Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Lady and the Tramp

Lady and the Tramp Review

Lady and the Tramp is the fifteenth film from Walt Disney Animation Studios and it is their first film about dogs. Even though 101 Dalmatians is the better film, this film is still pretty good and even iconic in its own right.

The animation is still nowhere near the quality of that of ‘Pinocchio’ or ‘Snow White’, but it is one of the best from the fifties thanks to some incredibly beautiful and artistic sequences including a wonderful stylistic opening. It is colorful, but not garish with great outdoors cinematography as well as excellent character design.
The score is very good, but the songs are so-so. What is a Baby is just a plot device and not much of a song, Peace on Earth is solid and The Siamese Cat Song is very annoying. But there are of course He’s a Tramp which is definitely catchy as well as a great plot device and Bella Notte which is arguably a classic Disney song, beautifully sung and very romantic. The soundtrack is solid, but more along the lines of the movies from the same decade, notably ‘Peter Pan‘, and nowhere as close to something like Snow White or later Renaissance films. But there is no emphasis on songs here as well which is evident in their small quantity.
The characters in this movie are mostly well developed, especially the protagonists. Lady is very kind, romantic, caring and of course, as the name suggests, very ladylike and polite which is thanks to her being raised by humans. Tramp is very friendly, cunning and of course mischievous and laid-back, the qualities he earned from life on the street. Jock and Trusty are the sidekicks here and their care for Lady and friendship is very endearing, but their humor can be dated at times. Si and Am are the Siamese cats and they are probably the worst part in this movie thanks to their annoying voice and song and very racist overtones. They are clearly meant to be some sort of villains here because the movie has no real villains and that is perfectly fine because it does not need one, but those two are awful, especially nowadays because every Asian and of course cat owner could (and should) easily get offended by them. As for the human characters, they are unfortunately pretty underdeveloped, but at least the dogs are nicely realized and that is what matters here.

The story here is, like most dog pictures, animated or not, pretty straightforward and simple, but it serves its purpose and is a joy to watch. There is sometimes a lack of goal and the pacing can be slow and drags at some parts, but the protagonists more than make up for it. They are incredible, both their relationship and their evident chemistry. Their romantic sequences are the highlight of the film. There is the spaghetti scene which is incredibly romantic and simply charming with a wonderful animation and propelled by an outstanding song. It is inarguably the most famous scene in the whole film and one of the most iconic romantic moments in film history. But the scene where Tramp shows her the town and the opposing theme of life with humans versus life in the wild is greatly explored here and is such a great look at those very different types of lifestyles. It is a standout scene with charming animation that works both as a plot device and as a character study. Lady’s interaction with the humans is also very well done. From the moment she arrives, the first night where she does not want to sleep alone up till the changes in her life when the baby arrives, all those things are realistic and done in a great manner. And her intention to save the baby from the rat is very endearing and heartwarming as well as her naming of her owners. The ending is also sweet, there are great scenes with Jock and Trusty as well and He’s a Tramp part is very amusing, but also pretty risqué for a children’s film. The zoo sequence is not exactly a detour, but is dragged way too much and it has animals that are all dated stereotypes in their representation.

Lady and the Tramp has its many flaws including problematic pacing, some annoying characters, so-so soundtrack and humor and it is not exactly Old Yeller, but it is also pretty high on the list of classic dog films thanks to good character development, charming story, some iconic romantic moments and an overall effervescent tone making it quite a good little flick that is a joy to watch, especially for dog owners.

My Rating – 4

Posted in 1950s, 1955, Animated, Disney, MOVIE REVIEWS, Musical, Romance and tagged , , , , , , , .

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