Disney’s Cruella is now playing in theaters and streaming on Disney+ with Premier Access. Inspired by 101 Dalmatians, the film makes several attempts to pay homage to the animated classic, and also throws in a few trivia Easter Eggs for diehard Disney fans. Here’s what I spotted when I saw the film.
Homages to Previous 101 Dalmatians Films
The outfit Esteella’s mom wears when she takes her to Hellman Hall is similar to what Anita wears when she first meets Roger in the animated classic.
The car Cruella steals after her heist is a Panther De Ville, the same type of vehicle Glenn Close used in 101 Dalmatians (1996) and 102 Dalmatians, which was first introduced in 1974. Horace steals a black and white version later, pointing out the name of the car, which inspires Cruella’s new surname.
Horace and Jasper notice that some dog owners look like their dogs while Cruella is meeting with Anita, an homage to the moment when Pongo first spotted Anita in the animated film.
When Horace is about to walk the stolen dalmatians, he says he’s taking them to Regents Park, a real park in London that was the setting for Roger and Anita’s meet-cute in the animated classic.
When Roger is introduced as a lawyer for The Baroness, she mentions that he mostly plays his piano all day, a nod to his profession in 101 Dalmatians. During the mid-credit tag, he sits at a piano and starts singing “Cruella de Vil.”
When Estrella is pretending to be a maid, a movie is playing called Lifeboat starring Tallulah Bankhead, whose mannerisms inspired Cruella de Vil’s portrayal in the Disney animated film. A closeup features the actress’ signature laugh, which sounds similar to Cruella de Vil’s. Lifeboat is a 20th Century Studios film from 1944 directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
Artie says “If you can dream it, I can dress it” when he first meets Estella, a play on the Disney phrase “If you can dream it, you can do it,” written by Tom Fitzgerald originally for the EPCOT attraction Horizons. Fun fact: While the quote is often attributed to Walt Disney, there’s no record of him ever saying the phrase.
Alex joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and has been a lifelong Disney fan. His main beats for LP are Disney-branded movies, TV shows, books, music and toys. He recently became a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA).