Lady and the Tramp Review

Feb 06, 2012 | 10:24am EST

Lady and The Tramp BlurayOf all of Disney’s animated features the most iconic films tend to fall into two categories: the Princess movies or the Pixar behemoths. One film manages to maintain its iconic status despite being part of neither of those groups: Lady and the Tramp. The story of two pups from opposite sides of the tracks finding love – and strands of spaghetti to share – is one that remains part of the Disney canon despite falling outside its normal constraints. And now that it’s on Blu-ray it’s a shoe-in to become part of any Disney kid or movie-lover’s collection.

Part of what makes Lady and the Tramp special are the ways in which the film’s production matches up with Walt Disney’s life in both personal and professional capacities. The film was released in the same year that Walt’s dream project Disneyland in Anaheim Calif. opened its doors. In many ways the projects share similar hallmarks of his personal life. 

The features that reference the film specifically are numerous taking us into recording sessions with the legendary Peggy Lee as she lays down “He’s a Tramp” and “We are Siamese” as well as deleted scenes and storyboards of the original film which were drafted in the 1930s long before the version we love hit theaters in the 50s. The commentary track doesn’t feature any recordings laid down specifically for the Blu-ray but rather takes transcripts from the numerous meetings Walt had with his animators while creating the film and uses their content to help guide us through the creation of the picture – which is a rare opportunity that I’d venture to say more cinephiles would kill to have present on most film commentaries.

However it’s the copious features that connect the film to the greater Disney legacy that make the disc more than just a blu-ray with a great movie. Walt’s daughter Diane Disney Miller leads a very personal feature called “Remembering Dad” in which she talks about her father’s life at the time of the film’s release and the opening of Disneyland. The features also include a longer behind-the-scenes vignette that shows how Walt pulled inspiration for the film’s setting from a small town he lived in after his time in Chicago. And the cherry on top is the set of clips from the Disneyland TV show which for those of us who were bequeathed our Disney affinity from our parents originally aired before our time. Here they’re presented in the highest available quality and given context within the timeline of Lady and the Tramp’s creation as well as Disneyland’s. Even those Disney fans who don’t count this film in their top favorites should probably pick up the disc just for these special features – yes there are Blu-rays with features so robust they can outshine the film.

Of course the film itself receives a gorgeous high definition treatment bringing out the inherent beauty of the settings – an element often over-looked in a landscape that includes artistic masterpieces like Sleeping Beauty and Bambi. And after flipping through the features and learning how fond Disney was of this film it’s no wonder that its Diamond Edition Blu-ray is handled so lovingly. It’s a beautiful film that can stand on its own but the overflowing set of special features honor the lovely story in a perfectly fitting way.

Lady and the Tramp Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD combo pack hits shelves Feb. 7.
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