“Cruella” (2021) & the Villain Origin Story

If you haven’t listened to the episode yet, check it out:


Dodie Smith, at home with her dalmatian Pongo, 1934

Tallulah Bankhead (left: as Regina Giddens in “The Little Foxes”; right: with Welsh artist Augustus John & her portrait in 1929) was used as the inspiration for many of the Disney animated version of Cruella de Vil’s characteristics & mannerisms.

Cruella de Vil Is Wicked—But Tallulah Bankhead Was Even Wilder | Vanity Fair
Tallulah Bankhead from article https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2021/05/real-cruella-de-vil-tallulah-bankhead

Vivienne Westwood, 1970s, fashion designer who served as the inspiration for many of the punk looks in the new “Cruella”

Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard” (1950) – referenced in the episode

Cruella De Vil was translated around the world, all while maintaining the play-on-words that is a signature element of her name…

  • In Bulgarian, her name is (Kruela De Vil), but some properties use her translated name, (Zlobara De Mon)—”Zlobara” meaning malice, spite, or malevolence.
    • In Dutch, the name remains ‘De Vil’. By coincidence, the Dutch verb for ‘skinning’ is villen, and vil is the conjugation of this verb for the first person singular.
    • In the French translation of the Disney animated movie, she is referred as ‘Cruella d’Enfer’—literally meaning ‘Cruella of Hell’ or ‘from Hell’.
    • In Hungarian, her name is Szörny (SOO-OR- NEE) Ella (meaning Ella Monster) in the books and Siorniella de Fraz (Monsterella de Fright) in her Disney appearances.
    o Szörnyella (SOO-OR-NEE-ELLA) de Frász (FR-AS)
    • In Italian, she is called ‘Crudelia De Mon’—a pun on crudele (‘cruel’) (crudellay) and demone (‘demon’) (daaaay-money)
    • In Polish (among other translations), the character is known as ‘Cruella De Mon’—a play on the word ‘demon’.
    • In both Spanish and European Portuguese, the name remains ‘De Vil’, but instead of representing “devil”, it represents words for “from vileness” or “from villainy.”
    • In Ukrainian, her name is La-yuuuu-taila De Vil or Yaa-vole (Lyutella De Vil), puns for the words for cruelty and devil.

Sources/Extra Content:





Children’s Books: Still capturing the castle – and teenage readers – 65 years on
 Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle, first published 65 years ago, remains one of the most acute and entertaining…www.irishtimes.com

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