Disney Keeps Up with the Times

        When people think of cinema and sets, most would probably not think of an animated set. What many may not realize is that the backgrounds in an animated feature, such as Walt Disney's One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961), play just as an important role as any real background set.

        Before discussing the background, I wanted to give credit to the innovation of this feature film and what it meant to the history of film. Prior to One Hundred and One Dalmatians, all animation was meticulously done by hand. This film was the first of its kind to use the emerging technology of Xerox machines for film-making. Utilizing this technology, Walt Disney again proved his ability to keep up with the times while still telling stories beautifully and classically.

        It is important to understand the importance of using Xerox for animation because it opened the door to an entirely new style of animating films. The 1960s brought a new era of free-spirited living. One Hundred and One Dalmatians reflected the spirit of the changing country with its funky and non-stuffy animation, as well as the story line of the film. It was as though Disney could recognize this and wanted to filter the energy onto film making. It was out with the old and in with the new.

        This new form of animation was light and uncomplicated. This meant that animators could focus more on the "acting" part of the film while not neglecting the background. It allowed animators to relax and immediately show the tone of the movie. The audience could instantly see what type of film they were in before the story even began. Although to some, the backgrounds may seem sloppy, but to others it was a new artistic expression. If one was to spend time watching the film just for analytical reasons, one could come to appreciate the unique style that solidifies the film's importance to film history.

Jennifer Farley

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