Blu-ray: Lady and the Tramp Diamond Edition

  One of the greatest love stories of all time, Lady and the Tramp is far less tragic than Romeo and Juliet, more endearing than Scarlett and Rhett and just plain cuter than Bogey and Bacall. It’s a timeless classic, featuring one of the most iconic movie moments of all time—seriously, who hasn’t tried to recreate the spaghetti-kiss scene with their significant other?

For those who aren’t in the know, this is the story of Lady (Barbara Luddy), a cocker spaniel, who was given as a Christmas gift from Jim Dear (Lee Millar) to his lovely wife, Darling (Peggy Lee). Lady is a pampered princess, loving her masters and protecting the home from pigeons and giant rats. She, in turn, is the light of the family’s life…until a little bundle of joy arrives.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the tracks, the collarless Tramp (Larry Roberts) is living footloose and fancy-free, terrorizing dog catchers and fending for scraps. Chance takes him into Lady’s neighborhood, where they meet and an attraction is formed.

The two eventually have some grand adventures, with Tramp showing Lady the joys of a stray’s life, but eventually Tramp comes to find the value of being tied down.

Now available as a two-disc Diamond Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack with DVD (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, MSRP: $39.99) as well as a three-disc Diamond Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack with DVD and digital copy (MSRP: $44.99), viewers have the option to watch Lady and the Tramp after an introduction by Diane Disney Miller, who gives a short tour of the Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, then tells viewers how much her father loved animals…dogs in particular. Blu-ray viewers may also watch with the film with the audio track “Inside Walt’s Story Meetings,” in which voice actors bring to life notes from story meetings and brainstorming sessions that took place between 1939 and 1946. Even knowing these were recorded north of the 21st century, it evokes the spirit of the early Disney filmmakers and gives audiences a rare peek into the old-fashioned animation process.

The new package also includes some interesting bonus features exclusive to the Blu-ray disc. The most interactive is the new Disney Second Screen feature, now included on many new Disney releases. With an Internet-enabled Blu-ray player, viewers can enjoy a wealth of special features on an iPad or computer (both Mac and PC formats are supported). Some of the gems in this Second Screen collection are storyboards and line drawings from the original concept meetings; flipboards featuring basic animations contrasted with the final product; Scene Shuffle, where players put a mixed-up version of a classic still back together; Draw and Paint, featuring various characters; Fun Facts; and biographies of key players at Walt Disney Studios as the film was being made. Second Screen users can also watch their Blu-ray version of the movie with an expanded version of “Inside Walt’s Story Meetings,” illustrated with sketches, storyboards, film clips and photos.

Three never-before-seen deleted scenes are included on the Blu-ray disc. These are essentially animated storyboards from original concept meetings in the 1940s, with voice actors portraying the characters and/or narration. The pencil drawings are beautiful, each one little art pieces, but it’s not difficult to see why these elements were never added to the final storyline.

The first, “Introduction of Boris,” is a tedious 10 minutes long. It details the fight for Lady’s affection by loveable mutt Homer and Russian wolfhound Boris, who has just moved in next door. Boris is insufferable, attempting to win Lady’s affection by flaunting his wealth and perceived importance. Homer, in the meantime, is the blue-collar dog who doesn’t even know the meaning of half the fancy words Boris uses. In the end, Boris and Homer were scrapped for Jock and Trusty, a wise move on the part of the filmmakers.

In contrast, “Waiting for Baby” and “Dog Show” offer more lighthearted fun. The first expands on Jim Dear’s desire for a son, and his certainty that he’ll do great things. The second finds Lady and Tramp crashing a trained dog show, featuring dancing poodles. Both could have easily been added to the final cut, but they wouldn’t have added more than a few new laughs.

Over the course of the many years this movie was being developed, the characters went through many variations. At one point, Tramp had a song, the catchy "I'm Free as the Breeze," which is performed here for the first time over line drawings and sketches. Ultimately, it was decided that Tramp wouldn’t be a singing character, however, so the number was tabled.

Diane Disney Miller narrates a second featurette on both the Blu-ray disc and DVD, “Remembering Dad.” In it, she reveals the fact that Walt had an apartment built above the fire station in Disneyland, which he and his wife, Lillian, used until he died. The pair were apparently great fans of Victorian-era décor (having both grown up in that time), but their own home was more modern. Therefore, this small apartment became their mini-Victorian oasis (Second Screen users can take a 360-degree virtual tour of the apartment).

Rounding out the bonus features on the Blu-ray disc are extras from the 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition DVD, released in 2006: “Lady's Pedigree: The Making of Lady and the Tramp;” “Finding Lady: The Art of the Storyboard;” the original 1943 storyboard version of the film; “PuppyPedia: Going to the Dogs;” “The Siamese Cat Song: Finding a Voice for the Cats;” a "Bella Notte" Music Video; trailers for the theatrical release; and excerpts from "Disneyland" TV shows. The DVD also includes “PuppyPedia,” which is narrated by the ever-witty Fred Willard, who teaches viewers the differences in five types of dogs using clips of pooches from Disney movies (both animated and live-action), along with actual canines and their owners in a dog park.

The opening credits of Lady and the Tramp claim that the film is dedicated to all dogs, whether they be “ladies” or “tramps.” The film definitely bridges the gap between both types of humans as well, and still brings a smile to the faces of young and old alike. It’s truly a classic tale that
deserves to be unleashed in high definition.

Lady and the Tramp: Diamond Edition is now available on Blu-ray.  

Published on LifeInLA.com

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