Lady and the Tramp
Lady and the Tramp is a 1955 American animated musical romance film produced by Walt Disney and released by Buena Vista Distribution. It was the first animated film distributed by the company. The 15th Disney animated feature film, it was the first animated feature filmed in the CinemaScope widescreen film process.
|Lady and the Tramp|
Original theatrical release poster
|Produced by||Walt Disney|
"Happy Dan, The Cynical Dog"
|Music by||Oliver Wallace|
|Edited by||Don Halliday|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Distribution|
|Box office||$187 million|
Based on the Cosmopolitan magazine story of "Happy Dan, The Cynical Dog" by Ward Greene, Lady and the Tramp tells the story of a female American Cocker Spaniel named Lady who lives with a refined, upper-middle-class family and a male stray mutt called the Tramp. When the two dogs meet, they embark on many romantic adventures and fall in love.
Lady and the Tramp was released to theaters on June 22, 1955 to box office success. It initially received mixed to negative reviews by film critics, but critical reception for the film has been generally positive in modern times, and the film is now seen as one of the best animated films from Disney. Directed by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, and Hamilton Luske, the film features the voices of Barbara Luddy, Larry Roberts, Bill Thompson, Bill Baucom, Verna Felton, and Peggy Lee.
On Christmas evening in the year 1909, in a quaint town, Jim Dear gives his wife Darling a Spanish cocker spaniel puppy named Lady. Lady enjoys a joyful life with the couple and befriends two local neighborhood dogs, a Scottish terrier named Jock, and a bloodhound named Trusty. Meanwhile, across town, a stray mutt named Tramp lives on his own, dining on scraps from Tony's Italian restaurant and protecting his fellow strays Peg (a Pekingese) and Bull (a bulldog) from the local dogcatcher. One day, Lady is upset after her owners begin treating her rather coldly. Jock and Trusty visit her and determine that their change in behavior is due to Darling expecting a baby. While Jock and Trusty try to explain what a baby is, Tramp interrupts the conversation and offers his own thoughts on the matter, making Jock and Trusty take an immediate dislike to the stray and order him out of the yard. As Tramp leaves, he reminds Lady that "when a baby moves in, a dog moves out."
Eventually, the baby arrives and the couple introduces Lady to the infant, of whom Lady becomes very fond and protective. When Jim Dear and Darling leave for a vacation, they put their dog-hating Aunt Sarah in charge of the baby and the house. Aunt Sarah's two trouble-making Siamese cats, Si and Am, deliberately mess up the house, knowing Lady will get in trouble for it, and then get her in even more trouble by tricking Aunt Sarah into thinking that Lady attacked them. Aunt Sarah then takes Lady to a pet shop to get a muzzle. Terrified, Lady flees the pet shop but is pursued by a trio of stray dogs. Tramp manages to rescue her, fighting off the vicious strays. Seeing the muzzle on Lady's head, Tramp decides to take her to the local zoo, where they find a beaver who is able to remove the muzzle with his teeth. Later, Tramp shows Lady how he lives "footloose and collar-free", eventually leading into a candlelit dinner at Tony's. Lady begins to fall in love with Tramp, but she chooses to return home in order to watch over the baby. Tramp offers to escort Lady back home, but when Tramp decides to chase hens around a farmyard for fun, Lady is captured by the dog catcher and brought to the local dog pound. While at the pound, the other dogs reveal to Lady that Tramp has had multiple girlfriends in the past, and they feel it is unlikely that he will ever settle down. Lady is eventually claimed by Aunt Sarah, who chains her in the backyard as punishment for running away.
Jock and Trusty visit to comfort Lady, but when Tramp arrives to apologize, Lady angrily lashes out at him about his past girlfriends and failure to rescue her from the pound. Tramp sadly leaves, but immediately thereafter a rat sneaks into the house. Lady sees the rat and barks frantically at it, but Aunt Sarah tells her to be quiet. Tramp hears her barking and rushes back, entering the house and cornering the rat in the nursery. Lady breaks free and rushes to the nursery, where Tramp inadvertently knocks over the baby's crib before ultimately killing the rat. The commotion alerts Aunt Sarah, who thinks they harmed the baby. She pushes Tramp in a closet and locks Lady in the basement, then calls the pound to take Tramp away. Jim Dear and Darling return home as the dog catcher departs, and when they release Lady, she leads them to the dead rat. Overhearing everything, Jock and Trusty chase after the dog catcher's wagon. The dogs are able to track down the wagon and scare the horses, causing the wagon to crash. Jim Dear arrives in a taxi with Lady, who reunites with Tramp, but Trusty is almost killed by the wagon.
That Christmas, Tramp has been adopted into the family, and he and Lady have started their own family, with Lady having given birth to a litter of four puppies (three daughters who look identical to Lady and one son who looks identical to Tramp). Jock comes to see the family along with Trusty, who is recovered and merely suffered a broken leg, and are formally welcomed as guests by the humans. Thanks to the puppies, Trusty has a fresh audience for his old stories, but he has forgotten them.
- Barbara Luddy as Lady, an American Cocker Spaniel, and the love interest of Tramp.
- Larry Roberts as Tramp, a Schnauzer mix of apparent Terrier ancestry, with a knack for dodging dog-catchers. He calls Lady "Pidge", short for Pigeon, which he calls her due to her naivety. He never refers to himself by name, although most of the film's canine cast refer to him as the Tramp. It is not until the sequel in which any humans call him Tramp, and it is never explained why they "name" him with the very name he was known by on the streets. Tramp had other names in the film, and when asked by Lady about having a family, Tramp states that he has, "One for every day of the week. Point is, none of them have me." Each family mentioned called him a different name (such as Mike or Fritzi). The families also had different nationalities (such as Irish or German). As he did not belong to a single-family, Tramp implied that it was easier than the baby problems Lady was going through at the time.
- Bill Thompson as Jock, a Scottish Terrier who is one of Lady's neighbors. Thompson also voiced Joe, Tony's assistant chef; Bull, a stray male bulldog from the dog pound who speaks with a slight Cockney accent; Dachsie, a stray male dachshund at the dog pound who speaks with a German accent; a policeman; and Jim's friend.
- Bill Baucom as Trusty, a bloodhound who used to track criminals with his Grandpappy, Old Reliable, until he lost his sense of smell.
- Verna Felton as Aunt Sarah, Jim Dear's aunt (revealed to be the sister of Jim Dear's mother in the Greene novelization of the film) who comes to take care of the baby when Jim Dear and Darling leave for a few days. She is a well-meaning busybody of a maiden aunt who adores her Siamese cats but does not believe that dogs should be around babies. She blames both Lady and Tramp for the baby's crib being knocked over, not knowing that they were actually protecting the baby from a vicious rat. However, she sends a box of dog biscuits for Christmas in the final scene of the film in a presumed attempt to make amends for her mistreatment of the two dogs.
- George Givot as Tony, owner, and chef of Tony's Italian restaurant. He and Joe both have great affection for Tramp.
- Lee Millar as Jim Dear, the fatherly human figure and Darling's husband. Millar also voiced the Dogcatcher.
- Peggy Lee as Darling, the motherly human figure and Jim Dear's wife. Lee also voiced Si and Am, Aunt's Sarah's twin Siamese cats with a knack for mischief and never-ending trouble; and Peg, a stray female Pekingese whom Lady meets at the pound (along with the other dog inmates she was put in a cage with). The names of Si and Am are a pun on the country of Siam. It is implied that Peg had a relationship with Tramp in the past, through the lyrics of the song she sings (He's a Tramp). Peg was formerly from the "Dog and Pony Follies" (dog and pony show); either the show ended or she was left behind. Peg has a Brooklyn Accent.
- Stan Freberg as the beaver, a clever, hard-working beaver at the zoo who speaks with a lisp. He gnaws off the muzzle that Aunt Sarah had placed upon Lady after Tramp realizes that the muzzle is just what the beaver needs for pulling logs. This character would later serve as the inspiration for Gopher from Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966), down to the speech pattern (a whistling sound when he makes the "S" sound). Stan Freberg, who voiced the beaver in the film, had an extensive background in commercial and comedy recording voice-overs and soundtracks. On the 2-Disc Platinum Edition DVD, he demonstrates how it was done and that a whistle was eventually used because it was hard to continue repeating the effect.
- Alan Reed as Boris, a stray male Borzoi from the dog pound. He speaks with a Russian accent.
- Thurl Ravenscroft as Al the alligator, an alligator that Tramp asks to remove the muzzle from Lady. However, he instead almost bites Lady's head off.
- Dallas McKennon as Toughy, a stray male mutt from the dog pound. He speaks with a slight Brooklyn accent, like Peg. McKennon also voiced Pedro, a stray male Chihuahua from the dog pound who speaks with a Mexican accent; a professor, and a laughing hyena.
- The Mellomen (Thurl Ravenscroft, Bill Lee, Max Smith, Bob Hamlin and Bob Stevens) as Dog Chorus
In 1937, Disney story artist Joe Grant came up with an idea inspired by the antics of his English Springer Spaniel Lady, and how she got "shoved aside" by Joe's new baby. He approached Walt Disney with sketches of Lady. Disney enjoyed the sketches and commissioned Grant to start story development on a new animated feature titled Lady. Through the late 1930s and early 1940s, Joe Grant and other artists worked on the story, taking a variety of approaches, but Disney was not pleased with any of them, primarily because he thought Lady was too sweet, and there was not enough action.
Walt Disney read the short story written by Ward Greene, "Happy Dan, the Cynical Dog", in Cosmopolitan, published in 1945. He thought that Grant's story would be improved if Lady fell in love with a cynical dog character like the one in Greene's story, and bought the rights to it. The cynical dog had various names during development, including Homer, Rags, and Bozo, before "Tramp" was chosen.
The finished film is slightly different from what was originally planned. Lady was to have only one next-door neighbor, a Ralph Bellamy-type canine named Hubert. Hubert was later replaced with Jock and Trusty. Aunt Sarah was the traditional overbearing mother-in-law. In the final film, she is softened to a busybody who, though antagonistic towards Lady and Tramp, is well-meaning (she sends a packet of dog biscuits to the dogs at Christmas to apologize for mistreating them). Aunt Sarah's Nip and Tuck were later renamed Si and Am. Originally, Lady's owners were called Jim Brown and Elizabeth. These were changed to highlight Lady's point of view. They were briefly referred to as "Mister" and "Missis" before settling on the names "Jim Dear" and "Darling". To maintain a dog's perspective, Darling and Jim's faces are rarely shown, similar to Tom's various owners in the Tom and Jerry cartoons. The rat was a somewhat comic character in early sketches, but became a great deal more frightening, due to the need to raise dramatic tension. A scene created but then deleted was one in which after Trusty says "Everybody knows, a dog's best friend is his human", Tramp describes a world in which the roles of both dogs and humans are switched; the dogs are the masters and vice versa. There was a love triangle among Lady, Tramp, and a Russian wolfhound named Boris (who appears in the dog pound in the final version).
The film's opening sequence, in which Darling unwraps a hat box on Christmas morning and finds Lady inside, is inspired by an incident when Walt Disney presented his wife Lily with a Chow puppy as a gift in a hat box to make up for having previously forgotten a dinner date with her.
In 1949, Grant left the studio, yet Disney story men were continually pulling Grant's original drawings and story off the shelf to retool. A solid story began taking shape in 1953, based on Grant's storyboards and Greene's short story. Greene later wrote a novelization of the film that was released two years before the film itself, at Walt Disney's insistence, so that audiences would be familiar with the story. Grant did not receive film credit for his story work, an issue that animation director Eric Goldberg hoped to rectify in the Lady and the Tramp Platinum Edition's behind-the-scenes vignette that explained Grant's role.
As they had done with deer on Bambi, the animators studied many dogs of different breeds to capture the movement and personality of dogs. Although the spaghetti eating sequence is probably now the best-known scene from the film, Walt Disney was prepared to cut it, thinking that it would not be romantic and that dogs eating spaghetti would look silly. Animator Frank Thomas was against Walt's decision and animated the entire scene himself without any lay-outs. Walt was impressed by Thomas's work and how he romanticized the scene and kept it in. On viewing the first take of the scene, the animators felt that the action should be slowed down, so an apprentice trainee was assigned to create "half numbers" in between many of the original frames.
Originally, the background artist was supposed to be Mary Blair and she did some inspirational sketches for the film. However, she left the studio to become a children's book illustrator in 1953. Claude Coats was then appointed as the key background artist. Coats made models of the interiors of Jim Dear and Darling's house, and shot photos and film at a low perspective as reference to maintain a dog's view. Eyvind Earle (who later became the art director of Disney's Sleeping Beauty) did almost 50 miniature concept sketches for the "Bella Notte" sequence and was a key contributor to the film.
Originally, Lady and the Tramp was planned to be filmed in a regular full frame aspect ratio. However, due to the growing interest of widescreen film among movie-goers, Disney decided to animate the film in CinemaScope making Lady and the Tramp the first animated feature filmed in the process. This new innovation presented additional problems for the animators: the expansion of space created more realism but gave fewer closeups. It also made it difficult for a single character to dominate the screen so that groups had to be spread out to keep the screen from appearing sparse. Longer takes become necessary since constant jump-cutting would seem too busy or annoying. Layout artists essentially had to reinvent their technique. Animators had to remember that they had to move their characters across a background instead of the background passing behind them. Yet the animators overcame these obstacles during the action scenes, such as Tramp killing the rat.
More problems arose as the premiere date got closer since not all theaters had the capability to show CinemaScope at the time. Upon learning this, Walt issued two versions of the film: one in widescreen, and another in the Academy ratio. This involved gathering the layout artists to restructure key scenes when characters were on the edges of the screen.
Lady and the Tramp was originally released to theaters on June 22, 1955. An episode of Disneyland called "A Story of Dogs" aired before the film's release. The film was also reissued to theaters in 1962, 1972, 1980, and 1986. Lady and the Tramp also played a limited engagement in select Cinemark Theatres from February 16–18, 2013.
Lady and the Tramp was first released on North American VHS and Laserdisc in 1987 as part of the Walt Disney Classics video series and in the United Kingdom in 1990. At the end of its initial home video release, it was reported to have sold more than three million copies becoming the best-selling videocassette at the time. It went into moratorium on March 31, 1988. It was released on VHS in 1998 as part of the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection video series. A Disney Limited Issue series DVD of the film was released on November 23, 1999 for a limited sixty-day time period.
After the first release on videotape, Peggy Lee sought performance and song royalties on the video sales. Disney CEO Michael Eisner refused, thus she filed suit in 1988. Eventually in 1992, the California Court of Appeals order Disney to pay Lee $3.2 million in compensation or about a 4% on the video sales.
Lady and the Tramp was remastered and restored for DVD on February 28, 2006, as the seventh installment of Disney's Platinum Editions series. On its first day, one million copies of the Platinum Edition were sold. The Platinum Edition DVD went on moratorium on January 31, 2007, along with the 2006 DVD re-issue of the film's sequel Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure.
Lady and the Tramp was re-released on Digital HD on February 20, 2018, and on Blu-ray February 27, 2018, as part of the Walt Disney Signature Collection line.
During its initial release, the film was initially panned by critics. Bosley Crowther of The New York Times claimed the film was "not the best [Disney] has done in this line. The sentimentality is mighty, and the CinemaScope size does not make for any less aware of the thickness of the goo. It also magnifies the animation, so that the flaws and poor foreshortening are more plain. Unfortunately, and surprisingly, the artists' work is below par in this film." Time wrote "Walt Disney has for so long parlayed gooey sentiment and stark horror into profitable cartoons that most moviegoers are apt to be more surprised than disappointed to discover that the combination somehow does not work this time." However, Variety deemed the film "a delight for the juveniles and a joy for adults".
However, the film has since gone on to become regarded as a classic. Dave Kehr, writing for The Chicago Tribune gave the film four stars. Animation historian Charles Solomon praised the film. The sequence of Lady and Tramp sharing a plate of spaghetti — climaxed by an accidental kiss as they swallow opposite ends of the same strand of spaghetti — is considered an iconic scene in American film history. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that the film received a 93% approval rating, with an average rating of 7.92/10, based on 41 reviews. The website's consensus states, "A nostalgic charmer, Lady and the Tramp's token sweetness is mighty but the songs and richly colored animation are technically superb and make for a memorable experience."
Lady and the Tramp was named number 95 out of the "100 Greatest Love Stories of All Time" by the American Film Institute in their 100 Years...100 Passions special, as one of only two animated films to appear on the list, along with Disney's Beauty and the Beast which ranked 34th. In 2010, Rhapsody called its accompanying soundtrack one of the all-time great Disney and Pixar soundtracks. In June 2011, TIME named it one of "The 25 All-TIME Best Animated Films".
In its initial release, the film took in a higher figure than any other Disney animated feature since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, earning an estimated $6.5 million in distributor rentals. When it was re-released in 1962, it grossed roughly between $6 million and $7 million. During its 1971 re-release, the film grossed $10 million, and when it was re-released again in 1980, it grossed $27 million. During its fourth re-release in 1986, it garnered $31.1 million.
|1956||BAFTA Awards||Best Animated Film||Nominated|
|David di Donatello Awards||Best Foreign Producer
|2006||Satellite Awards||Best Youth DVD||Nominated|
- American Film Institute Lists
|Lady and the Tramp|
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||September 9, 1997|
|Producer||Ted Kryczko (executive)|
The score for the film was composed and conducted by Oliver Wallace. It was the last Disney animated film for which Oliver Wallace did the score, as the scores for the next six Disney animated films were composed by George Bruns. Recording artist Peggy Lee wrote the songs with Sonny Burke and assisted with the score as well. In the film, she sings "La La Lu", "The Siamese Cat Song", and "He's a Tramp". She helped promote the film on the Disney TV series, explaining her work with the score and singing a few of the film's numbers. These appearances are available as part of the Lady and the Tramp Platinum Edition DVD set.
On November 16, 1988, Peggy Lee sued the Walt Disney Company for breach of contract, claiming that she retained the rights to transcriptions of the music, arguing that videotape editions were transcriptions. After a protracted legal battle, she was awarded $2.3 million in 1991.
|1.||"Main Title (Bella Notte) / The Wag of a Dog's Tail"||2:03|
|2.||"Peace on Earth (Silent Night)"||1:01|
|3.||"It Has a Ribbon / Lady to Bed / A Few Mornings Later"||3:53|
|4.||"Sunday / The Rat / Morning Paper"||1:44|
|5.||"A New Blue Collar / Lady Talks To Jock & Trusty / It's Jim Dear"||3:17|
|6.||"What a Day! / Breakfast at Tony's"||1:05|
|7.||"Warning / Breakout / Snob Hill / A Wee Bairn"||2:44|
|8.||"Countdown to B-Day"||2:05|
|9.||"Baby's First Morning / What Is a Baby / La La Lu"||3:11|
|10.||"Going Away / Aunt Sarah"||1:51|
|11.||"The Siamese Cat Song / What's Going on Down There?"||2:35|
|12.||"The Muzzle / Wrong Side of the Tracks"||1:54|
|13.||"You Poor Kid / He's Not My Dog"||1:23|
|14.||"Through the Zoo / A Log Puller"||1:59|
|15.||"Footloose and Collar-Free / A Night at the Restaurant / Bella Notte"||4:22|
|16.||"It's Morning / Ever Chase Chickens / Caught"||2:51|
|17.||"Home Sweet Home"||1:30|
|19.||"What a Dog / He's a Tramp"||2:24|
|20.||"In the Doghouse / The Rat Returns / Falsely Accused / We've Got to Stop That Wagon / Trusty's Sacrifice"||6:05|
|21.||"Watch the Birdie / Visitors"||2:05|
|22.||"Finale (Peace on Earth)"||0:31|
On February 27, 2001, Disney Television Animation released a direct-to-video sequel to the film titled Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure. Produced 46 years after its predecessor and set two years and a few months after the events of the first film, it centers on the adventures of Lady and Tramp's only son, Scamp, who desires to be a wild dog. He runs away from his family and joins a gang of junkyard dogs to fulfill his longing for freedom and a life without rules. Reviews for the sequel were generally mixed to negative, with critics panning its plot.
Walt Disney Pictures produced a live-action remake of the film with Justin Theroux and Tessa Thompson in the voice roles of Tramp and Lady respectively. The movie premiered on Disney's new streaming service, Disney+, on its US launch date of November 12, 2019.
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