Cruella de Vil is the main antagonist of the 101 Dalmatians franchise. She is Jasper and Horace's leader and boss.
She was originally voiced by the late Betty Lou Gerson.
Known for her chic and stylish, but noisy and flamboyant, demeanor, Cruella is stingy, snooty, and mentally unstable. She suffers from violent mood swings and is incredibly ungenerous to the point of psychopathy. A London heiress, Cruella is wealthy and has been on Forbes Fictional 15 for quite a many years.
Self-centered, spoiled, and lacking self-control, Cruella displays an abrasive personality, a nasty temper, outlandish taste, and cruelty without concern or shame. Fur coats are Cruella's only love in life. She adores fur, "absolutely lives for it," and the fur she lives for most of all is the spotted variety: Dalmatian, that is. Roger and Anita's Dalmatians, to be precise. "Such perfectly beautiful coats," she's known to purr as she plots, thinking how much better those spots would look on her. She cares not that Pongo and Perdita's tiny pups are rather attached to that fur nor that they are not for sale, at any price. She resigned to doing whatever it takes to get those coveted spots. For while Cruella lives for fur, any pups that wear it...well, she doesn't give them much thought.
She embodies the Sin of Sloth as she orders her henchmen, the Baduns to do everything for her, de
spite her obvious brilliance and surprising physical strength. She could also be seen to personify Wrath, Pride or Greed. In addition, in 2003, she ranked 39th on the American Film Institute's list of the Top 50 Film Villains of All Time, one of only three Disney villains to make the list, the other two being The Evil Queen (ranked 10th) and Man (ranked 20th). But in UltimateDisney.com She ranked #6 (One better than Captain Hook but one under Ursula).
Disney’s first, and most critically acclaimed, version of the character appeared in One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961). This version of the character inherited several visual traits from the original Dodie Smith version: her hair, which is black on one side and white on the other; her skintight, black dress, and her enormous mink coat, which swings about her like a cloak. This version of the character, designed by Bill Peet and Marc Davis, was also completely skeletal, and smoked constantly, leaving a trail of green, foul-smelling cigarette smoke wherever she went. Her physical appearance and general manner is evocative of some sort of hellish beast or demon, a fact made reference to in her name and in her song.
Cruella, an old school friend of Anita’s, claims that she cannot live without furs. She hires Jasper and Horace Badun, two incompetent crooks, to steal Pongo and Perdita’s fifteen Dalmatian puppies, and buys eighty-four more through legitimate means. She intends to have all ninety nine puppies skinned and made into clothing. The Colonel, Sergeant Tibs and Captain are among the animals of the countryside to help Pongo, Perdita and the puppies return home, while Cruella and the Baduns pursue them.
Unlike previous Disney villainesses such as Evil Queen, Lady Tremaine and Maleficent, Cruella is not a schemer. Instead, she acts purely on impulse, and is thus prone to reckless behaviour, particularly tearing through the snowy landscape in her car. Unlike future versions of the character, this version of Cruella was seemingly invincible in the eyes of the Dalmatians, who, though they could just about able to keep Jasper and Horace Badun at bay, were unable to face ‘that devil woman’. Their only hope was therefore to flee; Cruella’s defeat in the film is brought about not through the deeds of the animals but her own stubborn relentlessness (which, by the end of the film, has seemingly degenerated into a mad fury), and the incompetence of her henchmen.
As Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnson describe Cruella "...diabolical but not a schemer, she never thought anything over, reacting instead in purely emotional ways."
101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure
In the sequel she appears as the secondary antagonist of the animated 101 Dalmatians, Cruella is let out of prison on probation, the terms of which don't allow her any more furs. Feeling like she has nothing left to live for, Cruella instead turns to the spotty paintings of Lars. When he fails in creating the perfect painting of spots for her, Cruella pays for Horace and Jasper's release from prison, then has them kidnap the dalmatians puppies - again - to use their coats as canvasses. When Lars refuses, she ties him up, and decides to use the puppies for a coat as she intended to in the original film. Patch manages to free the puppies, leading to a car chase through London's streets, where the puppies struggle to drive a double-decker bus, while the Baduns and Cruella follow in the Kanine Krunchies truck. Cruella is finally arrested - again - and taken away to a mental institute for her obsession with spots.
House of Mouse
In Mickey's house of Villains, Cruella formed an alliance with Jafar, Ursula, Captain Hook and Hades and they take over the House of Mouse. She says if she ruled the house, she'd run things differently. Ursula added "with a splash of Evil".
The incarnation of Cruella that appears in 101 Dalmatians: The Animated Series (which relocated the events of the films in America), voiced by April Winchell, shares traits with both the 1961 version and the live-action version. In design, she resembles the Cruella of the original animated version. However, the series’ slightly different design style, as well as lower budgets, resulted in a simpler design; most notably, the black dress and fur coat were dropped in favor of a simple black and white dress. This version of the character also lost previous incarnations’ excessive smoking habits - although the reason is explained in the episode Smoke Detectors - and, notably, obsession with fur; instead, her goal throughout the series was to own the land currently owned by Roger and Anita Dearly. Like the live-action version, this Cruella was the head of the House of De Vil, and was often defeated in comedic fashion. Her minions included Jasper and Horace, as well as her pet ferret, Scorch. But at the end of the series she finally redeem herself and was loved by everyone, and attended Roger and Anita wedding.
The episode A Christmas Cruella has Cruella De Vil play the part of Ebenezer Scrooge. During the visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past (played by Cadpig), Cruella's past was explored more in depth and how her parents were never home for Christmas and would never get her a pet puppy, hinting at why she hates the Dalmatian Puppies so much.
More of Cruella's family were revealed in the animated series as well, including her mother, Malevola De Vil, her niece Ivy De Vil, her brother Cecil B. De Vil, her cousin, P. H. De Vil and her great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Judge Dimsdale De Vil.
102 Dalmatians: Puppies to the Rescue video game
In the 102 Dalmatians video game, Cruella resembles the classic animated Cruella, although lacks the obsession with furs. Instead, she runs a toy factory, and when her toys don't sell, she blames it on Dalmatian puppies, and kidnaps all the ones in London, intending to cover them in her 'super gloop' - designed by Proffessor Farsboom - and sell them as super realistic dog toys. She is aided by Horace, Jasper and Le Pelt, who presumably steal the puppies for her, and also manage to capture Dipstick and Dottie for her. Cruella is foiled by Oddball and Domino, and ends up stuck to Farsboom by the super gloop. They are then arrested by the police.
- Cruella's name contains the phrase "Cruel Devil" (Cruella De Vil)
- Cruella is currently one of Disney's most popular villains. Competing with Maleficent and Scar
- As with most of Disney's villains, Cruella's evil is driven by a desire for a certain object. In Cruella's case, it is a Dalmatian coat
- Cruella is the only Disney villain to have three different versions of her character (animated film, live action film, and animated series)
- Cruella is a member of the Disney Divas.
- Cruella also shares a few similarities with Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective. Both of their films involve the male (and only) protagonist (Basil in Ratigan's case, Pongo in Cruella's case) and the deurtagonist same to their gender (Dr. David Q. Dawson in Ratigan's case, Perdita in Cruella's case) with help from a dog (Toby for Basil and Dawson, Colonel for Pongo and Perdita), box office success that saved the Disney Studios from shutting down after the failures of their predecessors (The Great Mouse Detective; The Black Cauldron, 101 Dalmatians; Sleeping Beauty), and were released to theaters for the second to last time in a 1980s/190th decade year (The Great Mouse Detective was released in 1986 while One Hundred One Dalmatians was released in 1985), then released to theaters the last time in a 1990s/200th decade year (The Great Mouse Detective was released in 1992 while One Hundred And One Dalmatians was released in 1991), first came to video (where it had 1992 FBI Warning Screens, a behind the scenes trailer for Aladdin, 1991 Feature Presentation logo, 1992 Clean Walt Disney Classics logo, 1990 Walt Disney Pictures logo, and start of the film (all for opening) and (both for the closing) a trailer for the next movie to be released to video in 1992 as part of Walt Disney Classics (The Great Mouse Detective: The Rescuers, One Hundred One Dalmatians: The Great Mouse Detective) and a 1992 trailer of Beauty And The Beast) as part of Walt Disney Classics in 1992, and were released to video a second time in 1999. They both are the main antagonist, live in London England, smoke cigarette poles, have henchmen, who are responsible for the story's kidnapping and are betrayed in the climax by their bosses, and they both develop red eyes while chasing the protagonists. They both smash the doors real hard. Also, they both go insane at the movie's climax. However, Cruella is a female and a human while Ratigan is a male and a rat.
- The role of the antagonist in The Rescuers was going to go to Cruella De Vil, but went to Madame Medusa instead. Despite this, Medusa does share similarities to Cruella de Vil.
- Both of their films involve a male and female mammal same to their species (Pongo and Perdita in Cruella's case, Bernard and Miss Bianca in Medusa's case) on a rescue mission with help from other animals (other dogs for Pongo and Perdita, Orville and his swamp friends for Bernard and Miss Bianca) and first came to video (which featured trailers for 1992 video releases of The Great Mouse Detective and Beauty And The Beast) as part of Walt Disney Classics)
- Both drive very recklessly, though seem to believe they are not.
- Both wear sleeveless dresses.
- Both are thin.
- Both are fine with hurting the innocent (Medusa: Penny; Cruella; dalmatian puppies) in order to achieve their ends.
- Both have old phones, though this may be due to the time period.
- Both have unintelligent sidekicks who turn of them for betrayal (Madame Medusa: Mr. Snoops; Cruella: Jasper and Horace Badun).
- Both appear to be very rich.
- Both appear to hate animals (in Madame Medusa's case, mice; in Cruella's case, dogs).
- Both got stranded as a defeat and got back at by their henchmen (Mr. Snoops laughed at Medusa, and Jasper and Horace told Cruella to shut up). Cruella was stranded in the English countryside due to her damaged car, and Medusa was stranded on the boat chimney unable to escape Brutus and Nero. But Madame Medusa didn't return for the sequel whereas Cruella returned where she got arrested as her defeat.
- Both have bad tempers.
- Both were seen slamming their telephones, due to frustrating talks with their henchmen.
- Both sobbed about losing what they wanted when defeated (Medusa: The Devil's Eye, Cruella: dalmatian puppies).
- Both have red cars.
- Cruella makes a cameo appearance in Disney's Air Buddies, when Denning and Grim are watching the animated 101 Dalmatians at a drive-in theater.
- Betty Lou Gerson (Cruella's voice actress) said of Glenn Close's portrayal of her character: "Well, dah-ling, she's a wonderful actress," she purred, De Vil-style. "But she didn't wear a fur coat in quite the way I wore it."