Every member of the family will treasure Lady and the Tramp – loaded with three versions of the film, classic bonus material and three all-new features—when it heads home on Digital and on Movies Anywhere Feb. 20 and on Blu-ray on Feb. 27. I have been provided a complimentary copy of this film to facilitate this review.
Remember back in the 1970s when the only way you could see a movie was when it showed up in the theater or it had been around long enough that it might show up in a highly edited format as the ABC Movie of the Week on Sunday nights?
If this rings a bell, you might also remember that Disney movies followed suit. They were released in the theater to much fanfare (because there weren’t many kids movies back then). You could even buy the record album at the movie theater so you would have all the songs from the movie. And then the movie would go back into the “vault” until Disney decided to release it again.
Disney still has that “vault” but it’s much easier to crack it these days. Every few years, Disney releases a movie pack consisting of a DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital HD release and the next one to be released on February 27th is the 1955 classic, Lady and the Tramp.
It’s one that I remember watching as a kid (who can forget the lovely Bella Notte song while the dogs ate their spaghetti) but I couldn’t really remember the storyline. So I sat down with the family to watch and remember.
(And by the way, your 11 year old son is NOT too old to watch Disney cartoons. Don’t ask, just put it in, and press play. Trust me, he’ll watch).
First, a quick synopsis: The romantic tale of a sheltered uptown Cocker Spaniel dog (Lady) and a streetwise downtown Mutt (Tramp). It’s your classic good girl meets bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks. He thinks he has lessons to teach her but maybe she has a few lessons to teach him.
As we watched the movie as family while I was making dinner, we made a few observations that made for great conversation with my son.
1. There once was a simpler time.
Although this movie was made in 1955, we estimated that it’s set in the early 1900s. We saw a few cars but also plenty of horses and wagons. Ladies wore long dresses and men wore suites and hats. And the women were expected to rest and knit baby booties while they were with child. Yes, this is where Lady starts to feel on the outs with her family. Sadly, dogs often get pushed aside for the sake of babies.
2. Nobody wants to take the long walk at the dog shelter.
In one scene, Lady gets picked up by the dog catcher and taken to the pound. In the shadows, we see a dog trotting happily behind the dog catcher unknowingly heading through the one way door at the end of the hall. The implication is that he won’t be returning through that door. My son was a bit mortified. Yes, I was too. It’s sad that there are still so many unwanted dogs and cats out there.
3. You can get emotionally invested in a cartoon.
We were feeling terribly sad at the imaginary dog that took the long walk at the pound but something else really got us. Towards the end of the movie, Lady’s pals, Trusty and Jock run after the dog catcher after he’s called to haul Tramp away. They realize he’s a good mutt after all and give it their all to stop the wagon. Unfortunately, Trusty gets hit by the wheel of the wagon and we think it’s curtains for him.
At that moment, you could hear a pin drop in my house. Did they just kill Trusty the hound? I could see the look on my son’s face. I could feel the lump in my throat. Luckily, he ends up with a broken paw and we all breathed a big sigh of relief.
4. Rats are evil, baby-stealing creatures.
You could argue that the only real protagonist in this movie is the evil, baby-stealing rat. Lady feels it is her duty to watch over the baby but when Aunt Sarah chains her up outside, she’s helpless as she sees the rat crawl up the drainpipe and directly into the baby’s room.
I’m not sure what that rat intended to do to the baby but it was pretty clear that there were no pet rodents in the future of that household.
5. Never trust Aunt Sarah.
There are a couple of things I question about this movie. Like, why the parents suddenly had to go to China (I think) and leave their precious baby at such a young age. And why they brought in an old coot like Aunt Sarah. Sure, she may be fine at taking care of the baby but she clearly has no regards for dogs. She threw Lady out of the house, chained her up outside on a rainy night, and then threw her in the cellar when she tried to protect the baby.
My motto: Love my baby, love my dog.
It was fun for us to take a stroll down memory lane. It was a little shocking to see some of the stereotypes we laughed at back then (the exaggerated Italian chefs, the evil Siamese cats) but I’m glad to add this one to my collection. Although I talk about streaming movies so often, I love having this collection one day pass down to my, gulp, grandchildren.
Bonus Features for Lady and the Tramp
BLU-RAY & DIGITAL*:
- Original Theatrical Edition – Enjoy this cherished Disney classic that captivates audiences of all ages.
- Sing-Along Mode – Sing along with all your favorite songs as you watch the movie.
- Inside Walt’s Story Meetings – As you view the film, hear reenactments of Walt’s story sessions with animators and see how their ideas were realized on-screen.
New Signature Bonus
- Walt & His Dogs – Through archival recordings and photos, hear the tales of the dogs Walt Disney owned and loved over his lifetime.
- Stories from Walt’s Office – Take a tour of Walt’s office suite on the Studio lot, carefully re-created to look just as it did when he occupied it.
- How to Make a Meatball and Other Fun Facts About “Lady and The Tramp” – Watch a delicious lesson on how to make perfect meatballs with teen chef Amber Kelley and Oh My Disney Show Host Alexys Gabrielle.
- “Peace on Earth”
- “What Is a Baby/La La Lu”
- “The Siamese Cat Song”
- “Bella Notte”
- “He’s a Tramp”
Classic Bonus Features
- Diane Disney Miller: Remembering Dad – Walt’s daughter shares memories of her father and Disneyland’s early days, as well as a look at his apartment above the firehouse.
- Never-Recorded Song – “I’m Free as the Breeze” – Take a listen to a song originally meant to be sung by Tramp.
- Introduction of Boris – Tramp wasn’t always meant to be Lady’s only suitor. Meet Boris the aristocrat and Homer the peasant in this deleted scene.
- Waiting for Baby – Lady watches as Jim Dear plans out his new son’s future in this early storyboard.
- Dog Show – See the storyboards for this deleted scene in which Lady and Tramp unexpectedly find themselves in the middle of a dog show.
Classic Bonus Features on Digital Only*
- Lady’s Pedigree: The Making of “Lady and the Tramp” – A behind-the-scenes look at the making of Walt Disney’s first feature-length animated film based on an original story.
- Finding Lady: The Art of the Storyboard – Explore the origins of the storyboard and how they’re used by filmmakers today.
- Original 1943 Storyboard Version of the Film – View a unique presentation of the original 1943 storyboards for “Lady and the Tramp.”
- PuppyPedia: Going to the Dogs – Wild and wacky comedian Fred Willard takes us on an outing to the dog park to learn all about dogs and their owners.
- Turning the Tables – In this story-reel presentation, Tramp dreams of a world where dogs run the show and humans are on the other end of the leash.
- The Arrival of Baby – In this alternate scene re-created from original storyboards and with original voice talent, Lady makes way for a new arrival.
- Baby Arrives – Lady is baffled by the strange goings-on in the house—the arrival of a squealing bundle only deepens the mystery.
- Lady’s Sweater – Lady gets a new sweater for her birthday and must figure out an ingenious way to lose it for good.
- 1955 Original Theatrical Trailer – More than just a trailer, this preview features several minutes of footage from the film and introduces each major character.
- 1972 Theatrical Re-Issue Trailer – This trailer from the 1972 rerelease heralds Disney’s “happiest motion picture.”
- 1986 Theatrical Re-Issue Trailer – Released theatrically for the 1986 holiday season, this trailer highlights the love story between Lady and the handsome Tramp.
*Bonus features may vary by retailer