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101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 3, 2015 by  



101dalmatians

A timeless Disney classic that looks and sounds magnificent on Blu-ray!  “101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition” is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2015 Disney. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: 101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition

YEAR OF FILM: 1961

DURATION: 79 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:33:1 aspect ratio, English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 DTS-HDHR, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Original Theatrical Mix.

COMPANY: Disney

Rated: G

RELEASE DATE: February 10, 2015


Based on the book by Dodie Smith

Directed by Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, Wolfgang Reitherman

Story by Bill Peet

Produced by Walt Disney

Music by George Bruns

Edited by Roy M. Brewer Jr., Donald Halliday

Production Direction by Ken Anderson

Art Direction by Ken Anderson


Featuring the Voices of:

Rod Taylor as Pongo

J. Pat O’Malley as Colonel/Jasper

Betty Lou Gerson as Cruella De Vil/Miss Birdwell

Martha Wentworth as Nanny/Queenie/Lucy

Ben Wright as Roger

Cate Bauer as Perdita

David Frankham as Sgt. Tibs

Frederick Worlock as Horace/Inspector Craven

Lisa Davis as Anita

Tom Conway as Quizmaster/Collie

Tudor Owen as Towser

George Pelling as Danny


Pick your favorite spot to watch — anytime and anywhere — and get ready for a fun-filled adventure with 101 DALMATIANS for the first time ever on Blu-ray and Digital HD! Pongo, Perdita and their super-adorable puppies are in for thrills, hilarious spills and an epic action-packed adventure when they face off with Cruella De Vil, Disney’s most fabulously outrageous villainess. Unleash all the excitement and suspense of Disney’s 101 DALMATIANS, a beloved classic you’ll want to share with your family again and again!


Back in 1956, Dodie Smith wrote the children’s novel “The Hundred and One Dalmatians”. By 1957, Walt Disney was captivated by the book and immediately secured the rights for an animated film adaptation of the book.

Featuring a story written by Bill Peet, the release of “101 Dalmatians” was considered a risk by Disney because of the failure of “Sleeping Beauty” in the box office, there was discussion of Disney shutting down for good.

But “101 Dalmatians”, the 17th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classic series, became a box office success as the animated film costing $4 million to create, would earn over $215.8 million worldwide.

Nearly 54-years-later, “101 Dalmatians” will receive its first release in HD on Blu-ray via “101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition” to be released in Feb. 2015.

The animated film is set in London, England and songwriter Roger Radcliffe lives with his dalmatian named Pongo.

Pongo is a bit bored with his life, wanting a mate for himself, but also a way to find a mate for his master Roger.  And sure enough, Pongo spots a woman named Anita and her female dalmatian, Perdita.  Pongo tries to bark at Roger to take him for a walk and sure enough, Pongo finds a way to have both Roger and Anita crash into each other and eventually fall into the lake.

From that moment, both Roger and Anita fell in love and get married.  And as Roger and Anita discovered a new life, the same can be said with Pongo and Perdita.  And with Perdita pregnant, she was able to give birth to 15 puppies.

Meanwhile, Anita’s wealthy schoolmate Cruella De Vil arrives and immediately, she wants to buy the entire litter of dalmatians, but Roger tells her that the dogs are not for sale.  Wanting the puppies badly, Cruella hires thieves, Jasper and Horace to steal the puppies in hopes of using their skin as fur coats.

Pongo and Perdita try to get help from the other dogs in London in hopes to find their puppies. But what the 15 puppies find out is that there are 84 more puppies being held by Cruella De Vil and her henchaman.

Can Pongo, Perdita and friends find them before Cruella De Vil turns the dogs skin into fur coats?


VIDEO:

“101 Dalmatians” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:33:1 aspect ratio). Unlike other Disney film, the look of “101 Dalmatians” was different from other Disney animated films in terms of character design and backgrounds.  Partly because of the loss of money suffered by Disney after the failure of “Sleeping Beauty”, the animators had to do something different in order to cut their production costs in half.

The result was experimentation with Xerox photography in conjunction with the animation.  The animation used a modified Xerox camera to transfer drawings by animators directly to animation cels and eliminating the inking process to save money.  So, because of this, the Xerox process did feature black scratchy outline, much different compared to the smooth lines of hand inking.

But that is what makes up the charm of this animated film.  Featuring vibrant colors, the Blu-ray release looks impressive in terms of colors, and despite the films age, there is no discoloration problems.  Nor any banding issues or artifacts. If anything, the animation looks quite clean and the unique look of the film makes “101 Dalmatians” unique for its style, and the film looks magnificent on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for the lossless audio, “101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 DTS-HDHR, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Original Theatrical Mix.

The lossless soundtrack featuring dialogue and its music are crystal clear.  From Cruella De Vil’s squealing tires to Roger’s piano and trumpet playing, the film sounds wonderful with a focus on music utilizing the surround channels and the front channel displaying the dialogue without any sign of hiss or crackle.

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition” comes with the following special features:

  • The Further Adventures of Thunderbolt – (1:46) Featuring a short animation on “The Further Adventures of Thunderbolt”.
  • Lucky Dogs – (9:09) A featurette with the original crew who had the opportunity to work on “101 Dalmatians”.
  • Dalmatians 101: Hosted by Cameron Boyce – (5:20) Cameron Boyce from Disney Channel’s “Jesse” who will play Cruella De Vil’s son on “Descendants”.
  • Walt Disney Presents “The Best Doggoned Dog in the World” (1961 version) – (51:05) A classic episode of Walt Disney presents “The Best Doggoned Dog in the World” showcasing various types of dogs.
  • “Redefining the Line: The Making of One Hundred and One Dalmatians” – (33:55) The complete making of “One Hundred and One Dalmatians”.
  • Cruella De Vil: Drawn to Be Bad – (7:08) A featurette about the “101 Dalmatians” Villainess.
  • “Sincerely Yours, Walt Disney” – (12:47) Featuring the communication between “101 Dalmatians” author Dodie Smith and Walt Disney.
  • Trailer & TV Spots – Featuring the teaser trailer adapted for Cinemascope, theatrical trailer, TV spots, Combined TV spot with Swiss Family Robinson, 1979 trailer and TV spots, 1985 reissue theatrical trailer.
  • Promotional Radio Spots – Featuring promotional radio spots from 1961 (60, 30 and 10 second spots).
  • “Cruella De vil” Music Video by Selena Gomez – (3:23)
  • “March of the One Hundred and One” – (2:29) A Deleted Song Sequence
  • Abandoned Songs – Featuring two songs “Cheerio, Goodbye, Toodle-oo, Hip Hip!” and “Don’t Buy a Parrot From a Sailor”
  • Demo Recordings and Alternate Versions – Featuring “Dalmatian Plantation”, “Cruella De Vil” and “Kanine Krunchies”.

EXTRAS:

“101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition” comes with a slipcover.


Having grown up watching “101 Dalmatians”, two things have always stood out in my mind for this classic Walt Disney animated film.  For one, it had one of the darkest Disney antagonists, as Cruella De Vil’s primary ambition was to get the puppies and get all their skin to make her a new fur coat.

The second would have to be the presentation of the film.  Unlike the beautifully painted Disney animated films, with “101 Dalmatians”, the focus was cutting down on costs, so utilizing a Xerox camera would bring out a scratch style to the handdrawn lines, as well as the ability to see the small sketch lines in the final animation.  There was no inking, it was primarily colorized after the process and the result was this unique-looking animated film.

And last, while there is music and singing in “101 Dalmatians”, unlike previous Walt Disney animated classics, this film doesn’t feature a full-on musical soundtrack like other Disney films.

It’s a straight-up yet simple animated story about a couple in love, two adult dalmatians who would do anything to find their 15 pups and an antagonist who would do all it takes to capture these puppies.   Cruella De Vil is no doubt, one of the more sinister villainess in a Disney film, so I can see how younger children would be scared to look at Cruella De Vil as her character design, really makes quite creepy looking.

But it’s part of what makes “101 Dalmatians” so enjoyable today, as the film never gets old.

And this is where the Blu-ray release of “101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition” shines!  Considering the film was made in 1961, there are no signs that the film has aged tremendously.  The colors are well-reproduced on Blu-ray and the lossless soundtrack is also crystal clear.

The Diamond Edition release features even more special features with the inclusion of various featurettes including “Walt Disney Presents ‘The Best Doggoned Dog in the World'” from 1961, a new animated short of “The Further Adventures of Thunderbolt”, a short featurette hosted by Disney Channel’s Cameron Boyce and more.  Including the original classic special features from the original DVD release.

Overall, “101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition” is an Walt Disney animated film that will forever be a classic but also will be known for its creativity of using a new Xerox photography process to give the film its own memorable look.  And will also be known for having one of the creepiest villainess in a Disney animated film.

A timeless Disney classic that looks and sounds magnificent on Blu-ray!  “101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition” is highly recommended!

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