Lady and the Tramp is actually a Disney animated feature that I saw considerably more recently than some of the others, as Beth’s cousin pretty much forced us to watch it a few years ago. It’s an interesting feature, basically told from the point of view of a dog. Lady is a cocker spaniel belonging to a rather wealthy couple known only as “Jim Dear” and “Darling,” presumably because that’s what they call each other. We only see the faces of the owners, or indeed of any humans, occasionally. At first the movie follows Lady growing up, and it’s during this part that we’re introduced to her friends, a Scotty named Jock and a retired bloodhound called Trusty.
The two of them obviously belong to neighbors, but we never see their owners. The first hint of conflict arises when Darling gets pregnant, and Lady is afraid the baby will replace her in the couple’s affections. For some reason, I found myself thinking that the two of them seemed a little old to be having their first baby, but there’s no hint of this in the film, so I guess I just invented it. Once the baby is born, Lady feels affectionate and protective toward him. And I must say that the drawing of the baby is quite odd. He doesn’t move, and kind of looks like just part of the scenery.
When Jim Dear and Darling go out of town, Aunt Sarah is called in to watch the house and the baby. She clearly doesn’t like dogs, and when Lady chases her twin Siamese cats to stop them from ruining the house and bothering the baby, Sarah puts a muzzle on her. Lady runs away and meets up with a stray mutt, who is of course the Tramp of the title.
After getting a beaver, voiced by the great Stan Freberg, to remove the muzzle, the two have a romantic evening together.
This is where the spaghetti dinner with the two of them kissing when eating the same noodle comes in, and apparently it’s implied that they had sex afterwards. Normally I’d be incredulous of this theory, like I am of the word “sex” appearing in the dust in The Lion King, but apparently it’s been confirmed and it WOULD explain some things. After Lady’s stay in the pound, Jock and Trusty propose to her. This COULD be just to get her away from Aunt Sarah, but they presumably know that Jim Dear and Darling will be back in a few days, so why would that be necessary? Hence, it’s likely that she’s already pregnant with Tramp’s puppies by this point.
Also, when Lady finds out from a dog at the pound voiced by Peggy Lee that Tramp is a notorious philanderer, she’s quite angry at him, and only learns to trust him again after he’s killed a rat in the baby’s room. Come on, Lady, don’t you know dogs don’t mate for life? Really, while I think the filmmakers definitely tried to make the dogs act like dogs, they’re certainly very human in that respect. By the way, the pound scene is where we see a dog being taken to get euthanized, and it’s pretty much spelled out for the audience, making for a very disturbing scene. Also kind of on the dark side is when Trusty gets run over by the dog catcher’s cart, and Jock thinks he’s dead. Fortunately, he’s back in the next scene, none the worse for wear aside from a cast on one leg. We also find out that Jim Dear and Darling have not only adopted Tramp, but are presumably also planning on keeping the four puppies. Strangely, all three female puppies look just like Lady, and the one male just like Tramp.
What, the animators couldn’t combine their features? So it’s a happy ending for everybody, except for Nutsy who took the long walk.
One thing I noticed on this viewing of the movie was just how much of the humor relies on goofy stereotypical voices. Jock speaks with a Scottish brogue, the staff at Tony’s is comically Italian, the Siamese cats sing in an Asian accent complete with bad grammar, and Freberg’s beaver whistles his S’s. This is most prominent in the pound, however, in which most of the dogs speak with accents pertaining to their breeds: the bulldog English, the dachshund German, the chihuahua Mexican, and the borzoi Russian.
Another thing I noted was that, when Lady and the Tramp are at the zoo, Tramp doesn’t bother trying to talk to the apes because they’re “too closely related to humans.” I wonder if any Creationists have taken offense at that line. Anyway, I quite enjoyed this repeat viewing, and it looks like Sleeping Beauty is next on the list.