"Lady And The Tramp" (1955)

Rating: G
Genre: Animation, Drama, Kids & Family
Directed By: Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson
Written By: Ward Greene, Ralph Wright, Don DaGradi, Erdman Penner, Joe Rinaldi
In Theatres: June 22nd, 1955
Runtime: 76 minutes
Studio: Buena Vista Pictures

This Disney animated classic follows a pampered cocker spaniel named Lady (Barbara Luddy) whose comfortable life slips away once her owners have a baby. When, after some tense circumstances, Lady finds herself on the loose and out on the street, she is befriended and protected by the tough stray mutt Tramp (Larry Roberts). A romance begins to blossom between the two dogs, but their many differences, along with more drama at Lady's household, threaten to keep them apart.

This film is so cute. From the moment Lady is born to the later spaghetti scene…aww.  It’s like an epic romance (much like our Romeo + Juliet) for the canine community. I did after all, watch it with my own dog – how could I not? We enjoyed it very much. 

I love the way Lady refers to her owners as “Jim Dear” and “Darling” – a nice little joke slotted in there. It made me smile. To maintain a dog’s perspective their faces are very rarely shown. – Bit like a Tom and Jerry cartoon! It was sad when their baby was born. Poor Lady was put on the way side a bit and she didn’t understand. 

It was love at first sight for Tramp when he laid eyes on Lady. And attempt to impress her he did. From his pressing argument about how bad babies was, to his attempts to get the muzzle off her nose, to escorting her around town – the dog was totally smitten and it was so cute. It reminded me a lot of the 1993 film “Look Who’s Talking Now” when Rocks and Daphne walk around town, the lady and the tramp equivalent if you like. I wonder if they took inspiration from this film. 

You know for all of Disney’s many princess love stories this one about a pair of love-smitten dogs is the romance that came out top. For one thing, they actually got to know each other before they decided they were in love. (Even though I did think he was calling her “Bitch” throughout the film until the subtitles told me he was in fact calling her “Pige” for some reason). The spaghetti scene is now considered an iconic scene in American film, and has been parodied many times in both Disney and Non-Disney films. For a while, Walt Disney was against this scene as he couldn’t believe that two dogs could romantically share a strand of spaghetti. Good thing he came around by the sounds of it! 

Animators used their own faces as reference for the characters. Lady and Tramp can be spotted on the streets of London in 101 Dalmatians. 

The only thing I have to say against this film is the inclusion of those bloody Siamese cats, voiced by Peggy Lee. Where did they come from singing that ridiculous song! Their scenes irritated me quite a bit. I don’t think they were necessary and ruined the film to a point. They were, incidentally, highly criticized for their racial stereotyping of Asians and Asian Americans. Disney was also criticised for their racial portrayals of Italians with Tony and Joe and Mexicans with the Mexican Accented Chihuahua. 

“Lady and the Tramp” was the 15th Disney animated feature film. It was the biggest hit since the release of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” almost 20 years previous. It was the first animated film to be made in CinemaScope, meaning it was essentially shot twice; once in square aspect ratio and once in widescreen. However, many theatres at the time were not equipped to hold CinemaScope, which was the reason for it also being filmed in aspect ratio.

Hiring Peggy Lee can be seen as the first-time Disney hired a superstar voice for one of his movies. As well as singing four of the songs on the soundtrack, she wrote all the songs that feature in film as well, alongside Sonny Burke.  

Indeed, this was a very successful film, named number 95 of 100 of the 100 Greatest Love Stories of All Time by the American Film Institute. It is such a sweet tale – the best for sure, of all of Disney’s movies’ romances. Certainly, one of my favourite Disney movies. Worth a watch!