Five questions we still have for “101 Dalmatians”
In 1961, an animated movie called 101 Dalmatians premiered that would redefine the Disney villain through Cruella de Vil: a baddie so unique she had her own song, which would become THE Disney song of the early 1960s. Today, no one can mention this movie, or its 1996 live-action adaptation starring the flawless Glenn Close as Cruella, without the lyrics starting in my head: “Cruella de Vil, Cruella de Vil. If she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will.”
But 101 Dalmatians is more than just Cruella. A story of love at first unintentional-pond-romp, a story that somehow made us fall even more in love with dogs than Lady and the Tramp did six years earlier. 101 Dalmatians is the first of a new Disney era that fell somewhere between the classics and the renaissance period, and gave a new (slightly darker) feeling to Disney animation.
But of course, we still have some bones (see what I did there?) to pick.
1. Is there a beauty salon and/or clothing shop that caters specifically to people who want to look like their dogs?
My favorite scene in the whole movie is right at the beginning, I won’t even lie – and it has almost nothing to do with the actual plot. It’s when Pongo is scoping out potential mates for himself and his owner, Roger, and all these women (and one little girl) start walking by. Coincidentally, each and every one of them looks exactly like her dog.
I need some information on this London salon/boutique that offers BFF beauty services to women and their dogs. What is the deal? Do you just take your dog in and be like, “I’ll have the dog-and-owner spa treatment, please.” And is there a cat version? Asking for a friend.
2. What does Anita do for a living?
The first time we see Anita, she is walking Perdita to the park. Roger and Pongo – the latter of whom is over the whole bachelor-life thing – follow her, on Pongo’s heavy insistence. And to no one’s surprise, both Perdita and Anita promptly side-eye the boys’ shenanigans.
However, we all know she and Roger do fall in love and get married. But on Roger’s salary as a failed songwriter (until he hits it big with his song about Cruella, of course), I doubt they could afford the house they live in, and a maid, which makes me think Anita has a decent job. So what is it? Is she a doctor? A lawyer? AN ASTRONAUT? She’s only ever really treated as Roger’s wife, so it would be nice to know. My money is on Head Librarian at the London Library.
3. How were Cruella and Anita friends in school?
The first time Cruella de Vil shows up, it’s in a huge car as big as the Radcliffes’ entire street. A plagued-with-writers’-block Roger promptly starts singing a mean song about her, so you know someone evil is about to walk through the door even before you see her silhouette.
But Anita is all, “Roger, pish-posh!” because she and Cruella used to go to school together, or something. Cruella, however, has no problem with saying what she thinks. She calls Anita a witch and makes fun of her house (and husband), and Anita’s still nice to her? There’s being polite, and then there’s this. If Anita side-eyes Roger for walking past her in the park, she can threaten to call the cops on crazy people – even if she used to go to school with them.
4. How is Perdita only mildly tired after birthing 15 children?
Perdita has 15 puppies. 15! I’m not really a dog person, but from my understanding, the average dog births, like, a third of that. So for Perdita to push out 15 puppies and still look only a tad exhausted is the Disney mystery of the ages, in my opinion. She’s the Kate Middleton of dogs.
If it were me I’d be like, “Listen, man. Get me that bag of treats that they always put up just too high for us to reach, and also maybe that raw steak I know I saw them stick in the fridge last night after they went to the butcher’s. And maybe put on some reruns of Lassie and drag me in front of the TV, on the cushiest cushion possible, while rubbing my feet. THANKS.”
5. How did NONE of those puppies freeze to death?
On the journey back to the Radcliffes’ house, Pongo, Perdita, and the 99 puppies they rescue from Cruella de Vil (including their own children) go through a few levels of hell that include lots of ducking into buildings, camouflage, and trudging through snow. And regarding the snow and the trudging, literally none of the dogs gets frostbite, as far as I can tell from the final happy-ending scene.
Now I’m not a veterinarian, but I think prolonged exposure to what may have very well been sub-zero temperatures, especially if you’re a tiny animal, is probably not a good idea. Not that I’m not happy all 99 of them survived, but it’s a little unbelievable is all I’m saying.