Film premiere that knocks the spots off its rivals

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The Independent Online
What do you do when everyone has seen the original movie? You release the film on video, naturally, and if you're fun-loving Walt Disney you let it be known Cruella De Vil-style that you had better buy it quickly as it might be withdrawn at any moment. And when all the tinies have been given their 101 Dalmatians video for Christmas? You release the film again, only this time with real people, and genuine canines.

The scope is endless. Sixty years of movies to reshoot with Hollywood's finest. Gwyneth Paltrow as Snow White, with Danny De Vito leading the seven dwarfs? Genuine deer for Bambi, with a guest appearance from Prince William playing the hunter perhaps?

The film has already broken box office records in the United States - it is the biggest Thanksgiving film of all time, amassing $46m over the five-day holiday.

As if real stars and real dogs were not enough, Disney also announced that last night's premiere at the Royal Albert Hall, attended by Glenn Close, Jeff Daniels, Joely Richardson and the rest of the cast, was the first of their "Event Movies". By "Event", they meant that the Albert Hall was being used for a film premiere for the first time since 1927 and Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush - and not the fact that Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall attended together.

The Royal Albert Hall made a memorable cinema with a Disney stage show presiding the movie and confetti in the shape of Dalmatian spots raining from the ceiling. Indeed, the event rather overshadowed the movie which - despite the wonderful trickery from the trained dogs - curiously lacked the charm and especially the humour of the original cartoon. Glenn Close was a stylish Cruella, but never one to give children even the tiniest nightmare. At least Disney moved with the times. Cruella's arrest was reported on screen in The Independent.

Dalmatian facts and fiction

t Over 200 dalmations were used in the making of the live action film.

t When born, the puppies do not appear to have spots at all. They are white. The first spots are not obvious until they are 10 days old.

t 6,469,952 black spots were drawn by Disney animators for the 1961 cartoon.

t A dalmatian's skin is pink with bluish-black spots which correspond to its coat.

t An adult will grow to 60lbs and 24 to 25 inches high at the shoulder.

t About one in ten suffers from deafness - a disability connected with their white coats.

t Nicknames: English coach dog, firehouse dog, plum-pudding dog, spotted dick

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