It’s official: I am getting more and more sentimental as I am getting older. I mean it’s been a rough few days seeing how I’ve found out that I am basically being let go from the best job ever and, unless I make a move quickly, I’m back to a job that I hate… so that might explain why I ended up getting tearful twice and actually cried once whilst watching Lady and the Tramp.
Right, vent over, let’s get to the movie. As a kid, I owned a copy of Lady and the Tramp on VHS and I watched it so often that, despite not having seen it for well over a decade, I was able to preempt all the sound cues and most of the dialogue. I never thought of this as being one of my favourite Disney films as a child, but I guess it must have at least been up there. Having watched it as an adult, I have to agree with my apparent childhood self – this is really good and so much better than I remembered.
Lady and the Tramp is a first for Disney in a few ways. It marked the first of their animated features to be released by Buena Vista rather than by RKO – which means that Disney had become large enough to have their own distribution company. Also, this is the first of their features that started life as an original story – it got merged into another short story later on, but it won’t be until The Lion King until we get something completely original (other than the Hamlet influence). Also, this was the first animated film to be released in Cinemascope – again another big first.
With all these firsts in mind, it must have been so terrifying to the Disney company when the reviews for Lady and the Tramp came out and they were mostly negative. Might explain why it took nearly 40 years before they decided to give the original story another crack. However, as with most things Disney, Lady and the Tramp really has been through a massive critical re-evaluation.
One of the key criticisms of Lady and the Tramp was that the film was overly sentimental. Firstly, shut up that scene with the spaghetti is iconic. The whole ‘Bella Notte’ sequence is a bit sentimental, sure, but considering the darkness of what comes next it is very much needed. I don’t know how a film can be overly sentimental where you have a scene depicting dogs being afraid in a pound because they know that being executed is very much on the cards. Not going to lie – this is one of the places where I almost cried during this movie.
Lady and the Tramp is a real step up from Peter Pan and the stepping up goes on from here to one of THE early classics: Sleeping Beauty. Oh man I cannot wait.