Voices by Rod Taylor, Betty Lou Gerson. (U)
Kids are more likely to have seen the live-action remake (and its sequel) but this Disney animated version of Dodie Smith’s book remains the best, partly due to the superb depiction of that ultimate villainess, Cruella De Vil. She’s the dastardly woman who steals the lovely dalmatian puppies (the offspring of Pongo and Perdita), hoping to make a fur coat out of them. As seen through the dogs’ eyes (Pongo begins the tale with the story of how he met Perdita in a London park and they contrived to get their owners together), it’s a terrific adventure as the doggy couple discover their fifteen pups have been thrown in with eighty-four others, ready for Cruella’s cruel plan.
While this isn’t as much of a classic as, say, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, there’s plenty of fun to be had. Kids may not be impressed by the animation – it’s flat, and some of the backgrounds are muted, like a TV cartoon – but they’ll enjoy the canine adventures and yell at the screen every time evil Cruella appears (she’s more of a pantomime dame than a truly scary character).
Very small children may be scared by Cruella.