The yesteryears of Disney were full of classic movies from Aladdin to 101 Dalmations. Each of those films holds a special place in my heart due to its warmth and very colorful, cute story. Having never seen Lady and the Tramp before picking up this early copy, I didn’t know what to expect of the film. Many declare it to be one of Disney’s best, which is certainly a remark that is quite distinguished. Would Lady and the Tramp capture my emotions and heart like so many old, classic Disney fi…ms did years ago? Read on to find out.
The basic story to Lady and the Tramp is as follows. A man named Jim Dear gives his wife Darling a mysterious box for Christmas. Inside that box is the ever so cute little Cocker Spaniel puppy, which Darling decides to name Lady. Lady spends most of her period growing up with two neighborhood dogs, Trusty and Jock. One day a dog named Tramp walks over the railroad tracks. When Darling has a child, we are introduced to two super ugly and vicious cats, Si and Am, courtesy of Aunt Sarah. Due to these evil cats and the new baby, Lady winds up in the doghouse. What happens next is cinematic history. The Spaghetti scene and the start of a romance between Lady and Tramp.
As per old classic Disney films, we are treated to a film full of lovely little tunes. I found myself rather enjoying the tune Bella Notte sung during the infamous Spaghetti scene. While I didn’t enjoy a majority of the rest of the songs as I usually find myself doing with older Disney films, I still did find them a lot better than anything musical Disney has done in quite sometime.
This is not your typical Disney film like 101 Dalmations were we had a dog driven story, but we still saw a lot from the human perspective. Lady and the Tramp is more focused on the adventure from the dog’s point of view. And this is where the film’s charm and shine come through so easily. Lady and Tramp are so beautiful to look at (mostly due to the picture quality) that I found myself getting emotional in some scenes finding myself amazed that I had never experienced the quality of this film before.
While Lady and the Tramp is not Disney’s best effort to date (I leave that with either The Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast), the film is still so simple and enjoyable that anyone can sit down and spend 75 minutes enjoying themselves. It astounds me that Disney was so good and talented some time ago, yet now churns out video sequel after video sequel. Hopefully Disney will return to the days of old as the film’s they made are classics, including Lady and the Tramp.
Lady and the Tramp is presented in a beautiful, pristine, colorful, imagery, gorgeous, and breathtaking 2:55:1 Widescreen Aspect Ratio or a 1:33:1 FullScreen Ratio. With these Platinum Editions, Disney hires the best of the best to restore their classics to take them to a new level. It is evidently clear that Disney has done this. The image is so beautiful to look at with sharp colors, absolutely no grain and zero edge enhancements. In short, this is one of the best transfers Disney has ever done.
We are given the original Dolby Digital 3.0 Audio Track as well as a new Dolby Digital 5.1 enhanced home theater track. The real highlight of the track is, no real surprise, the musical performances, which sound lovely. Rear channels bring us colorful tunes while the center channel delivers simple dialogue. Oddly enough though, I found the Dolby Digital 3.0 Original Track to sound a little bit better than the 5.1 Track. The most noticeable difference is the musical performances, where the 5.1 Track tends to spread all the audio over many speakers, making the audio a bit hard to understand at points. While the 3.0 Track is preferred for me, the 5.1 track does its’ job if you want clear and clean dialogue. Not as impressive as the picture, the audio is still pretty satisfying.
Disney continues the tradition of COMPLETELY loading these Platinum Edition releases.
- Sneak Peeks: Here we get Sneak Peeks for The Little Mermaid, The Shaggy Dog, Chicken Little, Brother Bear 2, and Air Buddies.
- Deleted Scenes: Here we get a few Deleted Scenes. First up is Turning the Tables which is about dogs commanding humans. The scene is shown in a storyreel of audio and filmed storyboards. The second scene is The Arrivial of the Baby (Alternate Unused Concept) which is shows us a longer version of the already existing scene. While the scenes aren’t super thrilling, kids will enjoy them.
- The Siamese Cat Song: Finding a Voice for the Cats: Here we comments from Disney animator Eric Goldberg. Goldberg informs us about the vocal tests used for the Siamese Cat scene. We also see a few brief concept drawings of the cats.
- Music Video for Bella Notte: This music video is performed by Steve Tyrell and is rather dull and is worse than the original sound, which is a classic.
- Disney Virtual Puppy: This is a DVD-ROM feature which allows you to adopt a pooch from the film to interact with. A funny little game that kids will enjoy.
- Disney Dog Trivia: This is a feature the kids will love. This game asks various questions about the canines seen in Disney feature films and shorts. The questions aren’t really difficult, but kids will be entertained.
- Going to the Dogs: This feature is hosted by Fred Willard and gives us information about canines in general. The feature uses various Disney pups to illustrate information about dogs. A fun, little feature.
- Your Inner Bark: This feature is a type of Personality Profile quiz. The feature asks you a series of questions and then tells you which Tramp dog you resemble the most.
- Lady’s Pedigree: The Making of Lady and the Tramp: This is the beast of Disc Two. We learn about everything from Walt’s life in Marceline, Missouri (which is the basis for the film) to the town’s impact for the story of Lady and the Tramp This is an excellent making of that answers just about any question you could have about the film’s conception, the film’s production, the film’s release and the art of the film. Running at nearly 53 minutes, this making of is easily the highlight of the package.
- Finding Lady: The Art of the Storyboard: This feature deals with the basics of storyboards and their use in films. While the information presented is nothing new for historians in this subject area, for those who aren’t too familiar with storyboards, the feature does a great job presenting the information.
- Original 1943 Storyboards: This feature shows us the original pitch for Lady and the Tramp. We see Goldberg and Walt Disney Feature Animation story developer Burny Mattinson act out the pitch. This is definitely a treat for fans as it gives a new idea for Lady.
- Excerpts from Disneyland TV Shows: Here we brief excerpts from The Story of Dogs, Trailer for Story of Dogs and Cavalcade of Songs Story focuses on the creation of Lady and the Tramp as a whole. Cavalcade focuses on the film’s music and the recording of the music as a rough piece.
- Trailers: Here we get Trailers for the original 1955 version as well as the reissues from 1972 and 1986.
- Lady and the Tramp Galleries: Here we find five different categories of images. First up is a 105 images from Visual Development. Second is 76 images from Character Design. Third is 42 images from Storyboard Art. Fourth is 41 images from Layouts and Backgrounds. Lastly is 68 images from Producton Photos. The galleries, while they do take some time to look through, are worth the look as they give a good look at the film’s imagery.
Lady and the Tramp: 50th Anniversary Edition is such a charmingly beautiful film to watch and to simply look at. Containing a sweet story, amazing picture and fine audio, enough special features to last you plenty of quality time with the kids, this DVD comes highly recommended for any age. Come the release day, get yourself to your nearest DVD store and pick up this gem as Disney will lock-up this up in their vault at the end of the year. That is if the kids haven’t already been asking you for it.
Special Features List
- Deleted Scenes
- “The Siamese Cat Song”: Finding a Voice for the Cats
- “Bella Notte” Music Video
- Disney Virtual Puppy
- “Disney Dog” Trivia Virtual Board Game
- “Doing to the Dogs” Disneypedia
- “Your Inner Bark” Personality Profile
- “Finding Lady”: The Art of the Storyboard
- Original 1943 Storyboards
- Excerpts From Disneyland TV Shows
- Lady and the Tramp Galleries