Monday, September 15, 2014

Cruella de Vil Drawing from "101 Dalmatians," 1961

Original production drawing of Cruella De Vil from "101 Dalmatians," 1961

In the case of some Disney characters, drawings are more rare than the cels; Shere Khan from "The Jungle Book," Prince John from "Robin Hood," and Cruella de Vil from "101 Dalmatians."  Cruella along with Maleficent are two of the most favorite of all the Disney villains, and they were both animated by Marc Davis.  The character was created by Dodie Smith for his novel "101 Dalmatians" in 1956, but it was Davis's visual interpretation that the world remembers.  Although some of Cruella's traits were based in the novel, Davis along with Bill Peat, morphed the character by making her razor thin and exaggerating her oversized coat onto her thin frame.  The long cigarette holder was modeled on one Davis used himself.  Inspiration was also drawn from Hollywood legends Tallulah Bankhead, Bette Davis, and Rosalind Russell.  Movement, according to Davis, was consistent "like someone you wouldn't like," and another inspiration was based on "one woman I knew who was just a monster.  She was tall and thin and talked constantly - you never knew what she was saying, but you couldn't get a word in edgewise."

The voice of Cruella was provided by Betty Lou Gerson.  She had worked for Disney prior as the narrator for Cinderella, but her voice talent as Cruella De Vil is her tour de force!  The highly pitched phrase "Anita Darling!" is completely iconic and has become part of Disney pop culture.

The drawing pictured is from Cruella's first scene in the film and occurs as she is leaving Roger and Anita's home with this question to Anita, "Now let me know when the puppies arrive?  You will won't you dear?"

Above is the actual frame from the film which this drawing was used to create

Framed original production drawing of Cruella De Vil from "101 Dalmatians," 1961

To view the scene which this drawing was used to create, click on the short video below: