Lady And The TrampLady And The Tramp (1955) Feature Length Theatrical Animated Film by Dave Koch
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- Walt Disney Studios
- Animated Characters: Lady, Tramp, Jock, Trusty, Si, Am, Tony, Joe, Jim Dear, Darling, Aunt Sarah, Peg, Boris, Toughy, Nutsy, Pedro, Bulldog, Dachsie, Beaver, Scamp, Dog Catcher, Policeman, The Professor, Pedro, Hyena, Old Sailor, Polar Bear.
- Awards: Winner, David di Donatello Award, Best Foreign Production, 1956.
- Originally Released in 1955.
- Production Number: 2079
- Running Time: 76 minutes.
- TechniColor, CinemaScope
Cartoon Production Information:
Hedging his bets, Walt Disney also had the film photographed in standard Academy format for theaters lacking the new CinemaScope system. However, by the time that the film was completed, CinemaScope had been so popular that the Academy version stayed almost entirely unseen for decades.
This film was re-released theatrically in 1962, 1971, 1980 and 1986. It was then released to VHS video in 1987 and 1998, and then on DVD in 1999. Within weeks of its release (for Christmas 1987) on Walt Disney Home Video, Lady and the Tramp set a record for video film sales, beating the previous record (2.9 million units) set by Top Gun in 1986. By February 1988, it had become the first film on video with sales exceeding 3 million units.
Peggy Lee sued Disney for royalty payments as her contract specified theatrical releases. The court ruled she was entitled to payments for all future releases.
Both Alan Reed and Verna Felton went on to perform together again on The Flintstones, respectively as Fred Flintstone and Pearl Slaghoople. Verna Felton passed away exactly one day before Walt Disney.
This was the 15th film in the official Disney list of animated films.
- 35mm 1.37 "flat", S/E negative.
- 35mm 2.55 CinemaScope anamorphic, S/E negative.
Courtesy of Scott MacQueen
Walt was anxious to develop a feature based on a largely original story, especially after the restrictive nature of adapting three well-known classics- Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951), and Peter Pan (1953)- in a row. "We were free to develop the story as we saw fit, which is not the case when you work on a classic," Walt Disney said. "There you must adhere rigidly to the sequences conceived by the author, which are familiar to your audience."
The opening scene of Lady and the Tramp, where "Jim, Dear" presents Lady as a gift in a hatbox, derives from a real event. In 1925, Walt Disney forgot a dinner engagement with his wife, Lillian. He carried a puppy home to her in a hatbox as a peace offering. In defining the canine cast of Lady and the Tramp, studio writers and artists all drew inspiration from their personal pets. "No person or family can ever completely 'own' an animal," Walt Disney said. "Any dog worth room and keep in a household has a life of his own. He's a dog, entitled to some natural animal life aside from being man's best friend..."
Although the critical reaction to Lady and the Tramp was surprisingly vicious and negative, the public adored the film, which became a substantial hit.
In most scenes, Lady and the Tramp has been designed by the layout artists to put the audience in a dog's-eye view of the world. This perception is carried through in the story and dialog, too. For instance, Lady thinks that her master's names are "Jim, Dear" and "Darling'-since this is what she always hears them call one another.
Lady and the Tramp was the first animated feature to be made in the then-new wide screen format called CinemaScopetm. The CinemaScope frame ratio was more than twice the width of the standard screen ratio. This presented a challenge to the animators, who were accustomed to the "square" frame, but it also presented notable opportunities for dramatic panoramic layouts. Animator Ward Kimball recalled that on Lady and the Tramp, the layout department discovered that unlike previous films, the characters move, not the backgrounds. Because there is more horizontal field, the characters can move freely without getting outside the visual angle. Fewer separate scenes and fewer cuts are necessary, since the action takes place in continuous movement across a horizontal vista, where formerly (with the square aspect ratio), numerous cuts back and forth would be employed.
The production design of Lady and the Tramp evokes the nostalgic Victorian charm of its setting, with bright, sunny colors and soft edges, like an old post card. (The Victorian style was enjoying a contemporary arts revival at the time of the film's release-modem decorative and furniture styles were using many Victorian conventions.)
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