A Few Words About A few words about...™ Lady and the Tramp -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I first saw Disney's Lady and the Tramp when I was nine. It immediately became a favorite, and has remained so. It was far more accessible to me at a young age than Alice in Wonderland, and just about on par with Peter Pan. I should note that the first film that I saw was a re-issue of Bambi.


    One must keep in mind that the Disney animated features of that era were far rarer than they are today, when there seems to be an almost continuous stream of product, not theatrical, direct to video.


    Back then, it was Alice in 1951, Peter in 1953, followed by Lady in 1955, and Sleeping Beauty in 1959. It would be another four years until Sword in 1963.


    Lady was a beautifully produced film, with incredibly rendered multi-plane animation. It was the first in CinemaScope, and only produced that way after it has already been shot flat. With the exception of Sleeping Beauty, which was Technirama, I can't off the top of my head, think of another widescreen production.


    As I was examining the Blu-ray, something came to mind that I'd not thought of before. All through the '60s, I had only viewed the film in 16mm flat. Now seeing it in 2.55, and in it's original CinemaScope format, it became readily obvious that something was missing from the image.


    The dreaded CinemaScope mumps. I asked around a bit, and the most reasonable cause would seem to be the relatively flat depth of field of the cells during photography. Mumps have not been digitally removed, and should have been obvious. An interesting point for further discussion.


    Set in approximately the same era as Meet Me in St. Louis, it takes on a similar small town ease. It was an era when small children (and dogs) could wander the countryside without fear of molestation, with the possible exception of the local dog-catcher.


    While not my personal technical style, the removal of grain has been discussed ad nauseam, so I'll not go into it again here. The Disney organization is desirous of creating a Blu-ray with a sparkling new image that looks to have been created yesterday, and with the exception of the glorious animation style, succeeds.


    There really is no way that a youngster could tell (or should care) that this film is not the latest and greatest from Pixar.


    Colors are vibrant, crisp, clean and clear, with nary of bit of Disney dust or minus density to be found. The clean-up job on the 57 year old element is perfect. Not that it would have been over-run, but dirt does gather.


    The aspect ratio is proper at 2.55:1, and audio can be had in one of two domestic flavors -- either as a new 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio mix, or the restored original.


    Lady and the Tramp is one of the finest of the true Classic Disney animated feature films. It stands the test of time, and I'm certain will continue to entertain generations of children (and their parents) for generations to come.


    It must be noted that the folks at Disney have made huge inroads toward getting their animation feature library to Blu-ray. While I may be missing something, it seems that when it comes to pure feature length animation, we're only missing Peter Pan, before reaching the more modern era of The Sword in the Stone, 101 Dalmatians and Jungle Book.


    The major missing title for me, is still my absolute favorite Disney -- South of the South.


    An absolutely gorgeous Blu-ray presentation.


    Very Highly Recommended.


    RAH
     
  2. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    Do you think we'll ever see Song of the South on home video again? Fortunately, I have the Japanese laserdisc, and can watch it at will.
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Hope springs eternal.
     
  4. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    Glad to see your recommendation of this one. The early widescreen Disney titles have always been personal favourites.
     
  5. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    And Cinderella (1950) though it's been announced for this fall.
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    As noted, I'm not being thorough. Thank you.
     
  7. Douglas Monce

    Douglas Monce Producer

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    The Black Cauldron (1985) was also shot in Technirama. Doug
     
  8. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Black Cauldron is an interesting film. Far better than one might suspect, especially from the original box office grosses. I believe it was planned as a new beginning for Disney animation, which was followed by two lackluster productions, before the studio came back into its own with The Little Mermaid.


    Hopefully, it too will make its way to Blu-ray, as the image quality coming from the 8 perf source should be beautiful.
     
  9. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I reviewed the 25th anniversary DVD release of the movie here. It's not one of the Disney animated films that I especially cherish, but the 2010 release should have been Blu-ray instead of merely DVD. Releasing only in that format and looking at the skimpy set of extras included in that release, it's pretty obvious Disney has a fairly low opinion of this film.
     
  10. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    You forgot "101 Dalmatians" in 1961...
     
  11. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Thank you. I believe I mentioned it somewhere. Where I can't recall.
     
  12. Cineman

    Cineman Stunt Coordinator

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    This was Disney's best animated feature of the 1950s imo. Cinderella might have had the more magical "Disney" moments and it would be my personal favorite of the '50s, but Lady and the Tramp was the best and most complete masterpiece of that era, surpassing what Disney thought would be his masterpiece in Sleeping Beauty. Bought it and it looks and sounds gorgeous.
     
  13. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer
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    Finally watched this and enjoyed the presentation quite a bit, but I did have a player compatibility issue. It would not play correctly on my Oppo BPD-93. Fortunately, I still have a PS3 in the system and handled the disc without any trouble.
     
  14. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Had no problem on a 93. You might consider calling Oppo, if you have not. They're always very helpful.


    RAH
     
  15. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer
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    Thanks. I did a little more research and found that I'm not the only one having the problem. Evidently clearing the persistent storage and turning the player off and back on tends to resolve the problem. Thanks for the suggestion about contacting Oppo. I'll call them, if this doesn't work for me.
     
  16. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    I think it's a highly underestimated entry in the Disney canon; probably because it hasn't got a princess!! But watching it again last week on blu, (and I think this was the first time I ever saw the widescreen version), made me appreciate it far more than I ever had. In terms of writing, pacing and exceptional animation, L&T delivers. This is a very well made film, much better than "Alice" that preceded it. And it holds up better than I thought, too. I really enjoyed revisiting this film on blu...!
     
  17. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    Just watched Lady and the Tramp with my kids. It's a movie my wife and I each saw in some Disney rerelease in the late 60s. We loved it then, and love it now. And our kids love it too. Wonderful film. Outstanding blu-ray--although as said in the review once in a while it seems a little "Pixared." The stuffed green chairs outside of the kitchen in the early scene when Lady is a pup seemed the wrong shade to me. They seemed a bit too electric. There were a few other little things like that throughout the film. Once in a while they were a little jarring, but for the most part I was just too wrapped up in the fun, the characters, and the beauty of the animation.
     
  18. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Producer

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    Also got a chance to watch this with my kids the other day. I thought it looked great. My memory may be fuzzy, but I remember the VHS transfer not being so great, and the DVD being an upgrade. I thought the blu-ray looked about as good as it can; crisp images and vibrant colors. I agree that the other version of the film (with different ratio) should also have been included, but I am glad to have the widescreen.
     
  19. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    It sounds like they screwed with the colour on this release, just like all their other Blu-ray releases of classic animation.
     
  20. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    Yes, I'd say that's true. But as RAH says in his original review, it's still a fine release of one of the very best animated films ever made. My suggestion is to buy and enjoy—but I can pretty much guarantee that you'll grit your teeth in a couple of places....I did.:)
     

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