1 The Mickey Mindset: Disney Animation Review #14 - Lady and the Tramp

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Disney Animation Review #14 - Lady and the Tramp

Disney Movie Review: 15/53 - Lady and the Tramp

One of the most delightful Disney films of the 1950s is Lady and the Tramp (1955). It is only the third Disney animated feature to primarily star animals (after Dumbo and Bambi), and it stands right up as a gem of Walt Disney’s career in animated film making. It is said that Lady and the Tramp was partially inspired by Walt Disney’s own cocker spaniel and thus the film was very special to him. It certainly shows.

The story of house-pet Lady and street-dog Tramp is timeless and original. The two dogs meet by mere chance and after a day of adventures they fall for one another. Lady is wooed by Tramp’s charm and spirit, and Tramp is swayed by Lady’s love of her human family. They are totally contradicting characters that compliment each other very well.

The most remarkable aspect of Lady and the Tramp is the impeccable animation. All of the animals and humans in the film are animated with livelihood and realism. It is some of the highest quality Disney animation to date and truly beautiful. The scenery, layouts, and artwork in the film are absolutely amazing. The colors are dark and brooding when necessary and bright and stunning in all the right places.
The story works very, very well. There are no real low-points and it keeps building and building. It is not episodic like Alice in Wonderland and it doesn’t lull like Peter Pan, making Lady and the Tramp one of Disney’s best story-efforts of this period.

Supporting characters such as Jaq the Scottish terrier and Trusty the bloodhound elevate the film. They are delightfully funny, adorable, and heroic. There are a handful of minor characters that only appear briefly but totally steal the show. These include Peg, voiced by the dynamite Peggy Lee as she sings “He’s a Tramp,” and Tony and Joe, the two Italian restaurateurs who give Lady and the Tramp that iconic bowl of spaghetti and sing the equally iconic song “Bella Notte.”

Lady and the Tramp is a true snapshot of life in this wonderful time period in small-town American life. Spouses called each other “darling” and “dear,” cameras left a cloud of smoke, horses still pulled cars, and the family dog was a crucial member of the family.
At its heart, Lady and the Tramp is a film full of warmth, love, and charm. It hits all of the right notes emotionally, comically, and musically. Like a good dog, Lady and the Tramp is always a delight to spend time with. It is an undeniably charming entry in the Disney animated feature canon and one of my favorites.

4.5/5 Meatballs 

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