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After all, how was ‘101 Dalmatians’ created by Disney?

Learn more about the creation process of ‘101 Dalmatians’, the penultimate animation produced by Walt Disney in his lifetime

“101 Dalmatians” was the penultimate film released by Disney that was produced by its founder, Walt Disney. The animation was inspired by the book by the English writer Dodie Smithreleased in 1956, and which bears the same name, being responsible for marking the return of the studio from an uncertain future.

As reported by The Walt Disney Family Museum blog, at the end of the 1950s, The Walt Disney Company was financially successful thanks to the opening of Disneyland in 1955. However, the reality was not the same at the animation studio .

This is because, in 1959, “Sleeping Beauty” was released, the last princess film with the participation of Walt Disney, produced with a budget of 6 million dollars. However, despite being extremely acclaimed by critics, the film did not do well at the box office, leaving the studio at a loss after grossing just US$5.3 million.

Scene from the animation ‘Sleeping Beauty’ (1959) / Credit: Reproduction/Disney

For this reason, Marc DavisDisney legend, recalled to the museum’s blog that businesspeople started to consider leaving the animations aside.

“The attitude of businesspeople was: ‘It takes too long […] time to make these features, they cost too much, we don’t think you should do more.’” Davis revealed.

Even with the lack of support, Walt He continued to believe in his passion for drawings, and continued with the project for his penultimate animated film in his lifetime: “101 Dalmatians”.

Challenges

To continue with the animations, the only option to Disney was to make the new film work and, to that end, the renowned filmmaker decided to do something completely different from his productions from the 30s, 40s and 50s. Now, instead of a medieval fairy tale, he would release a contemporary film, set in the 60s.

“A Disney film set in our time was something completely new. And there is a realism that the contemporary story brings, including a complete lack of magic. Nobody has special powers. Cruella is just bad,” recalled Disney legend Andreas Deja. “Furthermore, ‘101 Dalmatians’ brought a new look to Disney animation — one that Walt was not entirely pleased with — that would alter the look of Disney animated films for decades to come.”

The new appearance in question was the adoption of more angular and geometric designs, made mainly by Ken Andersonthe production designer, and Walt Peregoy, color stylist. Another major innovative feature present in “101 Dalmatians” was the use of new Xerox technology, which helped with backgrounds and layout manipulation.

Scene from the animation '101 Dalmatians' (1961)
Scene from the animation ‘101 Dalmatians’ (1961) / Credit: Reproduction/Disney

Although the use of Xerox technology revolutionized the integration between characters and backgrounds, becoming standard for the following decades, its application was greatly questioned by Walt Disneywho did not like the final aesthetic of the film.

“Anyway, everyone was happy except Walt. Walt hated the way I made the movie. He just hated […] He took me off course. “Woolie will do all this from now on,” he grumbled. I was hurt. I stumbled upon another job,” commented designer Ken Anderson.

Even though I’m not happy with the final appearance of the animation, Disney was satisfied with the main point of the production: the story. In the end, “101 Dalmatians” grossed around 14 million dollars at the box office, and became one of the studio’s great classics, remaining relevant even more than six decades after its original release.

Source: Recreio

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