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Anita Radcliffe (animated film)

Anita in the original 1961 animated film.

Anita Radcliffe (Anita Dearly in the live-action version and television series) is a character from the popular Disney 1961 feature film 101 Dalmatians and its sequel. She is voiced by Lisa Davis in the first film, Kath Soucie in the animated series, and Jodi Benson in the sequel film, and portrayed by Joely Richardson in the 1996 live-action remake of the same name.

Background

Anita's love interest/wife of Roger Radcliffe. She's the owner of Perdita and later Pongo and the ninety-nine Dalmatian puppies. She's beautiful, kind, and smart. She also is shown to be devoted to her husband, and loving toward Perdita, Pongo, and the puppies. The first film establishes that she and Cruella de Vil were schoolmtes and were also friends at one point, but by adulthood, Anita doesn't seem to like Cruella anymore and admits at one point that she is eccentric.

  • In the original novel that the movie's based on, Anita and Cruella were schoolmates but they weren't actually friends.

Appearances

101 Dalmatians

Anita's debut was in the original animated film. She's spotted by Pongo while taking Perdita on a walk. Pongo was searching for potential mates for himself and his "pet," Roger Radcliffe, and attempts to bring the two humans together. Pongo tricks Roger into going to the park, and pursues Anita. Eventually, Anita and Roger are both tangled up in Pongo's leash, resulting in the two of them falling into a pond. Anita frets at first, as she was wearing a new suit and hat, but she and Roger begin laughing together.

A time skip shows that Anita marries Roger, and she and Perdita move into a small home with Roger and Pongo. It is also revealed that Pongo and Perdita are expecting puppies. Anita is shown trying to get Roger, who is busy composing, to come down for tea. When he finally does, she compliments him on the song that he is writing. Their tea is interrupted by the impromptu visit of Anita's former schoolmate, Cruella de Vil. The name inspires lyrics for the song Roger is writing, and he begins singing a somewhat mocking tune. Anita tries to shush him, but Roger goes upstairs to work on the song, leaving Anita to entertain her friend.

Cruella walks in, and Anita notes Cruella's new fur coat. Cruella responds with a comment about her love for fur. Cruella then gets down to business, and asks where the puppies are. Anita tells Cruella that the puppies are not expected for a few more weeks, and that these things cannot be rushed. However, Cruella is now looking at a picture of Pongo and Perdita, murmuring about their coats. Anita invites Cruella for tea, but Cruella cannot stay. Cruella leaves just as quickly as she came, noting that she will be back in three weeks when the puppies are born.

Three weeks later, Perdita gives birth, and Anita, along with Nanny, assist. Anita is shown calling out puppy numbers, as the litter increases from 8 to 10 to 11 to 13 to 14, and finally, to a total of 15. One of the puppies almost dies, but Roger's able to revive the puppy, much to Anita's relief. However, Cruella soon comes in, as she had promised. However, Cruella is shown to be disappointed and angry that the puppies are all white. Anita notes that the spots come in a few weeks after the puppies are born. Cruella is relieved, and quickly offers to buy the puppies, noting that Anita and Roger cannot possibly afford to keep them all. Anita notes that they couldn't sell the puppies, as Perdita would be heartbroken, and that she and Roger could find a way to get along. Cruella laughs at the idea of Roger's songs supporting the family. This incites Roger to step in; Roger sternly tells Cruella that they have no intention of selling the puppies. Cruella is angered to the point that she ends her friendship with Anita, and storms out vowing revenge. Anita applauds Roger on his bravery.

One night, when the puppies are older, Anita and Roger take Pongo and Perdita to the park. They return to find that the puppies have been stolen. Soon after, Cruella calls, expressing shock over the theft. Roger is shown to believe that Cruella was behind the theft, but Anita isn't convinced only because of her former friendship with Cruella. She admits that Cruella is eccentric, but that she couldn't be a thief. Anita also notes that Cruella's home had been searched, but no evidence had turned up. However, unknown to her, Cruella had hired two henchmen, Jasper and Horace Badun, to steal the puppies, with the intention of turning them into fur coats and hid them in another deserted house. 

Anita is not shown again until around Christmastime. She is shown decorating a tree, while Roger is listening to the radio, which is playing the song he wrote. Anita notes that the song was Roger's first hit, and that it has brought in a substantial amount of money. Roger agrees, but notes that he can't believe that Pongo and Perdita ran away. (Unknown to either of them, Pongo and Perdita had gone to rescue the puppies from Cruella.) Suddenly, a group of "labradors" bound in through the door. Anita cleans the face of one of the adults, and discovers that it is actually Perdita. Anita and Roger notice that the puppies with them are much greater in number than the original 15. Anita, along with Nanny, counts the puppies, while Roger adds up the totals, finding out that there are 101 dalmatians in total. Anita asks Roger what they should do with the other puppies. Roger decides to keep them, which leads Anita to point out that they have a small house. Roger responds that they can use the money from his song to buy a country home large enough for them all.

Since the DVD commentary and sequel confirms that Cruella was arrested for the theft of the puppies after her failure to ram the truck apart; it is presumed that Anita finally accepted the idea of Cruella being a thief and possibly pressed charges against her. 

101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure

In the sequel, Anita, alongside Roger, are shown to be preparing for the move to a country home they have bought. Later, after the adults learn of Patch being left behind in London, they frantically travel back in their car to find him, arriving in time to retrieve not just Patch, but the rest of his siblings who had also been kidnapped from the farm while they were gone.

101 Dalmatians (1996 film)

In the live action remake, Anita is the deuteragonist. Her maiden name is Campbell-Green and is changed to Dearly after marrying Roger and she works as a fashion designer for Cruella in the House of De Vil.
Anita (live-action remake)

Anita in the 1996 live-action remake.

As she works for the House Of Devil, Cruella catches her making a Joke Design Sketch with a Dalmatian Spotted Coat. It is this design which inspires Cruella to carry out her scheme. When Cruella states her fears on Anita going to work somewhere else, Anita claims she'll only retire if she met someone and working clashed with their plans. She later meets Roger in St, James Park, when she hits him with her purse after a misunderstanding of her thinking Roger was abducting Perdita (who himself believed Perdita to be Pongo). She claims to carry bricks in her purse since she's been repaving her garden and when she sees a discarded brick, she picks it up (she had collected three on that specific day). After she crashes her bike into the Pond, Roger rescues her and tries to give Mouth-To-Mouth, but wasn't able to do it well, since Anita's arms were around his neck, which Anita apologizes for later, and Roger accepts. She and Roger later marry and move into their own house, where her old Nanny from her childhood comes back to work for them. Nanny realizes, whilst diagnosing Perdita to be expecting, that Anita is pregnant too.

When she and Roger refuse to sell the puppies to Cruella, she is fired from her job. When Pongo & Perdita run off to rescue the Puppies, Nanny claims that the Dalmatians were able to sense Ill-Intentions in Cruella, making her realise that Cruella is behind the Dog-Napping and what she plans to do. When the Dalmatians are returned, Roger convinces her to keep the other Puppies, but she cautions Perdita that she won't have the Pups chewing up the carpets and barking into the night.

A year later, Anita has had her baby (which turns out to be a girl) and it's implied that she's pregnant once again.

101 Dalmatians: The Series

Anita has a secondary role in the series.

House of Mouse

She cameos in Mickey vs. Shelby in the audience with her husband.

Trivia

  • Anita's married name, Radcliffe, is changed to Dearly for the live action remake of the film. This was the last name she and Roger had in the original book.
  • There has been some debate over whether Anita's hair colour is red or brown. In the films and television series, it appears to be an orangish red hue, but in related books, it appears to have a brown hue.
  • Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel in The Little Mermaid, voices Anita in the film's sequel.
  • In the TV series, it is revealed that Anita has a niece named Amber, who bears an uncanny resemblance to her.
  • Anita's name is slightly similar in sound to Perdita.
  • Unlike Cruelia De Vil, Roger, Anita, and their dogs aren't seen or mentioned in 102 Dalmatians and are replaced by Kevin, Chloe, and their dogs, including Oddball.
  • In the 1996 movie, Anita initially says "no" to keeping the other 84 puppies, but Roger their dogs, Pongo and Perdy, talk her into it.
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