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In Cruella, we get a back story for one of the most delicious Disney villains, Cruella de Vil. The creators didn’t feel too hampered by the original timeline, however. Cruella is set during the early 1970s, even though the original One Hundred and One Dalmations had a contemporary setting of 1961, the year that it was released.
I spotted a couple of advantages to setting this story in the early 1970s:
- The music is fun — this movie used songs from that time period, performed by the original artists
- The fashions are outlandish, which suits the 70s more than the early 60s
That brings us quickly to Emma Stone who plays the adult Estella. She makes a living as a thief, with her friends Jasper and Horace, but dreams of being a fashion designer. Her role model in the fashion world is The Baroness, played by Emma Thompson. Both Emmas were amazing in this movie and worth watching, just to see them interact across generations.
After watching Cruella on a DVD from Netflix, I wanted to see the original One Hundred and One Dalmations. I suspect that this was the fourth time I’d seen it. I wasn’t born yet when it was released in 1961. According to the Disney Fandom Wiki, One Hundred and One Dalmations was re-released to theaters in 1969 and 1979 and I think that I saw it both times, at age 7 and age 17. I may have watched it once when the niblings were small on VHS or DVD. This week, I watched it streaming from the Disney Plus site.
I enjoyed the original book, The 101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith, several years ago.
The fun, for Anglophiles, of all of these versions is the English setting, particularly London. I now wish that we’d made it up to Regent’s Park when we were in London. That park is featured in both Cruella and One Hundred and One Dalmations. I learned from the official Regent’s Park website that the park is currently home to a breeding population of hedgehogs, as well as more than 100 species of wild birds. I would love to visit in the summer when Queen Mary’s Garden would showcase its 12,000 roses.
What interactions have you had with the 101 Dalmations, recently or in the past?