Lady and the Tramp is in my book, and I mean this with the most sincerity, by far the best family film every created by Disney. Others may disagree citing other such fantastic movies as Snow White, Cinderella and others, but I have my own personal reasons for loving this above the rest which I will discuss in my review. Disney is not only a business corporation, but it's a prominent symbol of everyone's childhood and even today is putting out many great animated and live action movies for future generations to remember. However, the new Disney features will not fare in comparison to the greats produced by Disney in the 30's, 40's and 50's.
So "Lady and the Tramp" focuses around Lady (Barbara Luddy), a pup given to Darling (Peggy Lee) by her husband Joe Dear (Bill Thompson) for Christmas. For the first few months of her dog life she is treated like a queen, she is able to sleep at the end of their bed and gets all their attention. This doesn't last, as Darling gets pregnant and soon the new baby becomes the centre of their attention. One day when Joe Dear and Darling go away for a few days, they leave the baby in the care of Aunt Sara who takes lady to get a muzzle. Lady doesn't like this and ends up running off, meeting up with her friend the Tramp dog she had met earlier, and he shows her just how much she should cherish the life she has, even if she becomes second fiddle to the baby.
Well this is a genuinely heart warming film about love and friendship and earns its tagline of being "His (Walt Disney's) Happiest Motion Picture." There are no murderous witches or backstabbing friends, there is a bit of evil in the Siamese cats which is my only disagreement with the film (I'll get into that in a moment) and also the dog pound I would say takes the part of the Evil Witch or Queen. I mentioned the Siamese cats and I have to say I found it a bit unsettling to watch, and it seemed very out of place with what I felt up to that point to be a genuinely classy film. To me, these characters were, dare I say a bit racist and really appeared out of place within the film. Disney, especially back in those days is well known and mocked for its depiction of racial stereotypes, but in this day and age, these stereotypes really detract from the film itself.
After saying something negative about the film I feel I must now focus on the major positives that swallow this film and make it magical. The characters of course are the heavy influence that drives the thing along and it is obviously made so special thanks to the amazing voice acting. Barbara Luddy's voicing of Lady is utterly fantastic and fits the character and the setting perfectly. She expresses an elegance and gentle tone to her voice that seems all too fitting for the character. Larry Roberts as Tramp is also a perfect fit as he presents a cool, sly tone to his voice with a certain roughness that you would come to expect from a dog that lived his life on the street.
Peggy Lee is truly the diamond of this picture voicing a number of characters, quite favourably Darling and Peg. These characters are voiced in a way you would expect Peggy Lee to voice them. With Darling, she expresses quite a gentle and maternal voice and as Peg she presents the sassy street wise strong Lady who gives the fantastic song of "He's A Tramp, But I Love Him." Not only is the voice acting superb, but the animation itself is just utterly amazing to me. I don't know how to really phrase these next bits but I'll try my best. This film manages to somehow express every quality you would respect of your favourite breed of dog. The movements and the mannerisms of each breed, such as the elegance of Lady, the attitude of Peg, the Liveliness of Jock and the Laziness of Trusty are all easily expressed through the animation and could be easily pulled off without the need for voicing.
Overall this is a genuinely brilliant family film. It doesn't require any punch lines or sly adult lines; it's just great to enjoy the personalities of each canine character and their adventure. You will laugh and you will feel a bit sad, but overall you will leave the film feeling quite warm, fuzzy and just overly happy inside.
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