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Lady and the Tramp(1955)
A cute, classy "Lady" cocker spaniel escapes from her confining owner and falls for an alley dog, known as the "Tramp", who rescues her from some mean dogs out on the streets.
For more about Lady and the Tramp and the Lady and the Tramp Blu-ray release, see Lady and the Tramp Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on February 1, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske
Writers: Ward Greene, Erdman Penner, Joe Rinaldi, Ralph Wright, Don DaGradi, Joe Grant
Starring: Barbara Luddy, Larry Roberts, Peggy Lee, Verna Felton, Lee Millar (I), Bill Thompson
» See full cast & crew
Lady and the Tramp Blu-ray Review
Another treasured Disney classic, another wonderful Blu-ray release...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, February 1, 2012
Disney has a knack for encapsulating an animation classic in a single iconic image. A scarlet-lipped princess leans down to kiss a kindly dwarf on the forehead. A wooden puppet listens intently to the cricket perched on his foot. A flying elephant soars over the clouds with a feather clenched in his trunk. A fawn encounters a bashful skunk nestled in a flower bed. A slipper lies discarded, the only clue to the identity of a mysterious but beautiful woman. A boy sits on a bear's stomach as the two float down a jungle river. A young fox peers down at a hound dog from atop an old hollowed log. A mermaid rises out of the water as a wave crashes behind her. A girl in a golden gown dances with a cursed beast beneath a glittering chandelier. A street rat and a princess take to the skies for a tour of a whole new world. A lion cub is hoisted into the air for all his kingdom to see. A man raised by apes slides along an overgrown tree branch with grace and ease. Butterflies flutter in front of an earth spirit's serene face. A golden locked recluse interrogates a thief she captured just moments before in her tower. You can picture each one, see the scene playing in your head, even recall the exact frame of animation most everyone is familiar with. But very few of these images hold a candle to one of Disney's most iconic images: that of two dogs, one scruffy, one prim and proper, sharing a romantic dinner in a makeshift alleyway cafe.
The rest of Lady and the Tramp never quite lives up to that one unforgettable image, but Walt Disney's fifteenth animated feature still stands as a tried-and-true classic, even some fifty-seven years after its original release. The romance hasn't grown stale, the love hasn't dulled, the story doesn't play like a relic of some bygone age, and the animation remains as lovely and expressive as ever. This is why the filmmakers and animators at Walt Disney Animation Studios aren't in the business of remaking animated classics. There's nothing to be gained from retooling a film that's so alive and well in the hearts and minds of fans, young and old.
It isn't a tale as old as time, but it's as pure a love story as Disney has ever given us. Lady (Barbara Luddy), a genteel cocker spaniel, begins to worry when her well-to-do masters, Jim and Darling Dear (Lee Millar and Peggy Lee), slowly but surely start to redirect all of their attention to their household's newest addition: a newborn baby. Tramp (Larry Roberts), a rough and tumble mutt from the wrong side of the tracks, usually sticks to taking care of his own but finds himself growing fond of Lady, despite their many differences. So it is that when Lady runs away from home after clashing with cat lover Aunt Sarah (Verna Felton), Tramp comes to her rescue and, in the aftermath, takes the cocker spaniel out for a night on the town. It isn't long before Lady finds herself falling in love with Tramp -- much to her initial dismay -- a development that soon leads to heartbreak and several tough choices. Is one romantic evening enough to keep the unlikely pair from going for each other's throats? Will Lady put aside her cozy condescension and accept Tramp for who he is? Will Tramp change his ways and settle for a cozier life? Will the strong-willed dogs stay together or drift apart?
In true Golden Age of Disney Animation fashion, Lady and the Tramp works on numerous levels, speaks to adults and children, and carefully explores the nature of love, commitment and acceptance. Talking pups have been the bane of many a modern moviegoer of late, that much is sure. (The Buddies franchise hasn't helped.) But when handled properly, two star-crossed canine lovers -- a sheltered pure breed and a snarky mutt -- can be every bit as endearing as cinema's most beloved and most unlikely couples. There was a time not so long ago that Disney's animated films lost much of that patented Waltsian magic, and it's because, in those dark times, the studio has lost sight of where that magic originated and forgotten how to tap into that magic in a way that would bend audiences to its will. It wasn't hidden within in the stories themselves, it wasn't buried in the animation, and it certainly wasn't chained to the scope of the films. Those things played a crucial role, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't the writing, artistry or breadth of an animated feature that waved a wand or conjured a classic out of thin air. No, Disney's magic has sparked and dazzled when Walt and his successors have made a film for adults. Each one has been incredibly accessible to children, of course; marketed to the toddling tykes even. But the true Disney classics of old weren't made for the kiddies, and weren't designed to be conventional entertainment by any means. (Compare Home on the Range to The Jungle Book. Treasure Planet to Aladdin. The Black Cauldron to Alice in Wonderland. Oliver & Company to Lady and the Tramp.) As Disney's youngest fans have grown up and matured, they haven't had to rely on nostalgia. (Nostalgic as watching these films may be.) Revisiting these childhood favorites reveals layer upon layer that simply wasn't apparent when we were knee-high to our parents. Films like Lady and the Tramp are animated gifts from Uncle Walt himself, and they keep on giving, year after year, even though dear Walt Disney passed away.
Lady and the Tramp is a small story; intimate in scope and breezy in the telling. It doesn't overextend or overreach, and it keeps a sense of sweetness about itself that's as comforting as it is captivating. Lady and Tramp don't belong together and, were it not for life's penchant for intervening, they wouldn't be together at all. But the greatest romances hinge on fate interrupting the preset paths characters from different sides of the fence tend to follow. And Lady and Tramp's romance is a great romance, teeming with reluctance and trepidation, challenged by class and circumstance, and comes by way of hardship, not prosperity. Not that stuffiness ever invades the production. Everything from the proud pups to Disney's timeless animation to the dash of streetwise adventure that brings Lady and Tramp together makes it an undeniably amusing romance; one that will leave children laughing, adults clapping and newcomers realizing they've been missing out all these years. There's a brisk ease to Tramp's anti-collar charms, a quaint frivolity to Lady's wooing, and an amazing mastery to Disney's expressive anthropomorphism, enough to defuse some of the seriousness closer scrutiny uncovers. Lady and the Tramp can be enjoyed at face value or treasured as something more; watched again and again for some good-natured family fun or viewed more meticulously within the context of its place in animation history. Be that as it may, indulging in over-analysis (as I've obviously risked doing) robs Lady and the Tramp of that aforementioned Walt Disney magic. There's something to be said for sitting back, sinking in and falling in love with the film's wit, playfulness and enduring qualities. Defining and dissecting those qualities only seems to lessen their potency. Lady and the Tramp isn't the best and brightest of Disney's crown jewels, but it deserves a home in your collection. Especially when it almost looks as if it were animated yesterday, as the studio's immaculate Diamond Edition presentation does...
Lady and the Tramp Blu-ray, Video Quality
All bark and all bite, Disney's magnificent frame-by-frame restoration and equally magnificent 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfer is, hands down, one of the finest animated classic presentations to roll out of the studio's doors. Everything, and I mean everything -- every hand-drawn line, splash of color, subtle personal touch, painted storybook background, and patch of scruffy fur -- almost looks as if it were animated yesterday, no small feat when it comes to a fifty-seven year old film. Primaries are soft and lovely, black levels are rich and inky, contrast is consistent and striking, and every last detail is frame for frame, pixel for pixel perfect. (In so much as it can be.) There's a hint of inherited telecine wobble early on and some slight roughness to the animation in later scenes (at the pound, in particular), but nothing that should give anyone pause or cause for concern. Nor should the presentation's "newness," which, despite its refreshed appearance, has been achieved with the tools of the modern trade while fully and completely honoring Walt Disney's intentions, the animators' beautiful work, and the texture of traditional animation. Each frame looks as if it's still sitting on an animator's desk, waiting to be taken and given its proper place in the film. And yet colors never overwhelm, the punch of the picture never hits too hard, and there isn't a sense that anything has been accomplished at the expense of the source materials. Add to that a stunningly proficient encode free from significant artifacting, banding, noise, or smearing. A few shots show a bit of age, but there isn't a single instance that compromises the fine lines, fluid movement and striking beauty that makes the film the standout that it is. Lady and the Tramp has never looked better and, short of an amazing leap forward in what home video presentations are capable of delivering, couldn't look any better than it does here. I was taken by every frame, shot and scene. Kudos, Disney.
Lady and the Tramp Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Now this is an audiophile's classic animation dream come true. Two excellent lossless options are available: an exacting DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track and -- yes, dear purists -- a much-appreciated DTS-HD Master Audio 3.0 presentation of the film's original mix, restored and rejuvenated but otherwise unaltered. Both tracks are excellent, and only fall short when unjustly compared to the audio featured on Disney's recent feature film releases. The 7.1 remix is a whole new experience (enveloping and immersive) yet pays ceaseless tribute to the original audio (without over-emphasizing rear speaker activity or indulging in decidedly uncharacteristic low-end horse play). The restored 3.0 mix, meanwhile, is a true-to-its-source knockout that's every bit as impressive as it's flashier counterpart. Both feature crisp, clean dialogue that only shows its age when the original recordings and vocal performances do so. Sound effects are bright and energetic, backed by playful ambience, the occasional LFE-bolstered spill or thrill (at least in the case of the 7.1 remix), and the comforting Golden Age tone and tenor of Oliver Wallace's music. Both tracks offer a dramatically different experience, but both tracks do so with the same respect and high standards that makes each one such a valuable addition to this Diamond Edition release. No, neither track sounds as if it were recorded yesterday. But neither one should. Disney's goal should always be to give fans the best of both worlds -- the utterly respectful new and the miraculously resurrected old -- and, this time around, they accomplished that, and then some. I'm sure some people will find something to complain about, but not me. I was swept off my feet from beginning to end.
Lady and the Tramp Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Lady and the Tramp Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I find myself getting more and more excited every time one of Walt Disney's animated classics appear on the horizon. Even when the film itself isn't one of my absolute personal favorites (many of which have yet to be released on Blu-ray), I turn to mush, smitten with the studio's jaw-dropping restorations and marvelous high definition presentations. (The lone exception being The Fox and the Hound.) Lady and the Tramp still has a lot to offer modern audiences, young and old, and it's that much easier to embrace when backed by a stunning frame-by-frame restoration, an as-close-to-perfect-as-possible video transfer, two refined DTS-HD Master Audio tracks (a 7.1 remix and a 3.0 presentation of the film's restored original audio), and a generous helping of supplemental materials. The release has its faults -- namely the minor disappointment surrounding a few of the extras -- but it doesn't get much better than this. Casual fans and diehard Lady and the Trampers alike owe it to themselves to add this Diamond Edition release to their shelves.
Lady and the Tramp: Other Editions
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Lady and the Tramp Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Disney Teases 2012 Blu-ray Slate - February 3, 2012
On February 7th, Walt Disney Studios will street the new Lady and the Tramp Diamond Edition Blu-ray, which contains an insert teasing the distributor's 2012 Blu-ray slate. Titles include Pocahontas and its sequel, both Rescuers films, and a Diamond Edition Blu-ray ...
• $10 Coupon for Three-Disc Lady and the Tramp Combo Pack - November 22, 2011
Amazon is currently offering a special $10 coupon to be used towards Lady and the Tramp's February 7th pre-order listing. This promotional discount only applies to the three-disc Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack of the classic Disney film, and Amazon has not ...
• Disney's Lady and the Tramp Diamond Editions Available on Februar... - November 11, 2011
Diamond Editions of Disney's 1955 Lady and the Tramp are available now for pre-order on Amazon for February 7, 2012. Lady and the Tramp, Disney's first widescreen CinemaScope animated feature, is being released in a 3-disc Combo Pack Diamond Edition, a 2-disc ...
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