101 Dalmatians is a live action version of the 1961 animated film about an evil woman, Cruella De Vil, who wants to make a coat from the fur of Dalmatian puppies. She even goes so far as to steal her employee Anita's Dalmatian puppies along with 84 others to make this coat.
- Starring: Glenn Close, Jeff Daniels, Joely Richardson and Joan Plowright
- Director(s): Stephen Herek
- Producer(s): Wizzer Productions
- Screenwriter(s): John Hughes
- Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
- Release Date: Wednesday, November 27, 1996
- Rating: Acceptable
Featured Animal Action
Two hundred thirty Dalmatian puppies and twenty adult Dalmatians were used in the filming of this motion picture. There were also several other breeds of dogs as well as cows, horses, goats, pigs, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, and woodpeckers used in the production.
In the opening scene, Pongo is lying on the floor beside his owner, Roger's, bed. On the night stand an old fashioned alarm clock goes off, bounces towards the edge of the table, and falls onto the dog's head. Pongo reacts by putting his paws over his head. For this scene a clock, fashioned out of paper weighing approximately 1.5 ounces, was used and the sound effects were inserted during post-production.
When Pongo is seen performing his morning routine of turning the shower on, waking Roger, starting the coffee, getting the milk from the porch, and turning on the computer, the trainer used verbal commands to cue the dog. The scenes were shot in cuts and all behavior was prepped prior to shooting. Two trainers were used for the scenes
In the scene where Pongo is chasing Perdy and Anita, her owner, Pongo's leash is attached to the handle-bars of Roger's bike. Pongo proceeds to drag Roger and his bike through the street, weaving in and out of traffic, through an arcade, through Piccadilly Circus, and the mall at St. James Park. Pongo's collar breaks free of his leash and he and Roger part company. This scene was shot in several cuts and filmed from various camera angles. Several dogs were used for this scene. There was a clear path at all times with a minimum of ten feet between the dog and any moving vehicle. The stunt coordinator and animal trainer had prepped all principal people involved in this scene prior to filming. Each stunt was timed to prevent any mishaps while the dog traveled through the traffic scenes. The dogs were familiar with the vehicles used in the stunts. A professional bicycle stunt rider was used for this scene along with professional stunt drivers for the traffic portions. The dog was on a twelve foot leash with a tear-away mechanism on the collar so that when they stopped filming the bike would not run into the dog. The clasp of the collar was connected to the leash with velcro. All of the skidding action of the vehicles was done behind or away from the dog. When Perdy is seen trotting along side of Anita's bike, the dogs leash was six feet long with a break-away mechanism attached. The dog was very comfortable with the action and never pulled ahead.
As Roger makes his way into the park, he spots Perdy playing fetch with Anita and mistakes her for Pongo. Roger makes a mad dash for Perdy and they roll on the ground as he attempts to attach a leash to her collar. In the meantime, Pongo is seen hiding behind Anita as she yells at Roger, demanding that he let her dog go. This scene was shot in cuts. The actor and the dog had been prepped prior to the scene and were very familiar with one another. The dog had been taught to play a shoving game so when the actor pushed him the dog would jump back at the actor instead of away. The dog was also prepped prior to the scene to play fetch with the actor and was cued by his trainer with verbal commands.
After sedately riding around the Victoria Monument, Perdy decides to catch up with Roger and Pongo, dragging Anita and her bike along. Anita loses control of her bike and ends up in the lake. This scene was shot in cuts. Again all aspects of the scene was prepped and timed prior to filming. The dog wore a leash with a break-away mechanism attached. A stunt-rider was used for portions of the scene.
At Roger and Anita's wedding, Pongo and Perdy are seen sitting in the doorway at the rear of the church and the yard beyond is filled with various dogs. One hundred and six dogs were placed in a stay position by their owners in the church yard. This scene had been rehearsed prior to filming. Having come from obedience clubs, the dogs were well socialized and used to working in large groups. The church gates were closed and avenues of escape were eliminated. Several of the dogs were trained to bark on command.
When Perdy has her puppies, one of the fifteen is supposedly born dead. Nanny approaches Roger with the puppy wrapped in a towel and Pongo sniffs and nudges at the little bundle. Roger starts to stroke the puppy and he whimpers as life seeps back into his body. The puppy in this scene was three days old. The owner had placed the puppy in a disinfected receiving blanket and then handed him to the actor. The actor lightly stroked the puppy and he moved on his own. Only the actor and the pet owner came into contact with the puppy.
When the puppies are called to receive their collars, they are seen running down the stairs and into the kitchen. This scene was shot in cuts. The puppies were conditioned prior to the scene to run down the stairs and into the kitchen at the sound of a buzzer where bowls of food waited. When the scene was shot for filming, the puppies followed the same behavior pattern but the bowls of food were not present. However, immediately after filming the puppies were taken to their feeding area and rewarded. Each puppy was prepped with the actor prior to the segment of receiving its collar. As the actor called them forward, they were rewarded with food.
When Wizzer peaks around the chair after supposedly urinating, two trainers were used. Trainer #1 held the puppy in the start position while trainer #2 called him to his mark and directed his looks.
As Jasper and Horace break into the house to steal the puppies, Wizzer hears something and sticks his head out from behind the curtain, barking at the two men. When Jasper reaches his hand into the basket, Wizzer bites him. For this scene two trainers were used. Trainer #1 cued the puppy with voice commands while trainer #2 was positioned just behind the curtain holding the puppy. To simulate the dog biting the actor's hand, the dog was cued to lunge at a sleeve, simulating playing tug of war.
As Jasper and Horace are calling Cruella, Wizzer pokes his head out of the truck, looking around and barking. Kipper, a scruffy looking dog, is lying in the doorway of the pub. Upon hearing Wizzer barking, he stands and looks at the truck. For this scene three trainers were used. Trainer #1 was inside the truck, holding up the puppy while trainer #2 was outside the truck issuing verbal commands, cueing the puppy to bark. A third trainer was over by the dog in the doorway and verbally cued him to stand and look towards the truck.
After discovering the puppies missing, Pongo decides to go onto the roof and send out a message about his missing children. Perdy hears Pongo's barking and comes up the stairs to the roof door. This scene was shot on an interior set. The dog merely followed voice commands issued by his trainer. Then both dogs were lead away by the actors.
When Punch, the horse, hears the barking message, he whines loudly, waking up Fogey, the English Sheepdog. After hearing the message, Fogey runs into the middle of the barn floor and begins barking to the other animals. This scene was shot in cuts. All of the barn animals, consisting of cows, pigs, a horse, an owl, sheep, a woodpecker, rabbits, raccoons, and chickens react to the barking message in their own way, either by stomping their hoofs, snorting, mooing, oinking, etc. The animals were prepped prior to the scene and were reacting to their trainer's cue.
Fogey is seen sitting in front of the barn door with a cat on his head. The cat, standing on Fogey's head, reaches for the door latch and lifts it with his paw. Fogey nudges the door open letting more animals inside. This scene was also shot in cuts. Many trainers and wranglers were used for this scene. All of the different animals were prepped before the scene and were very comfortable working with each other. The animals responded to verbal, hand, or buzzer commands from their trainers. To get the animals to look in different directions the trainers either used verbal and hand commands or would shake their feed pail and the animal would naturally look in the direction of their food. When the cat is seen standing on Fogey's head, the cat is actually standing a platform, supported by a brace which was connected to the barn door. The platform was covered with dog hair matching the color of Fogey's, which made it appear that the cat was standing on the dog's head. When the cat jumps down running into the barn, two trainers were used. Trainer #1 held the cat about 3 feet off the ground and allowed the cat to jump and run to trainer #2 waiting with a food reward.
Kipper jumps a gate and enters the barn, informing the farm animals of the circumstances. To demonstrate what has happened, Kipper grabs an empty feed sack, and standing on his hind legs, he walks across the barn floor before wiggling into the sack. The dog was prepped months prior to this scene. The trainer cued the dog with verbal commands from A to B. The bag was nailed to the floor to hold it in place with the open end of the sack wired to keep it open, enabling the dog to get into the bag with ease. The dog responded to his trainers verbal commands.
Kipper is then seen outside the DeVil mansion gates. He proceeds to dig a hole and crawl under it to the other side. After making it to the other side, he is seen walking along a branch going away from the mansion. He passes a pond and facing a rock wall, Kipper climbs up the wall onto the roof and slides down to the other side, entering the attic door. For this scene filming was done on an inside set and several trainers were strategically positioned to insure the dog's safety. Three dogs were used for this scene. When he is supposedly scaling the wall, he placed his paws on the wall and looked over the roof top. The dog was supposed to step onto a sliding board that would then be released from below and slide down with the dog sitting on it. However, to everyone's amazement, and the animals delight, he stepped over the board and slid down on his stomach just like he would have on a slide at a park. When the dog nudges the door open, two trainers were used. Trainer #1 called him up the roof and trainer #2 called him into the attic.
Kipper hears the puppies and enters the heating vent in the floor, crawling towards the sound. When he enters the library the puppies hear him and come out from hiding. For this scene several puppets were used along with real puppies to simulate the look of many present. Several trainers were present to place and hold the puppies until they were to come out of hiding. Kipper was prepped prior to filming for this scene and was following verbal commands from his trainer.
The puppies and Kipper are seen exiting the vent and making their way down the hall, around the corner, up the stairs and out onto the roof. This scene was shot in several cuts and from various camera angles. For the segment of the puppies moving through the heat vent, the vent hole was connected to a ramp which went down to a platform and holding area underneath the floor. The vent hole was about 8 feet long, with one end acting as a double for the wall vent. The other end was a double for the grate. A pen was located at each end of the vent to release and catch the puppies, depending on which way they were filming. The area for the ramp was approximately 10x20, had side walls, heat, and was large enough to hold several trainers and puppies. When Kipper comes up the ramp and crawls out of the hole, trainer #1 was inside by the hole and trainer #2 was down the stairs outside the hole calling to him. The puppies were released on the cue of "Action" and were cued to their next mark by a buzzer.
As the puppies were herded up the ramp and towards the hole, trainer #1 was at the hole to spread them out single file. Several trainers were downstairs waiting beside holding pens with food rewards. The puppies were again cued with a buzzer.
Kipper and the puppies are seen running up the stairs and onto the roof. For this scene 50 puppies were used. There were 30 steps and two landings. The stairway was 8 feet wide and the steps were only 5 inches tall. A rail netting was used and additional trainers were strategically placed around the area. The puppies were buzzed from one holding pen to another.
Before making it to the roof-top, Fidget, one of the puppies, starts scratching his ear near a table and the table wobbles, knocking over a lamp. Puppy puppets were placed under and around the immediate area of the table. A special effects person placed a piece of monofilament string onto the leg of the table and would gently tug, making the table wobble. When the lamp fell its was rigged to fall away from the puppy and the glass was actually candy glass (sugar).
When Kipper and the puppies appear on the roof, Kipper starts placing the puppies in the drain pipe and they fall through the pipe and out below. This scene was accomplished with real puppies, a puppet, and computer generated techniques. As a safety precaution, a platform was constructed off of the edge of the roof. The platform was approximately 6 feet below the level of the roof and approximately 6 feet deep, filling the area between the two forward projected areas of the mansion. Three trainers were present on the platform. The puppies were released onto the roof area and a buzzer was placed inside the drain pipe along with a food reward. Upon hearing the buzzer, the puppies would proceed to the drainpipe and stick their head inside to retrieve their food reward, establishing the shot of them entering the pipe. After the first take the number of puppies were reduced. When the puppies are seen sliding through the drain pipe, puppets and computer generated puppies were used.
There is a scene where the other animals start to help Kipper by doing various things to Horace and Jasper. In one instance, a squirrel gets inside the truck through a heat vent and chews on some wires. The squirrel was trained to travel from one cage to another through a vent tube approximately 4 inches in diameter. The tube was attached to the cage which led to the heating vent and the squirrel went through it and into the truck, wandering around naturally as he found hidden nuts.
Some raccoons are seen inside Jasper's truck honking the horn. One of the raccoons is seen putting a nut into the tail pipe of the truck. The raccoons are later seen running down the drive as Jasper and Horace throw rocks at them. The scene was shot on an interior set. As a safety precaution, special fencing was constructed around the area that the raccoons worked in. When the raccoon is seen putting the nut into the tail pipe, the trainer released the raccoon from his cage and he walked approximately 3 feet, picked up the fake walnut, and walked another 3 feet, putting the nut in the tailpipe. The raccoon returned to his cage for a food reward. When they are being chased by Jasper and Horace, the raccoons were actually running from one cage to another when cued with a buzzer. A food reward awaited them at the second cage.
When Jasper makes his way to the top of the roof, he finds Kipper putting Wizzer, the last puppy, into the drain pipe. After Wizzer is safely on his way, Kipper turns towards the attic door where he finds Jasper with a fireplace poker in his hand. A struggle ensues between the two and Kipper bites Jasper in the hand, causing him to drop the poker. Jasper pulls out a gun and backs Kipper to the edge of the roof where he supposedly falls. Again the platform described earlier was in place. Three people, including one trainer on the platform, was present at all times. For this scene two dogs were used. One dog was trained to snarl and bark when he hears a hissing sound. He was also trained to back up on cue and was prepped with a poker so the poker did not pose a threat to him. A second dog was trained to play an arm bite game. He was trained to lunge and bite an arm and to hang on to it when cued. As a safety precaution, the stunt-man was wearing a pad under his clothing.
In the scene where Cruella is looking for the escaped puppies, she comes across a field of sheep sitting down. After she passes, the sheep stand, revealing puppies hidden under their fur. This scene was filmed on an interior stage. For this scene, both live and fake sheep and live and fake puppies were used. When you see the sheep with the puppies around them, the sheep were live and the puppies were fake. Then when you see the puppies supposedly run out from under the sheep, fake sheep were used. Trainers were hidden behind the fake sheep and released the puppies to simulate them coming out from under the sheep. Additional trainers released several more puppies from just out of camera range. These puppies were conditioned to run towards a buzzer.
Pongo and Perdy are seen arriving at the barn to find the puppies suckling at the cow. Wizzer turns to look at his parents and belches. The puppies were actually nursing on a fake cow with custard cream fluid in the udders. The udders were made out of soft plastic with a tube inside that dripped the custard mixture as the puppies licked or sucked at the udder. When Wizzer burps, his trainer cued him to step back and stay. His burp is actually a soft bark that he had been trained to do.
Fidget, one of the puppies, is sitting on a grain sack scratching his ear when he falls into a pail of water. Two puppies were used for this scene. The sack was rigged to collapse when a button was pushed. The puppy gently rolls into what looks to be a metal pail, however, it is actually made of plastic. The pail was lined with a thick sponge padding. The puppy was dried immediately.
When Skinner arrives at the house, Lucky, left behind, is hiding in the corner. Skinner approaches the puppy and just when he is about to pounce on the little fellow, Kipper, surviving his fall, comes in limping through the door. He had been trained prior to filming to fake a limp. Kipper approaches Skinner from behind and bites him in the buttocks. A silhouette is seen of Kipper and Skinner struggling with each other. For this scene, Kipper was conditioned to attack a buttocks attached to a wire frame. This was a conditioned behavior with absolutely no aggression or anger present.
Cruella approaches the barn, looking for the puppies. As she bends down to wipe mud from her shoe, a crow swoops down and plucks her hat from her head. When she leans into the barn door to peak through a hole, Punch, kicks the door with his hoofs, sending Cruella backwards. This scene was prepped prior to filming. A mat was placed on the floor to cushion the kick. The horse was placed on his mark by the wrangler and cued to raise both rear legs and kick towards the doors. The crow was prepped prior to filming and was conditioned to fly from one point to another, cued either by a buzzer or verbal command.
Upon hearing Cruella approach, the puppies dash towards the haystack, burrowing inside to hide. To get them to go inside the haystack, a wood stage made with a hollowed out back was constructed which enabled the trainers to hide behind and cue the puppies with a buzzer where a bowl of food awaited them. Five trainers were used and each released two puppies on cue. The puppies, hearing the sound of the buzzer, would go to the haystack and find the holes leading to the food.
As Cruella enters the barn, puppies are seen poking their heads out from the haystack. This scene was shot in cuts. For this portion of the scene, several trainers hid behind the haystack, where they placed the puppies so that they were looking out of the haystack. Platforms were made to allow the puppies to stay in place comfortably. Trainer #1 held onto the puppies at all times while trainer #2 kept them in place by rewarding them with food. Two additional trainers used toys to attract the puppies attention for their looks in different directions. When Cruella picks up a pitch fork and proceeds to stab at the hay, no puppies were actually present.
After passing the haystack, Cruella spots something out of the corner of her eye. It looks to be a puppy's tail, however, it is actually a pigs tail. Cruella reaches up and grabs the tail and the next thing she knows a pig is sitting on top of her. For this scene, a ramp was built for the actor to slip under which was strong enough and wide enough to support the pig. The pig was placed on the ramp by the trainer and removed at completion of the shot.
The police arrive at Roger and Anita's to deliver their puppies and beseech them to adopt the other 84 Dalmatian puppies that were also found. After a brief hesitation, Roger and Anita supervise the unloading of the 99 puppies. All of the puppies, except for the ones being held by the actors, were kept in heated vehicles and several trainers were present.
When the dogs are seen running from A to B, lying down, sitting up, getting into a dog bed, barking, or looking in different directions, all of their behaviors were cued by their trainers using verbal and hand commands. For every dog or puppy actor, there were at least two doubles to enable them to be switched out for rest and exercise, keeping the animals from becoming fatigued.
When puppies are seen being picked up by the scruff of the neck, only puppies of a certain age and weight were used. When a puppy is seen gliding across an icy surface, a shot of the puppy sliding a short distance on a plastic type of surface was used and then that shot was superimposed with a previously computer generated segment.
Whenever a large number of puppies were seen walking A to B, they were usually following their trainers, who were walking ahead of them just out of camera range. As a safety precaution, a fence was constructed on both sides of them that stretched the entire length of their walk. In many scenes where the number of puppies is larger than approximately 30, the rest of the puppies seen were actually computer generated.
There is a puppy seen in the library with his head poking out of a world globe. A hole had been cut out of the top of the globe for the dog. The trainer cued the puppy by making noises so he would look out of the hole. The globe was secured to insure the puppy's safety.
For all of the scenes where pigeons are seen flying in the park, or at the wedding ceremony, local pigeons were used and the same person handled them for all of the scenes. When the squirrels were supposedly running from A to B on electrical wiring they were actually running from one cage to another at the sound of a clicker. For the scenes of the raven and the owl flying, it was all pre-trained behavior, cued by either verbal, hand, or a buzzer command. The birds were conditioned to fly from point A to B.
There is a scene where a woodpecker is seen pecking on a front door. The woodpecker was hand trained and a hole was drilled through the front door with a black string attached. The string was attached to the jesses on the legs of the woodpecker. The bird was placed on the ledge and the string was pulled to tighten it so the bird could hold its balance.
When Cruella arrives at the mansion, a skunk is seen walking A to B and climbing inside her car, sitting on the front seat. Later, inside the paddy wagon, Cruella realizes that her handbag is actually a skunk as it sprays her, Skinner, Jasper, and Horace. The skunk was cued by his trainer with verbal and and hand commands.
At no time were there any real furs used for clothing, props etc.
Special Safety Precautions:
On site, kennels were set up for the animals with adequate heat. Thermometers were in all puppy areas to monitor temperatures. The set was closed and only those people directly involved with the puppies were allowed to be present. All kennel areas were closed, except to puppy personnel. No one was permitted on the set where the puppies worked without first stepping into a disinfectant bath and washing their hands thoroughly. The set was disinfected every day before the puppies were allowed to enter.
After each take of the puppies running up or down a staircase, they were examined by the trainer and a veterinarian. All animals were switched out after only a few takes to keep them from becoming tired.
All puppies used in the film came from private homes as entire litters. If only one puppy was used out of that litter, they were all kept together and their owner was on site to care for them. All homes were visited by the puppy trainer and the studio veterinarian for acceptance before training began. No puppy mills were used for this film. The training started in the owners home when the puppies were approximately 6 weeks old. This training session lasted for 2 weeks. At 8 weeks the puppies were brought to the studio to be used on set.
Since several puppies and dogs were used for a specific part, special make-up was needed to match their looks. All dyes used were the same ones normally used by studios for humans and are safe for use on animals. The majority of the dye was used to add spots. Most of the filming was shot on an interior stage however, when filming was conducted at an outside location, a truck was on site to house the animals, equipped with kennels and heaters.
The substance used for snow in the film was sugar, foam, and paper. When the animal footprints are seen, sugar or foam was used. The paper snow is a combination of carbon dioxide and water. To prevent dust accumulation coming from the paper snow, water, was applied which diminished the amount of dust. The sugar was only used in areas of activity briefly so the puppies would not have time to sense what it really was, and start to eat it.