Lady and the Tramp

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Lady and the Tramp
Original theatrical release poster
Directed by Clyde Geronimi
Wilfred Jackson
Hamilton Luske
Produced by Walt Disney
Screenplay by Erdman Penner
Joe Rinaldi
Ralph Wright
Don DaGradi
Story by Joe Grant
Based on Happy Dan, The Whistling Dog 
by Ward Greene
Starring Peggy Lee
Barbara Luddy
Larry Roberts
Bill Thompson
Bill Baucom
Music by Oliver Wallace
Edited by Don Halliday
Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by Buena Vista Distribution
Release date(s)
  • June 22, 1955 (1955-06-22)
Running time 75 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $4 million[1]
Box office $93,602,326[1]

Lady and the Tramp is a 1955 American animated romantic comedy film produced by Walt Disney and released to theaters on 22 June 1955, by Buena Vista Distribution. The 15th animated film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, it was the first animated feature filmed in the CinemaScope widescreen film process.[2] The story centers on a female American Cocker Spaniel named Lady who lives with a refined, upper-middle-class family, and a male stray mutt called the Tramp. The film is based on Happy Dan, The Whistling Dog by Ward Greene. A direct-to-video sequel, Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure, was released in 2001.[3]


On Christmas morning in 1908, Jim Dear gives his wife Darling an American cocker spaniel puppy that they name her Lady. When Lady grows up, she enjoys a happy life with the couple of her friends, Jock, a Scottish terrier, and Trusty, a bloodhound. Meanwhile, across town living by the railway, a friendly stray mutt named Tramp dreams to live in a family and home that he won’t get captured by dogcatchers to prove his courage to be safe. He is begging for scraps from Tony's restaurant and protecting his fellow strays Peg (a Maltese) and Bull (an English bulldog) from the local dog catcher and told them to find someone to adopt them so they aren‘t going to the pound again. Later, Lady is saddened after her owners begin treating her rather coldly. Jock and Trusty visit her and determine that their change in behavior is due to Darling expecting a baby. While Jock and Trusty try to explain what a baby is, Tramp offers his own thoughts on the matter, making Jock and Trusty take an immediate dislike to the stray and order him out of the yard. As Tramp leaves, he reminds Lady that "when the baby moves in, the dog moves out."

Eventually, the baby arrives and the couple introduces Lady to the infant, to whom Lady grows fond. Soon after, the two decide to go on a trip together, leaving their Aunt Sarah to look after the baby and the house. However Aunt Sarah dislikes dogs, refusing to let Lady near the baby. When Lady clashes with Aunt Sarah's two trouble-making Siamese cats, Si and Am, she takes Lady to a pet shop to get a muzzle. Lady flees, but is pursued by some vicious strays. After Tramp rescues her and scared those bad strays away, the two visit a local zoo, where Tramp tricks a beaver into removing the muzzle. Later, Tramp shows Lady how he lives "footloose and collar-free", eventually leading into a candlelit Italian dinner with the famed "Spaghetti Kiss". Lady begins to fall in love with Tramp, and the two spend the night together on a hilltop in the park. As Tramp escorts Lady back home the next day, he do one last thing is to chase hens in a chicken coop and then he is through being a stray. As the two dogs flee, Lady is caught by the dogcatcher. At the pound, the other dogs admire Lady's license, as it is her way out of the pound, and reveal Tramp's relationships and how he is unlikely to ever settle down. Eventually, Lady is claimed by Aunt Sarah and is chained to the backyard doghouse. Jock and Trusty visit to comfort her and tell her that strays are not allowed to be adopted. When Tramp arrives to apologize, Lady angrily confronts him about his past girlfriends and failed attempts to rescue her, after which Tramp leaves, he was very sad. Moments later, as it starts to rain, Lady sees a rat trying to sneak into the house with an intention of harming the baby. Lady barks frantically, but Aunt Sarah tells her to be quiet. Tramp hears her barking and rushes to help, entering the house and fighting the rat in the nursery. Lady breaks free and races to the nursery, finding the rat on the baby's crib. Tramp manages to kill the rat but knocks over the crib in the process, waking the infant. When Aunt Sarah comes to the baby's aid, she sees both dogs and thinks they are responsible. She forces Tramp into a closet and Lady into the basement and then calls the pound to take Tramp away. Jim Dear and Darling return as the dogcatcher departs. They release Lady, who leads them and Aunt Sarah to the dead rat, vindicating Tramp. Overhearing everything and realizing Tramp's intentions, Jock and Trusty chase after the dogcatcher's wagon. Jock is convinced Trusty has long since lost his sense of smell, but Trusty is able to find the wagon. They bark at the horses, who rear up and topple the wagon onto a utility pole. Jim Dear arrives in a taxi with Lady, and she reunites with Tramp. However, Trusty is injured in the struggle and Jock howls in sorrow.

That Christmas, Tramp is now a part of the family and he love his own collar and license. Aunt Sarah has also reconciled with Lady by sending her a box of dog biscuits. Lady and Tramp raise four puppies together: three resemble Lady (Annette, Danielle and Collette) and one resembles Tramp (Scamp). Jock comes to see the family along with Trusty, who is carefully walking on his still-mending leg. Thanks to the puppies, Trusty has a fresh audience for his old stories, but he has forgotten them. Tramp was happy, he finally become a house dog he always wanted. Lady and her husband fall in love together forever.



Story development

In 1937 Disney story man Joe Grant came up with an idea inspired by the antics of his English Springer Spaniel Lady, and how she got "shoved aside" by Joe's new baby. He approached Walt Disney with sketches of Lady. Disney enjoyed the sketches and commissioned Grant to start story development on a new animated feature Lady.[4] Through the late 1930s and early 1940s, Joe Grant and other artists worked on the story, taking a variety of approaches, but Disney wasn't pleased with any of them, primarily because he thought Lady was too sweet, and there wasn't enough action.[4]

In the early 1940s, Walt read the short story written by Ward Greene, "Happy Dan, The Whistling Dog", in Cosmopolitan Magazine.[5] He thought Grant's story would be improved if Lady fell in love with a cynical dog character like the one in Greene's story and bought the rights to it.[6] The cynical dog had various names during development, including Homer, Rags, and Bozo, before "Tramp" was chosen. It was first thought "Tramp" wouldn't be acceptable because of the sexual connotation associated with the word ("The Lady is a Tramp"), but Walt Disney approved it was considered safe.[5]

The finished film is slightly different from what was originally planned. Lady was to have only one next-door neighbor, a Ralph Bellamy-type canine named Hubert. Hubert was later replaced by Jock and Trusty. Aunt Sarah was the traditional overbearing mother-in-law. In the final film, she's softened to a busybody who, though antagonistic towards Lady, is well-meaning (she sends a packet of dog biscuits to Lady at Christmas to apologize for mistreating her). Aunt Sarah's Nip and Tuck were later renamed Si and Am.[5] Originally, Lady's owners were called Jim Brown and Elizabeth. These were changed to highlight Lady's point of view. They were briefly referred to as "Mister" and "Missis" before settling on the names "Jim Dear" and "Darling". To maintain a dog's perspective, Darling and Jim's faces are rarely shown, similar to Mammy Two Shoes in the Tom and Jerry cartoons. The rat was a somewhat comic character in early sketches, but became a great deal more frightening, due to the need to raise dramatic tension. A scene created but then deleted was one in which after Trusty says "Everybody knows, a dog's best friend is his human". This leads to Tramp describing a world where the roles of both dogs and humans are switched; the dogs are the masters and vice-versa.[4] There was a love triangle among Lady, Tramp, and a Russian wolfhound named Boris (who appears in the dog pound in the final version).[7] By June 1943, a treatment had been completed, but the artists were not allowed to go any further, as the studio was producing mostly instructional and propaganda films for World War II. Story development continued after the war.

The film's opening sequence, in which Darling unwraps a hat box on Christmas morning and finds Lady inside, is based on an incident when Walt Disney presented his wife Lily with a Chow puppy as a gift in a hat box.[8]

In 1947, the Spanish writer María Lejárraga arrived in the US and sent a couple of screenplays to Disney, one of them with the title Merlín y Viviana o la gata egoísta y el perro atontado which the company returned to María. Afterwards, she was surprised to find numerous similarities with her original text and The Lady and the Tramp, simply changing Viviana, the cat, to a dog, Lady.[9]

In 1949, Grant left the studio, yet Disney story men were continually pulling Grant's original drawings and story off the shelf to retool.[4] A solid story began taking shape in 1953,[6] based on Grant's storyboards and Greene's short story.[4] Greene later wrote a novelization of the film that was released two years before the film itself, at Walt Disney's insistence, so that audiences would be familiar with the story.[10] Grant didn't receive film credit for his story work, an issue that animation director Eric Goldberg hoped to rectify in the Lady and the Tramp Platinum Edition's behind-the-scenes vignette that explained Grant's role.[4]


As they had done with deer on Bambi, the animators studied many dogs of different breeds to capture the movement and personality of dogs. Although the spaghetti eating sequence is probably now the best known scene from the film, Walt Disney was prepared to cut it, thinking that it would not be romantic and that dogs eating spaghetti would look silly. Animator Frank Thomas was against Walt's decision and animated the entire scene himself without any lay-outs. Walt was impressed by Thomas's work and how he romanticised the scene and kept the scene in.[4] On viewing the first take of the scene, the animators felt that the action should be slowed down, so an apprentice trainee was assigned to create "half numbers" in between many of the original frames.[11]

Originally, the background artist was supposed to be Mary Blair and she did some inspirational sketches for the film. However, she left the studio to become a children's book illustrator in 1953. Claude Coats was then appointed as the key background artist. Coats made models of the interiors of Jim Dear and Darling's house, and shot photos and film at a low perspective as reference to maintain a dog's view.[10] Eyvind Earle (who later became the art director of Disney's Sleeping Beauty) did almost 50 miniature concept sketches for the Bella Notte sequence and was a key contributor to the film.[10]


Further information: CinemaScope

Originally, Lady and the Tramp was planned to be filmed in a regular full frame aspect ratio. However, due to the growing interest of widescreen film amongst movie-goers, Disney decided to animate the film in CinemaScope making Lady and the Tramp the first animated feature made in the process.[5] This new innovation presented additional problems for the animators: the expansion of space created more realism but gave fewer closeups.[6] It also made it difficult for a single character to dominate the screen so that groups had to be spread out to keep the screen from appearing sparse.[5] Longer takes become necessary since constant jump-cutting would seem too busy or annoying.[2] Layout artists essentially had to reinvent their technique. Animators had to remember that they had to move their characters across a background instead of the background passing behind them.[6] Yet the animators overcame these obstacles during the action scenes, such as the Tramp killing the rat.[2]

More problems arose as the premiere date got closer, since not all theaters had the capability to show CinemaScope at the time. Upon learning this, Walt issued two versions of the film: one in widescreen, and another in the Academy ratio. This involved gathering the layout artists to restructure key scenes when characters were on the edges of the screen.[12]


The film was originally released in theaters on 22 June 1955. At the time, the film took in a higher figure than any other Disney animated feature since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,[13] earning an estimated $7.5 million in rentals at the North American box office in 1955.[14] An episode of Disneyland called "A Story of Dogs" aired before the film's release.[15] The film was also reissued to theaters in 1962, 1971, 1980, and 1986. Lady and the Tramp also played a limited engagement in select Cinemark Theatres from February 16–18, 2013.[16]

Home media

The movie was released on VHS and Laserdisc in 1987 (this was in Disney's The Classics video series) and 1998 (this was in the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection video series). A Disney Limited Issue series DVD was released on 23 November 1999.

Lady and the Tramp was remastered and restored for DVD on February 28, 2006, as the seventh installment of Disney's Platinum Editions series.[17] One million copies of the Platinum Edition were sold on February 28, 2006.[18] The Platinum Edition DVD went on moratorium on January 31, 2007, along with the 2006 DVD reissue of Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure.[19]

The film was released February 7, 2012 on Blu-ray combo pack as a part of Disney's Diamond Editions series.[20] A standalone 1-disc DVD edition was released on March 20, 2012.[21][22]

Critical reception

Lady and the Tramp received generally positive reviews from several review aggregation websites; based on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), the film received a weighted positive average rating of 7.4 out of 10 from a total of 49,625 IMDb users. Similarly, the film garnered generally positive reviews from 98 IMDb critics, praising it for its "charm, humor, songs and great animation."[23] Common Sense Media (CSM) gave the film's quality a perfect rating of 5 out of 5 stars and is applicable for ages 5 above based on 26 reviews from both parents and children.[24] Also, the film gained generally favorable reviews from Rotten Tomatoes. The film received 38 critical reviews, from which 34 voted for Fresh and 4 were Rotten, giving it a positive total rating of 89% and an average rating of 7.6 out of 10.[25]

The film has since been regarded as a classic. The sequence of Lady and the Tramp sharing a plate of Italian spaghetti – climaxed by an accidental kiss as they swallow opposite ends of the same piece of spaghetti – is considered an iconic scene in an American film.

Lady and the Tramp was named number 95 out of the "100 Greatest Love Stories of All Time" by the American Film Institute in their 100 Years...100 Passions special, as one of only two animated films to appear on the list, along with Disney's Beauty and the Beast which ranked 34th.[26] In 2010, Rhapsody called its accompanying soundtrack one of the all-time great Disney & Pixar soundtracks.[27] In June 2011, TIME named it one of "The 25 All-TIME Best Animated Films".[28]

Yet, despite being an enormous success at the box office, the film was also initially panned by critics: one indicated that the dogs had "the dimensions of hippos," another that "the artists' work is below par".[29]


Year Ceremony Award Result
1956 BAFTA Awards[30] Best Animated Film Nominated
David di Donatello Awards[31] Best Foreign Producer
(Walt Disney)
2006 Satellite Awards[32] Best Youth DVD Nominated
American Film Institute Lists


Lady and the Tramp
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released 9 September 1997
Genre Classical
Length 48:00
Label Walt Disney
Producer Ted Kryczko (executive)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[37]

Lady and the Tramp is the film's soundtrack, released through Walt Disney Records. The score for the soundtrack was composed by Oliver Wallace, Peggy Lee, the Disney Studio Chorus, and "Home Sweet Home". The soundtrack was released on 9 September 1997 and was released as a digital download on 26 September 2006.[38] The soundtrack is also released as an audio compact disc on March 21, 2012. Both versions of the soundtrack are available on[39]

Track listing

No. Title Length
1. "Main Title (Bella Notte) / The Wag of a Dog's Tail"   2:03
2. "Peace on Earth (Silent Night)"   1:01
3. "It Has a Ribbon / Lady to Bed / A Few Mornings Later"   3:53
4. "Sunday / The Rat / Morning Paper"   1:44
5. "A New Blue Collar / Lady Talks To Jock & Trusty / It's Jim Dear"   3:17
6. "What a Day! / Breakfast at Tony's"   1:05
7. "Warning / Breakout / Snob Hill / A Wee Bairn"   2:44
8. "Countdown to B-Day"   2:05
9. "Baby's First Morning / What Is a Baby / La La Lu"   3:11
10. "Going Away / Aunt Sarah"   1:51
11. "The Siamese Cat Song / What's Going on Down There?"   2:35
12. "The Muzzle / Wrong Side of the Tracks"   1:54
13. "You Poor Kid / He's Not My Dog"   1:23
14. "Through the Zoo / A Log Puller"   1:59
15. "Footloose and Collar-Free / A Night at the Restaurant / Bella Notte"   4:22
16. "It's Morning / Ever Chase Chickens / Caught"   2:51
17. "Home Sweet Home"   1:30
18. "The Pound"   1:27
19. "What a Dog / He's a Tramp"   2:24
20. "In the Doghouse / The Rat Returns / Falsely Accused / We've Got to Stop That Wagon / Trusty's Sacrifice"   6:05
21. "Watch the Birdie / Visitors"   2:05
22. "Finale (Peace on Earth)"   0:31
Total length:

Peggy Lee

Recording artist Peggy Lee wrote the songs with Sonny Burke and assisted with the score as well.[5] In the film, she sings: "He's a Tramp", "La La Lu", "The Siamese Cat Song" and "What Is a Baby?".[40] She helped promote the film on the Disney TV series, explaining her work with the score and singing a few of the film's numbers.[5] These appearances are available as part of the Lady and the Tramp Platinum Edition DVD set.

On 16 November 1988, Peggy Lee sued the Walt Disney Company for breach of contract, claiming that she retained the rights to transcriptions of the music, arguing that videotape editions were transcriptions.[41] After a protracted legal battle, she was awarded $2.3 million in 1991.[42]


On February 27, 2001, a direct-to-video sequel of the film was released by Disney Television Animation, entitled Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure. Filmed 46 years after its predecessor, the film centers around the adventure of Lady and Tramp's only son, Scamp, who happens to have the desire to be a wild dog. He runs away from his family and joins a gang of junkyard dogs to fulfill his longing for freedom and a life without rules.


  1. ^ a b "Lady and the Tramp". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  2. ^ a b c Finch, Christopher (2004). "Chapter 8: Interruption and Innovations". The Art of Walt Disney. pp. 234–244. ISBN 0-8109-2702-0. 
  3. ^ "Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure (Video 2001)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 02-04-2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Eric Goldberg. Lady and the Tramp Platinum Edition DVD, Disc 2: "Behind the Scenes: Story Development". 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Lady and the Tramp History". Disney Archives. 
  6. ^ a b c d Thomas, Bob (1997). "Chapter 7: The Postwar Films". Disney's Art of Animation: From Mickey Mouse to Hercules. pp. 103–104. ISBN 0-7868-6241-6. 
  7. ^ Deleted Scenes, Backstage Disney Diamond Edition, Lady and the Tramp 2012 Blu-ray
  8. ^ Walt: The Man Behind the Myth: Pre-production of Lady and the Tramp (DVD). 2001. 
  9. ^ Rodrigo, Antonina. María Lejárraga: Una mujer en la sombra. Madrid, EDAF, 1992, p. 18.
  10. ^ a b c Lady and the Tramp Platinum Edition DVD. Disc 2: "Disney Backstage". 
  11. ^ Jones, Ken (September 1986). "Willie Ito". Comics Interview (38) (Fictioneer Books). p. 49. 
  12. ^ Lady and the Tramp Platinum Edition DVD, Disc 2: "Behind the Scenes". 
  13. ^ Newcomb, Horace (2000). Television: The Critical View. Oxford University Press. p. 27. ISBN 0-19-511927-4. 
  14. ^ 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1955', Variety Weekly, January 25, 1956
  15. ^ Newcomb (2001), p. 27.
  16. ^ Wire, Business (2013-02-13). "Cinemark Announces the Return of Favorite Disney Classic Animated Movies to the Big Screen". Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  17. ^ "Platinum Edition". 
  18. ^ "Sales information of the DVD". 
  19. ^ "Lady and the Tramp II information". 
  20. ^ Liu, Ed (11 November 2012). "Disney to Release Two Amazing Classics From the Vault in 2012". Toon Zone. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  21. ^ "Lady and the Tramp DVD Movie". Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  22. ^ " Lady and the Tramp: Bill Thompson, Peggy Lee, Larry Roberts, Barbara Luddy, Bill Baucom: Movies & TV". Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  23. ^ "Lady and the Tramp (1955) - User Ratings". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 02-04-2014. 
  24. ^ "Lady and the Tramp Movie Review". Retrieved 02-04-2014. 
  25. ^ Lady and the Tramp (1955) at Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 2012
  26. ^ "100 Years...100 Passions List of 100 Winning Movies" (PDF). AFI. 
  27. ^ 10 Essential Disney & Pixar Soundtracks Referenced July 27, 2010
  28. ^ Richard Corliss (June 23, 2011). "The 25 All-TIME Best Animated Films – Lady and the Tramp". Time. Retrieved August 19, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Walt and Education: Part I". 
  30. ^ Bafta Awards
  31. ^ (Italian) Academia del Cinema Italiano
  32. ^ Press Academy
  33. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies Nominees" (PDF). American Film Institute. Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  34. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). American Film Institute. Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  35. ^ "AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals Nominees" (PDF). American Film Institute. Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  36. ^ "AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot". American Film Institute. Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  37. ^ Lady and the Tramp at AllMusic
  38. ^ "Lady and the Tramp [Disney] - Original Soundtrack". AllMusic. Retrieved 02-04-2014. 
  39. ^ "Lady and the Tramp (Score)". Retrieved 05-01-2012. 
  40. ^ "Peggy Lee's Film Appearances". Peggy Lee's Official Website. 
  41. ^ Collins, Glenn (November 17, 1988). "Peggy Lee article". The New York Times. 
  42. ^ "Stars share royalties victory". BBC News. June 26, 2002. Retrieved January 5, 2010. 

External links