101 Dalmations- Imagine One Hundred And One Anythings Humping Your Leg!

As a monkey lover (not like that you dirty boy! Lol!) I have trouble watching films about animals which don’t feature monkeys. After overcoming this initial disappointment, I sat down to watch this Walter Dizzy classic. The story is about a family who have a hundred Dalmation dogs (the ones which look like zebras) and are entering the American version of Crufts- ‘The Abe Lincoln Sponsored Stars And Stripes Canine Appreciation Gala Contest Bonanza For Dog Breeders Featuring Exciting Races, Daring Obstacles, Grooming Awards, And Stalwart Obedience Show!’ or better known as TALSSASCAGCBFDBFERDOGAASOS! The family hear about a loophole that if someone has 101 dogs of the same breed they automatically win the top prize- the Woofey, and a million one dollar bits. Their dogs are mongrels you see- stupid, ugly, and disobedient. The first part of the show is taken up with the family trying to train their dogs to sit, sleep, run, eat, dance, and sing- this leads to some wonderful hits such as ‘Spot The Wrong’un!’, ‘Who Let The Dogs Out’, ‘Barken’, ‘Oh What A Lovely Bone’ and ‘Get Off My Nice Clean Carpet You Dirty Bitch’. Realising their dogs are useless they try to exploit the loop. Most of the film is taken up by the owners and their lovely children trying to get their puppies to mate so that they reach the target of 101- this led to some questionable scenes which young audiences were not prepared for and the eventual ‘disappearances’ of many of the staff. 40 years later a mass burial site was exhumed where a number of bodies of the staff were found- some with bones inserted in the wrong spot (pardon the puns). Bette Davis spices things up a tad with her portrayal of Cruel Fella D’Evil- a local mobster who went mental when her husband was murdered by the Godfather, Don Niro De Pachinko. She hates the sound of dogs, but loves the taste, and has heard an ancient myth which speaks of ‘the flysh of the one hundred and first born pup shall give eternal life to he who shalt feast of it’. She tries to kidnap number 101 (Ploppy) and eat it, but the other dogs set traps up for her around the house, such as messes under the windows, messes on the hallways, and worst of all, messes on the door handles. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but it ends by the plot coming to and end and the credits rolling. Although this was filmed about a hundred (and one!) years ago, the graphics and camera-work are very enticing. Disney were the only studio rich enough back then to make their films in colour, which is why this looks so could compared to other rubbish like Castle Blanka. Unfortunately the unsavoury nature of the plot combined with the toilet humour, and the fact that it was basically a remake of the Nazi propaganda film ‘Eine hundert und eine Rettungen’ or 101 Salvations mean that it makes for inappropriate viewing.

Best Scene: Fred Willard’s humorous commentary throughout the various stages of the dog trials- it was one of his first appearances, at the age of 42.

King Kong: 1931

Probably still the most famous monster movie of all time, a genuine classic of effects and technical skill, and one which can still entertain newcomers today.

King Kong tells the story of a group of explorers, journalists, and scientists who embark on a voyage to a mysterious island. There they find amongst dinosaurs and other giant beasts, but ruling over all, including the natives is a giant ape. Carl Denham decides to capture the ape and bring it back to New York as his new spectacle, reviving his fortunes. When the beautiful actress Ann is kidnapped by the natives who plan to sacrifice her to Kong, the group of explorers must rescue her, and steal Kong. Jack Driscoll leads the way, and most of his group are killed before he saves Ann. Kong is taken back to America, but it seems his strength has been underestimated and he has fallen in love with the actress. Soon he is free and wreaking havoc throughout the city.

The effects for the time were stunning, and are still impressive today, with a flawless attention to detail being shown. The fights between Kong, dinosaurs, men, and airplanes are all awesome and provide some of the most iconic images in movie history. The Empire State Building finale is one of the most famous moments ever, and the log scene is still shocking today. Some of the acting is poor and the story, though simple has become a classic which many have copied since. Of course when you realise this was made over 70 years ago, naturally some things will have dated, such as the acting and some cheesy dialogue, but for audiences at the time it must have been a very tense and exciting time. Kids should be allowed to watch this at an early age as they will appreciate the story and remember the visuals before they see all the effects extravagances of the modern age, which could spoil their opinions of past greats such as this. For an early special effects film the story is rich, the characters have depth, and there is a wealth of underlying themes. Something today’s film-makers would do well to remember when deciding to unleash the next blockbuster on us. Undoubtedly a classic.

For a film approaching its 80th birthday, it is not surprising that the features are a little slim. Still there is a dcoumentary and contributions from famous fans and movie historians which is pretty useful. This edition thankfully restores many censored scenes deemed too violent or unsuitable at the time of making, such as Kong chomping on natives. Cheap, and a piece of movie history which everyone should see.

King Kong
As alwys, feel free to comment on the movie- does this put today’s monster movies to shame?