians (which IS a crime film) is a timeless joy, and an aesthetic marvel. If you have seen it (or even if you haven’t) you probably know the gist, but here’s a deeper dive. The film is set in London in 1958, and tells the story of an affable dog named Pongo (voiced by Rod Taylor) who wants to start a family, and so concocts a plan to set up his human, a musician named Roger Radcliffe, with a young woman named Anita, who (more relevant to Pongo’s interests) just happens to own a beautiful female dalmatian named Perdita. The pairs fall in love and settle down together in a neat row home near Regents Park (with a housekeeper known as “Nanny”), and it’s not long before Perdita gives birth to puppies: fifteen.

But when the puppies are born in the wintertime, Anita is visited by an old acquaintance, Cruella de Vil (incomparably voiced by Betty Lou Gerson), who attempts to buy the puppies to have their skins made into fur coats. “My only true love, darling,” she tells Anita re: furs. “I live for furs, I worship furs.” But the Radcliffes and the Pongos refuse to hand over the babies, and so Cruella hatches a plan to steal them: getting the material for her coats as well as revenge.

When the Radcliffes and the Pongos realize that their puppies have been dognapped, the humans turn to Scotland Yard. But Pongo and Perdita instead turn to the dogs of London, spreading the word and asking for assistance through a continental barking chain called “The Twilight Bark.” .... (more)
Stopping for a Moment to Appreciate the Original 1961 film One Hundred and One Dalmatians

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