style 1

18 06 2009

as I mentioned in one of the last posts, WALT DISNEY did not hide the fact that he hated the look of 101 DALMATIANS. well, I think he should have known from day one in visual development how the film might look like. as head of the studio he would have had the power to change the style of the film very early. but I am sure he knew that this look was the only way to combine the new animation-XEROX-technology, that made it possible to show 101 black-spotted characters, with a more modern non-fairytale environment, and – for a very low budget! a MARY BLAIR-style fifties-london would not have worked. even a LADY AND THE TRAMP-like more realistic BG-style would have been too soft and probably even more expensive. I admire the solution these artist, especially KEN ANDERSEN, came up with.

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when I met KEN ANDERSEN in 1991 he talked about the first test screening of a part of the film. walt disney was with his back towards him and said to someone ‘I hate this stuff, KEN did!’ for ken andersen that was like a shock. he worked for another year to finish the film and during that time walt disney never talked to him anymore. ken remembered, walt always wanted to have nearly 3-dimensional animated characters, like in live action films, so the audience would forget they watched animation. that’s why he hated clear contours, especially the ‘inches-thick’ xeroxed outlines blown up on the big screen. ken said, walt disney was not willing to finance more films for over $ 8 million after SLEEPING BEAUTY. that’s why he, ken, had pushed the development of that very complicated and revolutionary technique,that made it possible to produce the DALMATIANS for only $ 3.5 million. he recalled the moment when he saw walt disney returning from the hospital after his lung-surgery. ken saw him shortly on the stretcher, walt did not look very good but he was happy to see ken. so, said ken, finally 2 weeks before his death he did forgive him.

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14 responses

18 06 2009
Matt

Wow – it’s not really all that shocking when creative differences turn into personal conflicts, but this seems extreme. Insight into the workings behind the curtain like this are really great – thanks so much for sharing.

Amazing stills, by the way. I’d frame every one of them.

18 06 2009
jung etienne

These drawings are so elegant and refined;also very precise in the description of the furniture.perhaps Walt Disney would prefer the classic style of the “lion king” with a lot of volume effects on the characters.

18 06 2009
colinstimpson

As a boy 101 Dalmations was my favourite. The story was totally absorbing with no musical “intermissions”. I remember returning home after seeing it at the cinema and describing EVERY scene in order to my mother, who patiently stood listening for what must have been over an hour!

from hans –
it was my first disney film I ever saw in a theatre. and that at the age of 13!
I remember I was so completely enthralled by the story and the images that I started to write everything down, the whole story incl. description of the environment, the gags, the colors. it took me about 2 weeks and the result was a collection of about 50 pages. I still have them. I told ken anderson the story and he was visibly moved.

18 06 2009
Florian Satzinger

Many thanks for yet another great inside. Cheers, Sir!

from hans –
florian, haette es auch so verstanden…
no ‘sir’ please -

18 06 2009
Florian Satzinger

Es ist schwierg nicht in “Adelsrufe” zu verfallen, angesichts solcher Einträge. Danke in jedem Fall, ich bin ein begeisteter Besucher.

18 06 2009
Florian Satzinger

insight :)

18 06 2009
louis

I didn’t know these drawings, they are amazing, and the show the architectural taste of Ken AndersOn from his former studies. Without colors, they seems more sophisticated than the actual backgrounds, but it ‘s maybe just an impression.
Ken AndersOn did an amazing design job on that film, which is, from that point of view one of the best Disney movie. Unfortunately, it’s wasn’t Walt’s taste…
I profit of the occasion to let you knowe all the good I think from your blog, who always propose interesting things to look at. Thank you very much for taking the time to share all this !

18 06 2009
Luke Farookhi

It’s a tremendous pity that Walt disliked the style. I think ‘One Hundred and One Dalmatians’ is the most stylistically coherent of all the Disney features.

19 06 2009
Allen Capoferri

Wonderful drawings.

19 06 2009
Christian

Sounds like Walt would have really loved 3D animation. I thought 101 Dalmatians was beautiful and would love to see some more like it.

21 06 2009
Joel Brinkerhoff

It sounds as though Walt was very conditioned to representational art but was broad enough in his thinking to allow Mary Blair, Ward Kimball and Ken Anderson to bring a modern aesthetic into the studio.

Great blog, by the way…

21 06 2009
Steve Brown

101 Dalmatians truly made a virtue out of necessity. Walt Peregoy’s background painting technique looked fantastic under the xeroxed cells. And Ken Anderson did probably the best job ever of translating Ronald Searle’s style, both of characters and environments, into the animation medium. It is still hard to conceive how Walt Disney was unable to appreciate what a masterpiece this film was.

14 11 2010
Valentino Radman

These drawings are as elegant, beautiful and masterfully done as possible. They took my breath away.

14 11 2010
Valentino Radman

If there’s a book on Ken Anderson’s drawings I’d rush to buy it.

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