Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson & Hamilton Luske (1955)
Lady and the Tramp is a 1955 animated musical romance by Walt Disney Productions. The 15th Disney animated feature film was directed by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, and Hamilton Luske, and features the voices of Barbara Luddy, Larry Roberts, Bill Thompson, Bill Baucom, Verna Felton, and Peggy Lee. The film was based on the 1945 Cosmopolitan magazine story “Happy Dan, The Cynical Dog” by Ward Greene, and tells the story of Lady the pampered Cocker Spaniel as she grows from puppy to adult, deals with changes in her family, and meets and falls in love with Tramp the homeless mutt.
Lady and the Tramp was released to theaters on June 22, 1955, to box office success. It was the first animated film to be filmed in the CinemaScope widescreen film process, as well as Disney’s first animated film to be distributed by their Buena Vista division. It initially received generally mixed reviews by film critics, but critical reception for the film has been generally positive in modern times.
As they had done with the deer on Bambi, the animators studied many dogs of different breeds to capture the movement and personality of dogs. Although the spaghetti eating sequence is probably now the best-known scene from the film, Walt Disney was prepared to cut it, thinking that it would not be romantic and that dogs eating spaghetti would look silly. Animator Frank Thomas was against Walt’s decision and animated the entire scene himself without any lay-outs. Walt was impressed by Thomas’s work and how he romanticized the scene and kept it in. On viewing the first take of the scene, the animators felt that the action should be slowed down, so an apprentice trainee was assigned to create “half numbers” in between many of the original frames.
Tramp takes Lady for an Italian candlelit dinner at Tony’s Restaurant. The comedic characters of Tony and Joe, two Italian chefs, lighten the tone of the film, even though they aren’t on screen for too long. It is Tony who sings the song ‘Bella Notte’ as the two dogs eat their spaghetti and meatballs. The music is by Sonny Burke and the lyrics are by Peggy Lee.
“Exactly. Life on a leash. Look again, Pidge. Look, there’s a great big hunk of world down there, with no fence around it. Where two dogs can find adventure and excitement. And beyond those distant hills, who knows what wonderful experiences? And it’s all ours for the taking, Pidge. It’s all ours.”Tramp
This Disney animated classic follows a pampered cocker spaniel named Lady (Barbara Luddy) whose comfortable life slips away once her owners have a baby. When, after some tense circumstances, Lady finds herself on the loose and out on the street, she is befriended and protected by the tough stray mutt Tramp (Larry Roberts). A romance begins to blossom between the two dogs, but their many differences, along with more drama at Lady’s household, threaten to keep them apart.