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16 06 2009

this is one of my favorite scenes in disney’s 1961 released 101 DALMATIANS. the whole film is one of my favorites, it has a very good story, the animation is beautiful, and because of the by UB IWERKS developed new XEROX-technology you can even enjoy the original animation drawings. since I first saw the film in 1962 I was fascinated by the look of the film. KEN ANDERSON developed the ‘line-art look’, based on RONALD SEARLE’S caricature style. he told me that SEARLE was a close friend and they had exchanged a lot of sketches. the use of color, developed by WALT PEREGOY, is very interesting as well. the linear drawings, where thick and very thin sketchy lines are mixed, were xeroxed and superimposed on the background layer. the color-blocks in these BG’s were never matching exactly the linear outlines, they were slightly offset. without the lines they look like a CUBIST-style piece of art. for me it is the perfect combination of line and color. and it works very well with the characters, with their xeroxed lines. the color overall in this masterpiece is so well chosen, the characters always read in front of the BG’s with most of the time a lot of line-information. all these ingredients create an atmosphere that caught me when I first saw the film and it still does.

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6 responses

16 06 2009
unlevelednate

I agree, this film is so stylistically cohesive…the xeroxed pencil lines fit perfectly with the graphic stylized backgrounds. As I understand it Walt Disney really disliked the look of this film, which is unfortunate since it’s so inspiring stylistically and stands out amongst Disney’s films.

Thanks for the post, your blog is one of my favorite stops online :)

from hans –
thank you… yes, disney didn’t like the look at all. but look what the studio had done
shortly before! what a break! it’s even hard to believe SLEEPING BEAUTY and 101 DALMATIANS are coming from the same studio, except the disney own unsurpassed quality
of the animation. ken anderson told me that he was ‘heart-broken’ when disney didn’t accept what he had done. he took it so badly, that he had a heart attack and it took him
a long time to recover.

16 06 2009
Michael Sporn

Back in 1972 at the Lincoln Center Disney Festival, Ken Anderson suggested that there was a problem getting the Xerox lines to maintain their size (they enlarged the drawings slightly.) This accounted for the cel with lines overlay that Ken put on the backgrounds. The lines are off by a hair and it creates a very modern look. The medium became the massage, so to speak.

The first third of this film still sends goosebumps up my back when I watch it. It’s certainly a masterpiece of animation.

17 06 2009
Ignacio Carlos Ochoa

Ohh..yes,yes yess..
101 Dalmatians is my favorite Disney’s film too. The animation , the character design , the BG style, all is really beautiful. The staging and composition on each scene, helped by the use of color, is really amazing.
The work of Bill Peet on the storyboard deserves a mention aside.
Hans, i have a question; sorry , but i don´t speak english very well, and maybe a don´t understand well.
The backgroudns are on differents layers (one of color, and other cel whit the xerox copy) or are a single piece?

Thanks.

from hans –
ignacio, yes, the lines are xeroxed on cel used as an overlay over the background, colored fields corresponding to the line drawing. I have seen 2 different black/white linework overlay-cels, one with
some kind of halftone addition to the lines. it made the background look similar to a newspaperprint.

17 06 2009
raphael

i agree about 101 dalmatians – its amongst my very favourites, too.
i also seem to recall that the obvious blockiness in the backgrounds changed with the tone of scenes. i always thought it was more extreme in shots with a high emotional/action load (when they are fleeing horace and jasper – the colors go all non-naturalist and extreme, too) and in shots concerned with prettiness, like introducing the street where pongo and roger live.
in some other shots, it seems to be less obvious…

its a shame that there wasnt much follow-up with more stylized approaches at disney. mulan stands out, somewhat.

liebe gruesse aus der alten heimat, ausserdem :)

17 06 2009
jung etienne

Everything is fully mastered in this movie.It was the first one I ever saw on screen.It was in 1971 and I was 7 years old.When all the production departments;story,design,animation,color,music,are on the top,the result is “101 dalmatians”

18 06 2009
Floyd Norman

As much as I respect and admire Walt Disney, this is one more occasion where we disagree.

I watched as Ken Anderson, Tom Oreb, and Walt Peregoy developed the style for this remarkable film. I loved it then — and I still love it today.

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