Lady and the Tramp
Lady-and-tramp-1955-poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Story by
Based on"Happy Dan, The Cynical Dog"
by Ward Greene
Produced byWalt Disney
Starring
Edited byDon Halliday
Music byOliver Wallace
Production
company
Distributed byBuena Vista Film Distribution
Release date
  • June 22, 1955 (1955-06-22)
Running time
76 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$4 million[1]
Box office$187 million[2]

Lady and the Tramp is a 1955 American animated musical romance film produced by Walt Disney and released by Buena Vista Film Distribution. The 15th Disney animated feature film, it was directed by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, and Hamilton Luske, and features the voices of Barbara Luddy, Larry Roberts, Bill Thompson, Bill Baucom, Verna Felton, and Peggy Lee. The film was based on the 1945 Cosmopolitan magazine story "Happy Dan, The Cynical Dog" by Ward Greene, and tells the story of Lady the pampered Cocker Spaniel as she grows from puppy to adult, deals with changes in her family, and meets and falls in love with Tramp the homeless mutt.

Lady and the Tramp was released to theaters on June 22, 1955, to box office success. It was the first animated film to be filmed in the CinemaScope widescreen film process,[3] as well as Disney's first animated film to be distributed by their Buena Vista division. It initially received generally mixed reviews by film critics, but critical reception for the film has been generally positive in modern times. A direct-to-video sequel, Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure, was released on February 27, 2001, and a live-action/CGI hybrid remake premiered on November 12, 2019, as a launch title for the Disney+ streaming service.

Plot

In 1909, in a small Midwestern town, "Jim Dear" gives his wife "Darling" [a] a cocker spaniel puppy as a Christmas present. The puppy, named Lady, grows up pampered by her doting owners, and befriends her neighbors' dogs Jock (a Scottie) and Trusty (an elderly Bloodhound). Meanwhile, across town, a stray terrier-mix named Tramp feeds on scraps and handouts, and frees his friends Peg the Pekingese and Bull the Bulldog from the local dogcatcher.

Fleeing the angry dogcatcher, Tramp finds himself in Lady's neighborhood. He overhears a distraught Lady conversing with Jock and Trusty about her owners' suddenly-distant behavior towards her. When Jock and Trusty deduce this is because Darling is pregnant, Tramp inserts himself into the conversation as the "voice of experience", and warns Lady that "when a baby moves in, a dog moves out". Annoyed, Jock drives him from the yard. Tramp's words cause Lady to fret throughout Darling's pregnancy, but when the baby boy arrives, she is allowed to meet and bond with him, dispelling her fears.

Later, Jim Dear and Darling take a short trip, leaving the house, Lady, and the baby in the care of Jim Dear's aunt Sarah, who brings along her two Siamese cats Si and Am. Sarah dislikes dogs, and prohibits Lady from seeing the baby; later, the cats destroy the house, and pin the deed on Lady by pretending she injured them. Sarah takes Lady to the pet shop, and has a muzzle put on her; Lady panics and flees into the street, where she is pursued by three savage dogs, until Tramp intervenes to protect her.

Tramp takes Lady to the zoo to have the muzzle removed by a beaver; he then shows Lady his owner-free lifestyle, and they explore the town. The kindly proprietor of Tony's Restaurant gives them a spaghetti dinner to share, before they end the evening with a walk in the park. The next day, Tramp tries to convince Lady to live "footloose and collar free" with him; despite liking Tramp, she decides her duty is to watch over the baby. As Tramp escorts Lady home, he stops to chase some chickens; the dogcatcher pursues them both, but only Lady is caught. At the pound, she meets Peg, Bull, and some other strays, who all know Tramp. They reveal he has had many girlfriends in the past, and claim that females are his weakness.

Sarah comes to claim Lady, and chains her in the backyard as punishment for running away. Jock and Trusty propose that Lady should marry and come live with one of them, to escape the abuse, but she gently refuses them. When Tramp arrives to apologize to Lady, she berates him for his many girlfriends and sends him away, too. Afterwards, Lady notices a large rat sneaking into the house through the baby's bedroom window. Her attempts to alert Sarah fail, but Tramp hears her barking, returns, and enters the house himself to save the baby. Lady breaks her chain and follows soon after. Tramp is wounded in the battle with the rat, but manages to kill it behind a curtain. During the struggle, the baby's crib overturns, and he begins to cry; Sarah comes to investigate, and assumes the dogs attacked the baby.

Jim Dear and Darling return home to find that Sarah has locked Lady in the cellar and handed Tramp over to the dogcatcher to be euthanized. Disbelieving Sarah's story, Jim Dear frees Lady, who immediately shows them the dead rat. Overhearing the truth, Jock and Trusty pursue the dogcatcher's cart and try to stop it; the horses spook, causing the cart to crash. Jim Dear and Darling arrive with Lady to rescue Tramp, but Trusty is badly injured in the wreck.

Later, at Christmastime, Tramp has become an official part of the family, and he and Lady have four little puppies of their own. Jock and a mostly-healed Trusty visit the family; the puppies now provide Trusty a new audience for his old stories, but he has forgotten them, much to his and everyone else's amusement.

Cast

Production

Story development

In 1937, Walt Disney Productions 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.[4] 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.[4]

Walt Disney read the short story written by Ward Greene, titled "Happy Dan, the Cynical Dog", in the Cosmopolitan magazine, published in 1945.[5][6] 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.[7] The cynical dog had various names during development, including Homer, Rags, and Bozo, before "Tramp" was chosen.[5]

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.[5] 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.[4] There was a love triangle among Lady, Tramp, and a Russian wolfhound named Boris (who appears in the dog pound in the final version).[8]

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.[9]

In 1949, Grant left the studio, yet Disney story men were continually pulling Grant's original drawings and story off the shelf to retool.[4] A solid story began taking shape in 1953,[7] based on Grant's storyboards and Greene's short story.[4] 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.[10] Due to Greene's novelization, 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.[4]

Singer Peggy Lee not only voiced four characters but co-wrote six songs for the film.[11]

Animation

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.[4] 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.[12]

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.[10] 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.[10]

CinemaScope

Further information: CinemaScope

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.[5] This new innovation presented additional problems for the animators: the expansion of space created more realism but gave fewer closeups.[7] 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.[5] Longer takes become necessary since constant jump-cutting would seem too busy or annoying.[3] 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.[7] Yet the animators overcame these obstacles during the action scenes, such as Tramp killing the rat.[3]

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.[13]

Release

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.[14] The film was also reissued to theaters in 1962, 1972, 1980, and 1986.[15] Lady and the Tramp also played a limited engagement in select Cinemark Theatres from February 16–18, 2013.[16]

Home media

Lady and the Tramp was first released on North American VHS cassette 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.[17] It went into moratorium on March 31, 1988.[18] The video cassette had grossed $100 million in sales by 1988. Peggy Lee was asked to help promote the release, for which she was paid $500.[19] After its release on videotape, she 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 4% of the video sales.[11]

It was released on VHS again 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.[20]

Lady and the Tramp was remastered and restored for DVD on February 28, 2006, as the seventh installment of Disney's Platinum Editions series.[21] On its first day, one million copies of the Platinum Edition were sold.[22] 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.[23]

Lady and the Tramp was released on Blu-ray on February 7, 2012 as a part of Disney's Diamond Editions series.[24] A standalone 1-disc DVD edition was released on March 20, 2012.[25][26]

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.[27]

Reception

Critical reception

During its initial release, the film initially polarized critics.[28] 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."[29] 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."[30] However, Variety deemed the film "a delight for the juveniles and a joy for adults".[31] Harrison's Reports felt the "scintillating musical score and several songs, the dialogue and the voices, the behaviors and expressions of the different characters, the mellow turn-of-the-century backgrounds, the beautiful color and sweep of the CinemaScope process — all these add up to the one of the most enjoyable cartoon features Disney has ever made."[32] Edwin Schallert of the Los Angeles Times described the film as a "delightful, haunting, charmed fantasy that is remarkably enriched with music and, incidentally, with rare conversations among the canine characters."[33]

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.[34] Animation historian Charles Solomon praised the film.[35] 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.[36] The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that the film received a 93% approval rating, with an average rating of 7.9/10, based on 43 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."[37]

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.[38] In 2010, Rhapsody called its accompanying soundtrack one of the all-time great Disney and Pixar soundtracks.[39] In June 2011, TIME named it one of "The 25 All-TIME Best Animated Films".[40]

Box office

In its initial release, the film took in a higher figure than any other Disney animated feature since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,[14] earning an estimated $6.5 million in distributor rentals.[41] 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.[42] During its fourth re-release in 1986, it garnered $31.1 million.[43]

Lady and the Tramp has had a domestic lifetime gross of $93.6 million,[1][44] and a lifetime international gross of $187 million.[2]

Accolades

Year Ceremony Award Result
1956 BAFTA Awards[45] Best Animated Film Nominated
David di Donatello Awards[46]
  • Best Foreign Producer
  • (Walt Disney)
Won
2006 Satellite Awards[47] Best Youth DVD Nominated

American Film Institute Lists

Music

Lady and the Tramp
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedSeptember 9, 1997
GenreClassical
Length48:00
LabelWalt Disney
ProducerTed Kryczko (executive)
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[52]

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, starting with Sleeping Beauty until Robin Hood. Recording artist Peggy Lee wrote the songs with Sonny Burke and assisted with the score as well.[5] In the film, she sings "La La Lu", "The Siamese Cat Song", and "He's a Tramp".[53] 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.[5] 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.[54] After a protracted legal battle, she was awarded $2.3 million in 1991.[55]

The remastered soundtrack of Lady and the Tramp was released on CD by Walt Disney Records on September 9, 1997, and was released as a digital download on September 26, 2006.[56]

Songs

Original songs performed in the film include:

No.TitlePerformer(s)Length
1."Main Title (Bella Notte)"George Givot & The Disney Studio Chorus 
2."Peace on Earth"Donald Novis & The Disney Studio Chorus 
3."What Is a Baby"Barbara Luddy 
4."La La Lu"Peggy Lee 
5."The Siamese Cat Song"Peggy Lee 
6."Bella Notte"George Givot & The Disney Studio Chorus 
7."He's a Tramp"Peggy Lee & The Mellomen 
8."Finale (Peace on Earth)"Donald Novis & The Disney Studio Chorus 

Other media

Sequel

Main article: Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure

On February 27, 2001, Disney Television Animation and Disney Video Premiere 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.

Live-action remake

Main article: Lady and the Tramp (2019 film)

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.[57][58][59] The movie premiered on Disney's new streaming service, Disney+, on its US launch date of November 12, 2019.[60]

Video games

In the Kingdom Hearts games, a statue of Lady and Tramp appears in a fountain in Traverse Town.[citation needed]

In the world builder game Disney Magic Kingdoms, Lady, Tramp, Tony, Joe, Jock and Trusty appear as playable characters, along with some attractions based on locations of the film. In the game the characters are involved in new storylines that serve as a continuation of the film.[61]

Disney Parks and Resorts

Walt Disney wanted the setting of the film to be Marceline, Missouri which had been his childhood hometown. Whilst Lady and the Tramp was in production, Walt was also designing Disneyland in California and styled the Main Street, U.S.A. area of the park to Marceline. Tony's Town Square Restaurant is an Italian restaurant inspired by Lady and the Tramp and is located at Walt Disney World, whilst the Pizzeria Bella Notte restaurant is at Disneyland Paris.

See also

References

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  14. ^ a b Newcomb, Horace (2000). Television: The Critical View. Oxford University Press. p. 27. ISBN 0-19-511927-4.
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  19. ^ Hadden, Briton (1988). "Is That All There Is?". Time. Vol. 132, no. 19–26. p. 589. Disney asked Lee last year to help promote the release of the Lady and the Tramp cassette, paying a $500 "honorarium" — her only share of the video's $100 million in revenues.
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  23. ^ "Disney Closes the Vault". IGN. September 29, 2006.
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  52. ^ Lady and the Tramp at AllMusic
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  1. ^ We never learn their real names in the film. They only address each other by these terms of endearment, so others - the dogs in particular - do the same.