tek's rating: ¾

Lady and the Tramp (G)
AFI Catalog; Disney Movies; Disney Wiki; IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; TCM; TV Tropes; Wikia; Wikipedia
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Caution: spoilers.

So, this originally came out in 1955, twenty years before I was born. It's been re-released a number of times since then, including 1980... I kind of want to mention that somewhere around that time, there was this one night when I was a little kid, and my parents and I were going to go see a Disney movie, but I was for some reason standing on a little chair, and fell off, and broke my elbow. In the years since then, I've never been able to remember if it was this movie, or "The Fox and the Hound" (which came out in 1981) that we were going to see. Either way... we didn't go to the movies that night. Anyway, I'm sure I must have eventually seen this movie, when I was still a kid. I have always remembered the scene with the Siamese cats, and their song. And I've always remembered the spaghetti scene, and the song "Bella Notte." But watching the movie again on DVD in 2013, for the first time in many years, I found there was a lot I didn't really remember. I'm not sure if I liked it as much as I expected to, but I'm sure there are some things about it I liked better than I could have when I was a kid.

Anyway... it starts on Christmas (the internet tells me it was set in 1909, which I don't think the movie ever specified, but that sounds about right). A man gives his wife an adorable puppy, which she names Lady. After Lady's first night with her new family, the story flashes forward six months. Lady gets a collar for the first time, which she proudly goes to show off to her friends, older dogs named Jock and Trusty. It's clear that Lady is very happy with her humans, who she thinks are named "Jim Dear" and "Darling" (because that's what they always call each other; although I did once hear at least one human refer to Jim's wife as "Darling," so it may have been an actual nickname). But maybe a few months after getting her collar, Lady notices that her humans have started acting weirdly. Jock and Trusty quickly realize it's because they're expecting a baby, but Lady has no idea what that is.

Meanwhile, there's a stray dog called Tramp (who is called by various names by various human families who feed him; though the only ones we ever see are a couple of guys from an Italian restaurant, who call him "Butch"). Tramp has a couple of friends, dogs named Bull and Peg, whom he rescues from a dogcatcher. While Tramp is running from the dogcatcher himself, he meets Lady, Jock, and Trusty, and overhears their conversation. He tells Lady that babies are trouble; when they show up, dogs get kicked out. (Presumably this happened to him at some point, but the movie doesn't make that quite clear.) Anyway, Lady starts worrying, especially when her humans don't seem to have as much time for her as they used to. But when the baby is born (the next April), Lady immediately loves it, herself. And Jim Dear and Darling clearly don't stop loving Lady.

But some months later, Jim Dear and Darling go away for a few days, leaving someone called Aunt Sarah to stay with the baby. She doesn't like Lady or want her anywhere near the baby. And she brought a pair of Siamese cats with her, who make a lot of trouble (for which Sarah blames Lady). Um... probably some years after I first saw this, I became aware that the depiction of the cats was racially offensive, though that totally went over my head when I was a kid. Anyway, I'm sure I always hated them for the way they acted, but at the same time I always really dug their song. But back to the story... Sarah takes Lady to get a muzzle, but Lady runs away, and once again runs into Tramp. He helps her get the muzzle off, and shows her how to have a good time without belonging to humans. Some of what he does is nice, and things get kind of romantic between them, though also he's a terrible influence... and she gets taken to the pound. There she runs into Bull, Peg, and some other dogs, who all seem to know Tramp. And Peg sings a song- like a torch song or something- about Tramp, which I can't imagine I would have liked as a kid. I certainly didn't remember it, anyway. But this time I liked it. Anyway... aside from the song and a bit of humor, it was a fairly depressing scene. But it's not long before Lady goes home... with plenty of cause to be mad at Tramp. But later she'll have reason to like him again.

And that's all I want- actually, that's more than I want to say about the plot, though I am leaving any number of details out. The movie had less romance in it than I remembered, but it had enough. It was probably funnier than I remembered, but it's not really a comedy. There's also more drama than I remembered. Anyway, it's definitely a good movie, with some iconic scenes and songs, and beautiful animation. And, of course, a happy ending.

In 2019 there was a live-action remake.

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