Walt Disney Animation Studios Review: Lady and the Tramp

Walt Disney Animation Studios 15th feature film.


My opinion right after watching movie

My opinion right after watching the movie is that I think it is one of Walt Disney’s best. Sure, the plot is not the tightest, but it’s decision to tell it from a dog’s point of view, it kind of having a cycle of a dog’s life, and its theme prevails. There are no filler with the slow pace, and the characters go through more and they are more developed here.


In 1937, Joe Grant met up with Walt Disney to discuss making a film about an English Springer Spaniel named Lady, and they started development on it. Disney was not too pleased with it because it was too sweet and needed some action, He was reading a book called “Happy Dan, The Whistling Dog” by Ward Greene, and was inspired to add a rebel dog named Tramp into the film. Tramp had many other names that were being thrown round in development.

On June 1943, they were ordered by the military to stop productions on all of their features to make the package films and propaganda shorts. Work on the film started after the war, but Grant left the studio in 1949 and did not get any credits on it. Greene and Disney were working on it together through the 50s and Disney asked Greene to publish a book on it, and it was released that year. It was released so the general audience would know the story.

There were many changes to the story from when it was being worked on in the early 40s, to the final version. This is the first film to be distributed by their own company Buena Vista Distribution instead of RKO Pictures (who they have been with since the very beginning). This is the first animated film to be made in CinemaScope/Widescreen. They also had dogs come to the studio so they can study their movements and actions.

Musician Peggy Lee was used to promote the film, which disproves AGAIN that Robin Williams was the first celebrity to promote an animated film. It was also around here when Disney started to lose interest in animated films, and the high cost of them.


This quote establishes the main theme of the film; affection and love. I like that they put this here in the beginning so it establishes what the film is about, and it is a sweet but subtle opening.

So we are taken to a home on Christmas, and Darling (Peggy Lee) a dog called Lady (Barbara Luddy) from a box. This actually happened as Disney gave his wife a dog in a box for Christmas. They love her and as they are trying to put her to sleep in a basket, she whines and cries to get them to let her sleep with them. They eventually let her sleep int he bed for tonight only, but this ends up being a normal occurrence.

Lady is older and she finally gets her collar, which her and the other dogs see as honor and officially belonging to someone. Lady and her friends Jock (Bill Thompson) and Trusty (Bill Baucom) are very proud of her, and she is enjoying being spoiled by her owner’s affections. This is all seen through a dog’s perspective and eye vision, which is smart.

We are introduced to Tramp (Larry Roberts), who is poor and has nothing, but thinks the world is his and he is free. He thinks because no one is affectionate of him and that he is free, that everything is better, and this clashes with Lady’s view, in a good way.

There is a law that there must be no stray dogs in the street, or they will be taken to the pound. Lady is telling her friends that Jim Dear (Lee Millar) and Darling are to being affectionate to her and striking her, but they explain to her that they are having a baby. Tramp randomly shows up and tells her that she is getting the boot when the baby comes, and she grows worried.

As you can see, not much has happened yet, and it has been 25 minutes. The plot is slow-paced, but each scene is significant to the plot, if that makes sense, There is no filler. Anyways, this showcases the change through Darling’s pregnancy and how Lady is being more and more forgotten, until the baby is finally born.

Aunt Sarah (Verna Felton) comes to the house to watch over the baby as the couple leaves to go somewhere for a few days. She has a distaste for Lady and thinks she is causing trouble, so she goes to the pet shop to get a muzzle, but she flees. She gets herself into an issue with a bunch of dogs until Tramp randomly shows up and protects her.

She thanks him, and he wants to get the muzzle off of her. He searches through the entire zoo, and then gets a beaver to cut it off for her. She tells him about Aunt Sarah and all of her problems, and he feels bad for her. He tells her that her issue is that she is stuck with a family and does not have freedom. Since she does not want to go home yet, she goes with him all night, and they go to a restaurant where chefs cook a bunch of food (losing their income) feeding 2 dogs.

As Bella Notte plays, we see them walking around the park, and they lay down together under a tree, implicating that they had sex. GASP; a more than asexual Disney relationship. Awesome. So she wakes up and realizes that she needs to get home. He is shocked at this because of the good time they had (wink wink), but she is still loyal to her owners, so he takes her to them, but wants to have a bit of fun (aka messing with the chickens).

His reckless act causes them to be chased off by a gunshot, and she gets captured because of the law of no stray dogs. She ends up at the pound and was teased for being a kept owners, dog, but Peg (Peggy Lee) tells them to lay off, and this eventually leads up to Tramp.

So Peg exposes to cause drama  sings that Tramp is a man slut and all the girls want him, and Lady gets mad that he is probably trying to hit her and leave her. So she gets out of the pound because she is an owner, and is locked in her doghouse outside. She is extremely ashamed of all that she did yesterday; having sex and getting knocked up getting pregnant.

Tramp comes by to visit, and she confronts him about his past and him trying to play her, and tell shim to get bent and to get lost. So he leaves sadly, and returns when he hears her bark, causing him to rush back. She tells him that a rat is going into a baby’s room. He goes to the baby’s room and he kills the rat, which only causes Aunt Sarah to call the pound on him.

So he is eventually rescued, and by Christmas time, everyone comes and we see Tramp happy to be claimed and shown real affection and care, receiving his collar. We see their 4 children (knew they had sex, just like Bambi and Faline, and Simba and Nala), ans it is a happy ever after, all of them being 1 big happy family.

Well, it did have a Circle of Life thing of a domesticated life of a dog thing, and the dogs either learn to appreciate what they have, or to learn to have affection and love for another. There are trials and tribulations with the characters, and there is no standard villain.


The characters are more developed here and goes through more challenges than we have seen yet. All of them are likable and understandable, in the situations they are in, and I don’t really have a bad thing to say about them.

While she is the sweet, innocent, classy heroine like…… all her predecessors, she is naive and it is almost seen as a bad thing. She is more likable than the others, and she is not bland. She is very loyal, which shows when it comes to her owners. She is a good character.
He is flawed and ….. is actually supposed to be, unlike Peter Pan. He had a reputation of being a manwhore because he believes that everyone and everything belongs to him since he is free. He is reckless, carefree, and a good character.
She is seen as an antagonist to the dogs, but she is not. She is just a worryrat and does not really like dogs. She is alright though. Not evil, but just a typical cranky old woman.
He is more so comic relief. His scottish accent and his rantings are funny.
His storytelling ramblings are alright. He is more calm and attempts to sniff were interesting.


The animation is very nice. The character movements of the animals are extremely realistic and the fact that we are seeing it from a dogs point of view, we almost never see above the waist of a human character, and we get some very close shots close to the ground. The color scheme and the detail is nice as well, but I have to call out the fact that Tramp changes from a dull brown to a grey.


The music in the film is more relaxed and soothing. From the romanticized Bella Notte to the jazzy He’s A Tramp, it really works off the down to earth feel of the movie. There is some of those romantic Italian scores, and those jazzy scores as well. It is very nice.

Reception at Release

When the film was released on June 22, 1955, it was a HUGE success. It became the second highest-grossing film in the canon after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, making about $7.5 million, with a $4 million budget. With Disneyland opening the same year, the company making their way on television, and benefiting off the success of this movie and Peter Pan, the mid 50s were very good times for the company.

Despite all of this, it was panned for its animation of dogs……. I am not kidding, that was their only complaint. Don’t know what these reviewers were on. It was nominated for a BAFTA (Best Animated Film), and won another ward for Best Foreign Producer.

Reception Today

Well as the years went by, it is seen as a Disney classic and one of the most romantic films to ever exist. It garnered the blessed gift of a sequel called Lady and the Tramp 2: Scamp’s Adventure.

Final Score



Animation: 8/10

Music: 8.5/10=

32/40 =80%

Next Time…

Review: March 31st, 2014

15 thoughts on “Walt Disney Animation Studios Review: Lady and the Tramp

  1. I consider this one of the most perfect films in the Disney Canon from a technical point of view. But personally, it’s not a film I’d just get up and start watching.

    Also, it couldn’t have been nominated for a BAFTA for Best Animated Feature as that category wasn’t created until 2006.

    1. I wrote the BAFTA in the wrong section. It should go in the Reception Today section. That is what was on Wiki.

      Well, to each their own. I don’t really see an issue with this film. I can see how this would bore some though.

  2. I agree that this is a pretty good film. Strong romance, good music, well-done animation. A solid entry in the canon. Not one of my favorites, but still one I’d watch again.
    Can’t wait for your “Sleeping Beauty” review! I’m still a bit wary, as it’s my number 9 favorite Disney film.

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