Lady and the Tramp: Diamond Edition (Blu-ray Combo Pack)
Directed by Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson
Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1 1080p AVC codec
Running Time: 76 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, 3.0 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Spanish
Subtitles: SDH, Spanish, French
MSRP: $ 39.99
Release Date: February 7, 2012
Review Date: February 3, 2012
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.
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.
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.
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 second disc in the set is the DVD version of the movie.
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!