Lady and the Tramp is one of Disney's most beloved films. It also represents something of a departure for the studio. Whereas previous animated features had tended toward the fantastic fairy tale setting of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or Alice in Wonderland, Lady and the Tramp is set in a recognizable everyday world, although one where one can understand what animals say to each other. The pacing and tone are also somewhat more leisurely than in previous efforts. While there is plenty of action and adventure, the entire film is slightly more relaxed. Some of this is due to the amount of time spent on characterization -- Lady and Tramp's relationship is more fully developed than in earlier cartoons. Indeed, their first date (in an alley behind an Italian restaurant) is one of the most romantic and enchanting moments in film. As usual, the animation is top-notch, whether on big scenes like the chase after the dogcatcher or on small moments like Lady's humiliation at being slapped. A big plus is Peggy Lee's distinctive score, especially the jazzy "He's a Tramp" and the catchy "Siamese Cat Song." Lee does double duty by providing voices for several of the characters, and Barbara Luddy, Larry Roberts, and Bill Thompson's vocal interpretations are also invaluable. Six years later, some of the same talent would work on another classic dog tale, 101 Dalmations.
by Craig Butler review