Lady and the Tramp (1955)

(First-through-fiftieth viewings, Toddler-watching, On Blu-Ray, April 2014) We’ve run through The Aristocats so many times in my toddler-dominated house that a dog-centric alternative imposed itself. What better one than Lady and the Tramp? This first wide-screen Disney animated movie still proves timeless once the dogs are on-screen, and while a finger on the skip button proves essential in going past the scary sequence in which Lady gets lost, or much of the thunder-and-lightning final scene, the rest of the film is a smooth viewing experience for any dog-fascinated toddler. The Blu-Ray version has been restored to a contemporary level of visual clarity, and the feature itself has survived just as well. Plot-wise, it’s a bit meandering (the beaver sequence still stands apart as curiously disconnected), but there is a lot of charm and wit to it all. The background story (with a firstborn entering the world) has a charming sweetness to it, and the dog characters are just as likable. Musically, our household can’t help humming “La La Lu”, “Bella Notte” and oh-this-is-when-it’s-from! “The Siamese Cat Song” (It’s quite a bit racist, but it’s catchy and the French dub has the genius-level lyric “Ce qui est à toi est aussi à moi”, playing off on the similarity between “mine and Siamese” in French) The spaghetti sequence is a lead-in to the beautiful Bella Notte sequence. Technically, I was fascinated at the (early) use of wide-screen cinematography, especially keeping low to the ground, focusing on the dogs and not showing the humans more than necessary. It amounts to a film that has admirably weathered the ages, and can be watched by the entire family… over and over again.

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