Blu-ray Review Lady and the Tramp: Diamond Edition Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Matt Hough, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    For many baby boomers, Walt Disney’s Lady and the Tramp was likely the first Disney animated title seen, and what a wonderful film it is to introduce a child to the wonders of Disney animated storytelling! With an original tale, a tuneful song score and with the focus on a veritable host of man’s best friends, Lady and the Tramp makes for truly enchanting entertainment.



    Lady and the Tramp: Diamond Edition (Blu-ray Combo Pack)
    Directed by Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson

    Studio: Disney
    Year: 1955
    Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1   1080p   AVC codec
    Running Time: 76 minutes
    Rating: G
    Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, 3.0 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Spanish
    Subtitles: SDH, Spanish, French

    Region: A-B-C
    MSRP: $ 39.99


    Release Date: February 7, 2012

    Review Date: February 3, 2012




    The Film

    4.5/5


    Lady (Barbara Luddy), a honey-colored cocker spaniel, lives a carefree existence with her masters Jim Dear (Lee Millar) and Darling (Peggy Lee), and two neighborhood purebreds Jock the Scottie (Bill Thompson) and Trusty the bloodhound (Bill Baucom) also keep her entertained. But Lady’s life changes when Darling gives birth to a baby boy and Jim and his wife must leave town for a few days leaving her in the care of crusty Aunt Sarah (Verna Felton) with her two wicked Siamese cats. Local scalawag Tramp (Larry Roberts) from the other side of the tracks is around to teach Lady the facts of life about humans and their foibles which leads to an exciting series of adventures for her. But a dangerous rat keeps snooping around the yard looking for a way into the house, and Lady, banished to the yard by Aunt Sarah, needs the help of her friends to protect the baby.


    By viewing the story from the dog’s perspective and filming it in Cinemascope (Disney’s first animated feature in a widescreen process), we rightly see the world from the canine perspective with mostly legs and feet of the humans and much more of interest from a ground’s eye view. Thus Lady and the Tramp offers a unique landscape for its storytelling making it truly one of a kind. Disney’s animators aren’t afraid to go to the darker places in the story either as a vicious dog fight, a death row walk for a pooch at the pound, and the sequences with the frightening rat (not to mention the exhilarating climactic chase sequence) all keep the story tense and taut. There’s humor, too, in the very appealing personalities of all of the dogs (the dog pound sequence apart from the “green mile” moment offers plenty of delicious laughter springing from bright writing for the different personalities), and the animators’ uncanny abilities to capture dogs stretching and whimpering and barking and eating that make them come vividly alive. There's real sophistication in the drawing, too, as the directors stage a really fluid, effortless series of transitions as Tramp describes the changes in store for Lady once the baby arrives.


    As with so many of the best Disney films, songs play a key part in a movie’s most memorable moments. The Sonny Burke-Peggy Lee songs are all lovely from the “Peace on Earth/Silent Night” introduction setting our scene in the early 20th century to Darling’s tender “La-la-Lu” lullaby to her new baby and the vampy Peg’s “He’s a Tramp” at the pound accompanied by the most memorable dog chorus in the history of the movies. And, of course, no discussion of Lady and the Tramp could possibly be complete without mention of “The Siamese Cat Song” as we get to know the cunning Si and Am (both sung by Peggy Lee) as they explore their new digs looking for mischief and the ultimate in romance “Bella Note” where our two heroes fall in love over a luscious spaghetti dinner while serenaded by restaurant owner Tony (George Givot) and his assistant Joe (Bill Thompson).


    As usual, Disney has chosen voices that capture perfectly the essence of these characters. Barbara Luddy’s innocent, inexperienced Lady is delightful and matchlessly paired with the raffish dog-about-town of Larry Roberts’ Tramp. Peggy Lee does quadruple duty as Darling, Peg, Si, and Am and is superb in every one of her guises. Likewise superlative is Bill Thompson whose Jock is a faithful feisty fellow and also does wonderful work as Bull, a cockney bull terrier at the pound, a zoo policeman, and the Italian Joe. Verna Felton is her usual determined if a bit dotty self as Aunt Sarah, and Stan Freberg’s sibilant Beaver makes for an expressive few minutes of screen time.



    Video Quality

    5/5


    The film’s original 2.55:1 Cinemascope aspect ratio is retained in this 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Colors are very rich but are never overpowering, and sharpness is sublimely perfect bringing out much detail in the animation. There is no banding at all to spoil the pristine appearance of this latest Disney classic. The film has been divided into 22 chapters.



    Audio Quality

    4.5/5


    The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix makes the film’s song score by Sonny Burke and Peggy Lee and Oliver Wallace’s masterful background score the primary elements for surround envelopment. The orchestrations accompanying the singers get heard clearly for the first time in this encode, and the “Silent Night” counterpoint melody to the introductory “Peace on Earth” comes through distinctly this time around as well. There aren’t a great number of sound effects placed in the fronts and rears (some thunder makes itself heard distinctly), but there are some notable examples of directionalized dialogue to be heard even though most of the dialogue is focused rightly in the center channel. Also available in a lossless DTS-HD MA 3.0 encode is the film’s original soundtrack restored and sounding quite impressive on its own.



    Special Features

    4.5/5


    An introduction to the film is by Diane Disney Miller which runs for 1 ¼ minutes in 1080p.


    Disney’s Second Screen offers Walt’s story meetings as an optional audio commentary track for those who aren’t using their computers or iPads to watch graphic pop-ups, storyboards, and photographs illustrating parts of the story as the film plays.


    “Remembering Dad” is a 7 ¾-minute remembrance by Walt Disney’s daughter Diane about Walt’s special room over the firehouse in Disneyland and about the Walt Disney Museum which now houses some pieces from that room in the park. It’s in 1080p.


    Three deleted scenes which use storyboards/sketchbook forms may be watched separately or in one 19 ¼-minute bunch.


    The unused song “I’m Free as a Breeze” for Tramp was recorded in 1946 and is presented in this 1 ½-minute vignette.


    These features have been ported over from the 2006 DVD release of the movie. They’re all in 480i:


    • “Lady’s Pedigree: The Making of Lady and the Tramp is a 52 ½-minute documentary tracing the development of the story from Joe Grant’s original 1937 conception and touching on which animators illustrated which characters and backgrounds, the songs and background score, the voice cast, and the use of Cinemascope.
    • “Finding Lady: The Art of the Storyboard” is a 13-minute lesson on the importance of storyboards not only in feature animation but the way they are also used by live action filmmakers such as Alfred Hitchcock and Kevin Costner (who is interviewed).
    • The original 1943 storyboard version of the film in which Tramp is named Homer is presented in 11 ¾ minutes.
    • Puppypedia: Going to the Dogs offers comic actor Fred Willard a chance to explain the seven groups that dogs are classified into with examples of each. This runs 9 ¼ minutes.
    • “The Siamese Cat Song” shows the song being sung by a variety of voices (not Peggy Lee’s) in this 1 ¾-minute vignette.
    • “Bella Notte” music video is sung by Steve Tyrell and runs for 3 minutes.
    • Three trailers represent the 1955 original release and the 1972 and 1986 re-releases.
    • Excerpts from two Disneyland television shows feature behind-the-scenes glimpses on the making of Lady and the Tramp. “The Story of Dogs” runs for 17 ½ minutes while “Cavalcade of Songs” runs 21 ¾ minutes.

    The disc offers promo trailers for Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3, Cinderella, and Brave.


    The second disc in the set is the DVD version of the movie.



    In Conclusion

    4.5/5 (not an average)


    Exciting, tuneful, funny, and romantic, Lady and the Tramp comes to Blu-ray in a lovely new edition. While the original flat screen version of the movie was not among the supplements (or offered via BD-Live), the bonus features that are here do enhance one’s appreciation for this delicious Disney delight. Highly recommended!




    Matt Hough

    Charlotte, NC

     
  2. ahollis

    ahollis Producer

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    Thanks Matt. I was planning on picking this up, for next to Pinocchio this is my favorite Classic Disney animated film. Now your thoughts and review of this release makes me wish tomorrow was Tuesday.
     
  3. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Screenwriter

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    My only regret about this release is that Disney failed to include the 1.37:1 Academy ratio presentation produced simultaneously for non-widescreen theaters in 1955...they had plenty of room for it, IMO!!! That said, this is a no-brainer pickup for me next Tuesday...
     
  4. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    This is going to be a real treat. I remember being taken to see the film and of course loving it, but it wasn't one I found myself returning to more than a couple of times over the years. There's no reason for that, I just never seemed to cross paths with it -- until, as an adult, I acquired the laserdisc and the platinum DVD. Even then, I think I've only watched ieach of those once, and that's just crazy, man. I sure do look forward to seeing it in all its glory Tuesday evening.


    I'm blanking on whether we have the authentic 1.37:1 version on one of the earlier home video releases. Do we?
     
  5. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    It was released once upon what I believe was the 1998 reissue. There was a full screen Laserdisc of it alongside the widescreen version. I'm thinking that the 1.37:1 version was used for the VHS also, but I never had it to confirm. I know that the '80s video was pan/scan from scope, and the 2005 DVD had a pan/scan as an option as well.
     
  6. Guest

    The 1998 vhs did have the 1.37 version. It was also missing a couple of lines of dialogue. Those lines may have never been in that mix.


    Edit- I should say that it had the theatrically released 1.37 version, not a pan/scan of the Cinemascope version.
     
  7. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer
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    I can't wait to pick this up. Thanks for the review Matt.
     
  8. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

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    Friends of mine who are big Disney buffs and also work for Disney, tell me that the flat version of Lady has never been on home video. All other versions were panned scanned
     
  9. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    Even though I am a passionate cat lover, and the cats are villains in this film, I still love it and have it on preorder. Does the "second screen" require that the blu-ray player be connected to the web?
     
  10. MattPeriolat

    MattPeriolat Supporting Actor

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    No, your tablet can also synch via sound through the microphone. It's not as reliable as a 'net connection, but it does work.


    Anxious to get this one for my collection, but I also want to see if the "Story of Dogs" segment is different than the one on the Pluto Treasures DVD. If so, means we may have roughly a complete episode of the Disneyland television series for my archives, which would make me very happy.
     
  11. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    Your friends are mistaken. While it is correct to say the specially-prepared Academy frame version has never been on DVD, it was out on Laserdisc. I know this for a fact because I owned both Laserdiscs and did comparisons. I'll see if I can post a DVD / Laserdisc comparison shot later on.
     
  12. Guest

    The flat version the of Lady and the Tramp was on vhs...I have it! It's not a pan/scan version. The opening titles are correct for this version, there is no pan/scanning of the image, and the compositions are slightly different. I have the original vhs from 1987 as well, and it is the pan/scan version.
     
  13. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    For the record, here is exactly what has been released: 1987 - VHS and Laserdisc - CinemaScope version panned-and-scanned (1.33:1) 1998 - VHS and Laserdisc - Separate Widescreen (CinemaScope 2.35:1) and Academy frame composition (1.33:1) releases 1999 - DVD Widescreen (Cinemascope 2.35:1 Letterboxed) direct port of the Widescreen Laserdisc. 2006 - DVD Widescreen (Cinemascope 2.55:1 Anamorphic) included pan-and-scan version (1.33:1) 2012 - BD and DVD Widescreen (CinemaScope 2.55:1) The Masterpiece Collection edition (1998) was the only time the special Academy flat version was ever released.
     
  14. Guest

    I have all of those.
     
  15. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Cinematographer

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    Is there no surround channel on the original mix? I was under the impression this was originally 4.0 theatrically like the rest of the 2.55:1 Mag Cinemascope films.
     
  16. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    1998 Laserdisc came in three flavors: CLV and CAV widescreen versions and one CLV fullscreen edition. And don't ask what is CAV or CLV! :) 1998 CAV Widescreen Laserdisc [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] 1998 CLV Fullscreen Laserdisc [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] I dug out those Laserdiscs and will post some screen shot comparisons shortly. So the definitive answer is - Yes, the "flat" version of LADY AND THE TRAMP has been released on video. :)
     
  17. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    1998 Fullscreen Laserdisc [​IMG] 2006 Pan/Scan DVD [​IMG] 2006 Widescreen DVD [​IMG] 2012 Widescreen Blu-ray (downscaled) [​IMG] 1998 Fullscreen Laserdisc [​IMG] 2006 Pan/Scan DVD [​IMG] 2006 Widescreen DVD [​IMG] 2012 Widescreen Blu-ray (downscaled) [​IMG]
     
  18. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    1998 Fullscreen Laserdisc [​IMG] 2006 Pan/Scan DVD [​IMG] 2006 Widescreen DVD [​IMG] 2012 Widescreen Blu-ray (downscaled) [​IMG]
     
  19. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Thank you, Chuck. Very helpful and quite definitive proof, I'd say.
     
  20. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Yes, thanks. Nice to finally see the difference.
     

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