Better Than Many Romantic Comedies Involving People
Originally Released: 1955
(For those of you following along, I realize that as of the date of publishing this post, it isn’t really week 15 in the year. It turns out life happens, and watching and writing about Disney movies regretfully fell on my priorities list for the past few weeks. But I’m back to it now and I plan on getting back on schedule in the next few weeks!)
For Disney’s 15th full-length animated feature, Walt and the studio went in a more contemporary direction and away from the classic fairy tale route. In as early as 1937, sketches were made and the story for Lady and the Tramp began to be developed. Unlike many of the early Disney animated films, the story of Lady and the Tramp is a Disney original. And it ended up being pretty good, too.
Most people will instantly think of the famous “Spaghetti Kiss” when the name of the film is mentioned. It happens to me, and I tend to forget about rest of the movie. However, each time I watch Lady and the Tramp, I enjoy the whole film. In my opinion, it is a better romantic film than many recent (and quite a few older) attempts at the genre, which is sad considering we are dealing with dogs. But that is a testament to the film and its animators. They managed to create a film with characters that develop and grow, including the minor characters like Jock and Trusty.
But most impressive to me this time were the little things such as puppy Lady whimpering like a real puppy would, all the dog mannerisms and movements, and the perspective of most of the film, which tends to be from a dog’s eyes. I also find it humorous that Lady’s owners are constantly referred to as “Jim Dear” and “Darling.” Lady and the Tramp has many little touches that add to the experience.
Lady and the Tramp also represents a first in the Disney canon: it was the first feature-length animated film to be filmed in a widescreen format. Ultimately, this is a great thing (especially for movie lovers), but it also represented a challenge for the animators and artists because it meant that there was more scenery that had to be created, painted and animated, and more to consider for balance. It is a nice touch, but I believe it wasn’t until Disney’s second attempt in widescreen that the switch would profoundly add to the movie.
Overall, Lady and the Tramp represents more Disney magic and shows that even when covering contemporary times and original ideas, Walt and his team could create a bella notte.