'Dalmatians': a potent bit of animation


When it was released in 1961, this movie all but rescued the reputation of Uncle Walt, then at its all-time low with intellectuals and critics after a decade spent deserting the full-length animation feature in favor of (ugh!) television.

It remains a potent bit of feature-length animation, what with the slinky, evil Cruella De Vil trying to put together the Dalmatian coat to end all Dalmatian coats, and the spunky spotted dogs, as well as all the mutts of London, trying to stop her. For some reason, the Disney studio had especially good luck with comically awful old ladies (the witch in "Snow White," for example) and Cruella was their highest creation of the late years.

The dogs themselves were beautifully drawn, though in the newer, more line-conscious and less shape-conscious style of the studio. It's a wonderful movie, and it's even politically correct, with its anti-fur message.

'101 Dalmatians'

Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman.

Released by Buena Vista.

Rated G.

*** 1/2

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