Disney’s LADY AND THE TRAMP was one of the studio’s first full-length cartoons that was based on an original idea instead of a story that had already been established as a classic fairytale or book. Arriving in theaters in 1955, it was the fifteenth film in Disney’s vast arsenal of beloved animations enjoyed by both young and old.
Lady (voiced by Barbara Luddy) is a cocker spaniel who lives in the lap of luxury with her owners Jim and Dear Darling. Life takes a turn for the confusing when the Darlings bring home a new baby to the house. Although they acknowledge Lady, she can’t help but feeling that her masters are slowly easing her out of the picture. To make matters worse, Aunt Sarah arrives to help out with the baby and brings her two Siamese cats into the house. They wreak havoc and at every turn and Lady is always blamed for their impossible behavior. Aunt Sarah insists that she is fit with a muzzle and eventually, Lady runs away, only to find that she is in no position to handle the scary real world.
Tramp (voiced by Larry Roberts) is a charming mutt of a dog who helps Lady maneuver the inner workings of the wrong side of the tracks. He wines and dines her (literally) with a night on the town before Lady realizes that it is her duty to protect the new Darling baby from the awful Siamese twin cats. In her journey home, she’s captured and thrown into a dog pound where she learns from Peg (Peggy Lee) that Tramp is a known scoundrel. Lady eventually returns home, only to be chained up in the backyard. Tramp comes to apologize when a large rat scurries into the house and threatens the baby. Lady and Tramp work together to protect Baby Darling and both become heroes. Aunt Sarah is sent home with her annoying felines and the next Christmas, there are several little stockings hanging from the mantle with the names of tiny Lady and Tramp lookalikes.
Whether you’ve watched the animated film or not, chances are you’ve seen the iconic clip of Tramp and Lady sharing a long string of spaghetti that ends in a kiss as the familiar Italian classic “Bella Note” drones in the background of Tony’s restaurant. Some of you have even reenacted that moment. (You know who you are…just own it.) I think LADY AND THE TRAMP is so incredibly memorable because it’s so incredibly relatable. It’s a classic love story and after only a few minutes, the fact that the main characters are dogs slowly fades into the back of your mind.
Another thing that sets LADY AND THE TRAMP apart from other Disney classics is that there is no dominate bad guy. Of course the Siamese cats were both menaces and probably caused more frustrating feelings versus anxiety in young kids, but I found that refreshing. There was no evil queen or fire breathing dragon. It was a love story at the heart and I enjoyed every second. LADY AND THE TRAMP is a romance, adventure with a touch of drama. It’s definitely one of the earlier classics that should be in the collection of any Disney film enthusiast.
Video: You can’t go wrong with a Disney Blu-ray. The studio puts so much care and effort into their transfers that it’s hard to imagine this film is more than 50 years old. Every scene is stunningly beautiful.
Audio: A 7.1 HD audio mix is showing off, but it sounds incredible.
Commentary: Inside Walt’s Story Meetings: This was confusing at first, but basically a bunch of voice actors recreate one of Walt Disney’s “story meetings”. Once you get past the oddness of it and just let yourself buy into it, it’s a neat listen. It’s a very creative feature from Disney.
Disc Introduction by Diane Disney Miller (1:58): Walt’s daughter gives an intro into the disc and mentions that LADY AND THE TRAMP was one of his personal favorites.
Diane Disney Miller: Remembering Dad (8:02): I feel like I’ve seen so many featurettes on Walt Disney after watching the special features on other Disney releases that this one felt incomplete. I appreciated hearing from Mrs. Miller, but it would have been nice to have an extended interview or make this part of a larger documentary.
Deleted Scenes (18:59): We’re taken through the storyboards of three different scenes; Introduction of Boris, Waiting For Baby and Dog Show.
Never Recorded Song: “I’m Free as the Breeze” (2:11): This was a nice feature and if it had stayed in, this would have been Tramp’s song. But it was cut since Tramp didn’t do any singing.
DVD Bonus features (2:36:53): Over 2.5 hours of special features from the original DVD release are carried over. All of these are standard definition, but if you were on the fence about upgrading to the Blu-ray, then at least you’ll get everything from the DVD when you buy the Blu-ray set.