Sunday, January 17, 2016

Original Production Animation Drawing of Cruella De Vil From "101 Dalmatians," 1961

Original production drawing in red, blue, and graphite pencils of Cruella De Vil from "101 Dalmatians," 1961; Numbered 32B lower right and upper center; Size - Cruella 6 x 4", Sheet 12 1/2 x 15 1/2"; Unframed.

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"We'll find the little mongrels if it takes till next Christmas. Now get going! And watch your driving, you imbeciles! Do you wanna get nabbed by the police?" - Cruella De Vil

"One Hundred and One Dalmatians" ("101 Dalmatians"), is a 1961 full length animated feature film by Walt Disney Productions. It was adapted from Dodie Smith's 1956 novel of the same name. It stars Rod Taylor as the voice of Pongo and Cate Bauer as the voice of Perdita; with Betty Lou Gerson as the voice of the evil and villainous Cruella de Vil. The animation of all the characters from the film was quite extraordinary. Pongo, who had a total of 72 different spots, was animated by the famed Disney artist Ollie Johnston.

In the case of some Disney characters, drawings are more rare than the cels; for example 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."

Close up of the Cruella De Vil original production animation drawing.

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 following three paragraphs about the animation of Cruella's car is from Disney Wiki:
"Back in the '60s, Disney animators were using Xerox camera technology to translate pencil drawings on paper into line work on cels, which replaced the beautiful, traditional hand-painted cels in order to save money on creating animated films. During the production of One Hundred and One Dalmatians, the studio came up with an idea on how to animate Cruella's Car, the animators built an actual white model of her car out of cardboard with bold black lines on the edges."

"To make the wheels articulate, the animators took a long piece of cloth, taped little pieces of wooden dowling underneath it and then put the car on top of the cloth suspended from a kite string, and then they would pull this long piece of fabric with all these pieces of wooden dowling underneath the wheels and they would shoot a take of that. To give it the look that the car had suspension they put in springs so it would have this little bouncy effect. The footage would then be run through the same Xerox process that was being used to transfer pencil line work onto cels and then painted to what was seen in the final film. When Cruella is seen driving her car up the hill of snow, a sand-like substance was used for it to drive through and shot it all in slow motion."

"The process of shooting models with those black outlines worked very successful when making One Hundred and One Dalmatians and it was a clever idea to save money. The current status of the original model of Cruella's car remains in storage, mostly fully intact."

This is a very rare original production drawing of Cruella De Vil. She is eyes and mouth open, driving her car (that is registered as "DEV IL"), and looking for the dalmatian puppies that had escaped from being held prisoner by her henchmen Horace and Jasper. You can see the registered outline of the door to the car as well as a small part of the steering wheel.