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Lady and the Tramp

Lady and the Tramp is a 1955 animated feature film produced by Walt Disney, and originally released to theaters on June 22, 1955 by Buena Vista Distribution. The fifteenth animated feature in the Disney animated features canon, it was the first animated feature filmed in the Cinemascope widescreen film process. The story pairs a female American Cocker Spaniel named Lady who lives with a prosperous, upper middle-class family, and a male stray mutt named Tramp.

Plot

Lady is a Christmas gift from "Jim Dear" to his wife, "Darling" (as Lady hears them call each other) and soon quickly becomes the center of their attention. When Lady is six months old, she is given a blue collar and a license, of which she is very proud. She quickly shows them to her older, male friends; Jock, a black Scottish Terrier and Trusty, a brown Bloodhound who both live in the same street on either side of Lady's home. Jock is a typical "thrifty" scot (it is said He still has the first bone He ever buried in His backyard "Bone Bank"). Trusty is a true "southern gentleman", who always addresses Lady as "Miss Lady". But Trusty has a shameful secret; while he was once a fearless tracker of convicts through the southern swamps, he has now lost his sense of smell. But as Jock tells Lady; "We must never let on that we know, Lassie. It would break his poor heart".

A little later, she encounters another dog – a stray called "Tramp". When Lady becomes concerned that Darling is pregnant, the streetwise Tramp describes it as an omen for things to come, claiming that "when the baby moves in, the dog moves out". Jock and Trusty (especially Jock) take an immediate dislike to Tramp, and his brash, "streetwise" ways. They try to reassure Lady that "a dog's best friend is his human"; and no human owner of a dog would subject it to the heartless disregard Tramp implies, when a new baby is born. But still, Lady wonders and worries.

Lady feels that Jim Dear and Darling are not giving her as much attention as before, as Darling's pregnancy advances. But finally the baby comes, and Lady falls in love with it at first sight. To add to her joy, Jim Dear and Darling pat and stroke her as she watches the baby, thus making Lady realize that nothing has changed in her owners feelings for her. Soon after the baby is born however, Jim Dear and Darling go away for a few days, and Jim Dear's elderly Aunt Sarah comes to look after the baby. Aunt Sarah has two Siamese cats, Si and Am, who explore, causing mischief. During the memorable musical number "We Are Siamese (If You Please)," Lady manages to keep the goldfish and canary safe from harm; but she barks and chases the cats when Si and Am try to go to the baby's room, and steal its milk. Aunt Sarah believes that Lady is the cause of all the mischief (particularly when the cats put on a fake, "wounded" act). Aunt Sarah then takes Lady to a pet shop to have her fitted with a muzzle. Lady becomes terrified with the mistreatment (i.e. the muzzle) and escapes from the pet shop out into the street, becoming still more terrified in the process.

Tramp rescues Lady from a pack of vicious street dogs, and takes her to the zoo, where they meet a beaver who can remove Lady's muzzle. After the muzzle is removed, Tramp walks Lady around town, telling her about his life as a free dog and all the different families he visits for food. He then takes Lady to Tony's Restaurant, where Tony orders Joe the cook to prepare them a delicious dinner of spaghetti and meatballs. Tony and Joe then serenade the two canine lovers with the love song "Bella Notte". Lady and Tramp then go for a long, romantic walk in the park; and eventually out to a scenic view on top of a hill, overlooking the town (with other "human" lovers in carriages nearby). The next morning Tramp tries to talk Lady into staying with him, but Lady feels She has a duty to her owners, and a responsibility to watch over the baby. Tramp sadly and reluctantly agrees to take her home. On the way, he tries to show her how to chase chickens at a farm (for the "fun of it"), but Lady is captured by the dog catcher and taken to the pound. The other dogs in the pound at first tease Lady a bit, but then they befriend her (especially Peg the Show-Girl Dog, and Boris the Borzoi). They all talk about the Tramp's many girlfriends in the past, and Peg explains in further detail with the song "He's a Tramp". Toughy and Bull say "he'll never settle down – just keeps breakin' hearts". Boris however points out that someday Tramp might meet someone different and special - like Lady, perhaps. But then all the dogs agree that when that happens, it could lead Tramp to grow careless and then the dog catcher could get him, and:"...it'll be curtains for the Tramp". Lady is very distraught by all of this, but she is soon identified by her dog license and taken home. However, Aunt Sarah chains her to a kennel in the backyard in disgrace. Jock and Trusty try to visit and comfort her, even going so far as trying to "propose" to Lady. Lady is very touched by their chivalry, but gently turns down their offers.

Tramp then pays her a call, but she is furious about his "other girlfriends" and refuses to see him. Jock and Trusty volunteer to throw Tramp out, but Lady says that won't be necessary. She tells Tramp to leave and never come back. Tramp departs sadly and shamefully, but as he does, a rat sneaks into the house. Lady sees the rat and barks frantically, but Aunt Sarah just opens the window and tells Lady to hush. Tramp however, also hears Lady's frantic barking, and races back to her yard. Lady tells him about the rat, and how to get into the house, through the little dog-door in the back-door. Tramp hurries into the house and upstairs to the baby's room. Tramp kills the rat, but in the process he tips over the baby's crib. Aunt Sarah wakes up, and in thinking that the toppled crib is a sign of an attempt by Tramp on the baby's life, calls the dog pound and demands that the dog catcher come to collect Tramp; meanwhile, Lady is locked in the cellar. Just as the dog catcher is collecting Tramp, Jim Dear and Darling return home and release Lady. Lady runs upstairs. Jim Dear, Darling and Aunt Sarah all follow her, see the dead rat and realize that Tramp meant to protect the baby and kill the rat.

Jock and Trusty, who have overheard everything, now realize that they misjudged Tramp, and Trusty determines that they've got to save him. Miraculously, in spite of his impaired, lost sense of smell, Trusty finds the trail of the dog catcher's wagon. They chase the wagon on foot, while Jim Dear and Lady race in the car to intercept it. The dogs confront the horses pulling the wagon, which topples over. Jim Dear and Lady arrive in the car, and Lady races out to nuzzle Tramp through the mesh of the door. But then Lady discovers that Trusty is trapped under the wheel of the wagon. Jock is convinced Trusty is dead and he begins to howl in anguish.

By Christmas, Tramp has long been adopted by Jim Dear and Darling, and now has his own dark red collar - complete with license. Lady has given birth to her and Tramp's four puppies; three adorable little girls that look just like their mother, and one rascally little boy (the future "Scamp") who all too obviously takes after Dad. They are all photographed together with the baby. Just then, Jock and Trusty arrive; it turns out Trusty had actually survived the accident and had left with only an injured leg. Trusty comments on how he caught the scent of Tramp's new collar the moment he set foot in the house. Jock tells Lady they're be no living with Trusty from now on. But Trusty's long-winded reminicences notwithstanding, it's a happy ending for all.

Production

The film was based on a short story written by Ward Greene, called Happy Dan, The Cynical Dog, published in the mid-1940s in Cosmopolitan (a literary magazine at that time), about a mutt from the wrong side of the tracks; and a story line worked on for several years by Disney story man Joe Grant and others at the Disney studio, about a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Lady, based on Grant's own pet, a Springer Spaniel named Lady (his dog was brown and white while Lady was honey-colored all over). 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.

Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.55:1 it is, to date, the widest film that Disney has ever produced.

The finished film is slightly different from what was originally planned. Although both the original script and the final product both shared most of the same elements, it would still be revised and revamped. Originally, Lady was to have only one next door neighbor, a Ralph Bellamy-type canine named Hubert. Hubert was later replaced by Jock and Trusty. There were numerous scenes thought up but then deleted, as well. One scene created but then deleted was one in which, while Lady fears of the arrival of the baby, she has a "Parade of the Shoes" nightmare (similar to Dumbo's "Pink Elephants on Parade" nightmare) where a baby bootie splits in two, then four, and continues to multiply. The dream shoes then fade into real shoes, their wearer exclaiming that the baby has been born. Another cut scene was one in song, while Lady and Tramp are at the park, they engage in a bizarre Dog's World fantasy in which the roles of both dogs and humans are switched; the dogs are the masters and vice-versa.

Jock's real name, as is revealed during the movie, is "Heather Lad o' Glencairn." Jock was not the only character who was the subject of a name-game either. In fact, Lady was just about the only character who did not at one point or another have a different suggested name. For instance, prior to being "Tramp," Tramp went through a number of suggested names including Homer, Rags and Bozo. It was thought in the 1950s that the name "Tramp" would not be acceptable, but since Walt Disney approved of the choice, it was considered safe under his acceptance. On early story boards shown on the Backstage Disney DVD had listed description "a tramp dog" with "Homer" or one of the mentioned prior names. Clearly, the movie's title was influenced by the pop standard "(That's Why)The Lady is a Tramp".Tramp Tramp himself never refers to himself by that name, although most of the movie's canine cast refer to him by that name. It isn't until the second film in which any human calls 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 movie, and when asked by Lady about having a family, Tramp states, "I have a different family for every day of the week, point is none of them have me." Each family mentioned had a different name (such as Mike and Fritzi), nationality, and meal. Since he doesn't belong to a single family, Tramp implies it is easier than the baby problems Lady is going through. "When you're footloose and collar free, you have no worries.

Even though Trusty survives in the film, death is still shown in the dog pound. A dog known as "Nutsy" is put down. He is taken away and the lights sort of blink, and Lady asks, "You mean he's..." and the reply was yes. In the case of Lady and the Tramp it was to show what Tramp's fate would be with the dog catcher. This is done in future Disney animation, as in The Fox and the Hound. Tod's mother is shot at the beginning of the film (albeit off-screen), and we see the skins of animals including foxes later in the film. This is unlike other films where someone dies, such as in Bambi, where audiences were familiar with Bambi's mother, or in The Lion King, where everybody was familiar with Mufasa.Aunt Sarah The character that eventually became Aunt Sarah was softened for the movie, in comparison with earlier treatments, where she was a very stereotyped battleaxe of a mother-in-law. In the film, she is a well-meaning busybody of a maiden aunt (revealed to be the sister of Darling's mother in the Greene novelization) who adores her cats, but does not believe that dogs should be around babies. She was more sympathetic in the Ward Greene novelization, where she actually rides to The Tramp's rescue in her electric car, after the dead rat is found. Likewise, the two cats (Si and Am) are more mischievous than evil in the film. However, earlier versions of the storyline, drafted in 1943, during the War, show them as a sinister pair suggesting the yellow peril, and named Nip and Tuck. In Ward Greene's novelization, they tearfully express remorse over causing Tramp's impending execution by hiding the rat's body as a joke, and then try to make amends – in the film, they simply don't figure in the climax at all, and the body of the rat isn't seen until Lady brings it to the attention of the humans. The rat, a somewhat comical character in some early versions, became a great deal more frightening, due to the need to ratchet up dramatic tension--though he was a decidedly malevolent bloodthirsty figure in Greene's 1953 book, so this conception must have been jettisoned very early on. The finished film doesn't really have much to say about Aunt Sarah or the cats, after they serve their purpose in the narrative (to get Lady out on the streets, and Tramp sent off to the pound). Si and Am are not seen after their memorable song sequence, and Aunt Sarah is only briefly mentioned at the end of the film, when it is mentioned that she has sent some dog biscuits for Christmas, presumably as an apology for having so badly misunderstood Lady and Tramp.Jim Dear and Darling In pre-production, Jim Dear was known as Jim Brown, and Darling was named Elizabeth. These were dropped, presumably because the humans in Lady's life were meant to be known by the names Lady always heard them call each other. In a very early version, published as a short story in a 1944 Disney children's anthology, Lady refers to them as "Mister'"and "Missis".

According to legend, the film's opening sequence, in which Darling unwraps a hat box on Christmas morning and finds Lady inside, is based upon an actual incident in Walt Disney's life. After he'd forgotten a dinner date with his wife, he made it up to her by offering her the puppy-in-the-hat-box surprise and was immediately forgiven.

Due to the fact that the story is told from a dog's perspective, Darling and Jim's faces were rarely shown. Models of the rooms of the house were used to aid in production of the film.

The Beaver in this film seemed to be the inspiration for Gopher in Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966), down to the speech pattern (a whistling sound when he makes the "S" sound). This voice was created by Stan Freberg, who has an extensive background in commercial and comedy recording voice overs and soundtracks. On the DVD he demonstrates how it was done and that a whistle was eventually used because it was hard to continue repeating the effect.

Before animating the fight between Tramp and the rat, animator Wolfgang Reitherman kept rats in a cage next to his desk to study their actions.

The plot originally intended to have Trusty die at the end of the film while saving Tramp from the dogcatcher, which is why Jock howls at his accident. Walt Disney, however, did not want a repeat of the controversy concerning the death of the mother in Bambi, and therefore Trusty was written into the epilogue sequence to say that he was merely injured. Since he had clearly not been around for several months, one must assume he had to have extensive surgery, and when he appears again he only has a bandaged leg. This is probably the First Disney film where the heroes of the film's climax, Jock and Trusty, are not the main protagonists, the second being Wall-E.

The famous spaghetti scene and the following night in the park is one of the most romantic moments in all of Disney animation. Like the sequence with Lady at the pound, it does not appear at all in Ward Greene's novelization, or any other earlier version of the story. It has been parodied on many occasions, including in the film's own sequel, Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure. Lady and the Tramp was named the 95th best american romance by the American Film Institute in their A hundred years a hundred passions.

The Simpsons has parodied the film twice, particularly the famous spaghetti scene.

The spaghetti scene was recreated in the movie Hot Shots! Part Deux right down to the pushing of a meatball with the nose.

Release

The film was reissued to theaters in 1962, 1971, 1980, and 1986, and on VHS and Laserdisc in 1987 (this was in Disney's The Classics video series) and 1998 (this was in the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection video series). A Disney Limited Issue series DVD was released on November 23, 1999. It was remastered and restored for DVD on February 28, 2006, as the seventh installment of Platinum Edition series. One million copies of the Platinum Edition were sold on February 28, 2006 The Platinum Edition DVD went on moratorium on January 31, 2007, along with the 2006 DVD reissue of Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure

Peggy Lee, who, along with Sonny Burke, created the songs for the film, later sued the Walt Disney Company for breach of contract claiming that she still retained rights to the transcripts, including those to videotape. She was awarded $2.3m, but not without a lengthy legal battle with the studio which was finally settled in 1991.

This film began a spinoff comic titled Scamp, named after one of Lady and Tramp's puppies. It was first written by Ward Greene and was published from October 31, 1955 until 1988. Scamp also stars in a direct-to-video sequel in 2001 titled Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure. Walt Disney's Comic Digest — issue #54 has A New Adventure of Lady and the Tramp dated copyright 1955.

Lady and the Tramp theatrical release history

  • June 22, 1955 (original release)
  • September 26, 1962
  • June 13, 1966 (Washington DC premiere)
  • December 17, 1971
  • March 7, 1980
  • December 19, 1986
  • February 2006 - Special two-week premier at Disney's El Capitan Theatre, a promotion for the 50th Anniversary DVD release.

Worldwide release dates

Critical reception

Despite being an enormous success at the box office, the film was initially panned by many critics. However the film has since come to be regarded as a classic. On Rotten Tomatoes the film holds a rating of 91%, though only 23 reviews are counted.

Soundtrack

  1. Main Title (Bella Notte) /The Wag of a Dog's Tail
  2. Peace on Earth (Silent Night)
  3. It Has a Ribbon/Lady to Bed/A Few Mornings Later
  4. Sunday/The Rat/Morning Paper
  5. A New Blue Collar/Lady Talks To Jock & Trusty/It's Jim Dear
  6. What a Day!/Breakfast at Tony's
  7. Warning/Breakout/Snob Hill/A Wee Bairn
  8. Countdown to B-Day
  9. Baby's First Morning/What Is a Baby/La La Lu
  10. Going Away/Aunt Sarah
  11. The Siamese Cat Song/What's Going on Down There
  12. The Muzzle/Wrong Side of the Tracks
  13. You Poor Kid/He's Not My Dog
  14. Through the Zoo/A Log Puller
  15. Footloose and Collar-Free/A Night At The Restaurant/Bella Notte
  16. It's Morning/Ever Chase Chickens/Caught
  17. Home Sweet Home
  18. The Pound
  19. What a Dog/He's a Tramp
  20. In the Doghouse/The Rat Returns/Falsely Accused/We've Got to Stop That Wagon/Trusty's Sacrifice
  21. Watch the Birdie/Visitors
  22. Finale (Peace on Earth)

Voice cast

References

External links

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