Lady And The Tramp: 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition

Lady And The Tramp: 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition (1955)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Cast: Peggy Lee, Barbara Luddy, Larry Roberts, Bill Thompson
Extras: Deleted Footage, Featurettes, Documentaries, Games, Activities

It's always a true pleasure and genuine delight to be entertained by a Walt Disney Classic, especially the "Platinum Edition" fully restored two-disc special editions that have been making their way to the marketplace only twice per calendar year. I had the honor of reviewing "Cinderella" in the Fall, and now I have just completed a full viewing of Disney's latest treasure "Lady and the Tramp".

Becoming the true joy of their lives, a younger couple adopt a lovingly curious cocker spaniel and name her "Lady". Getting used to her surroundings and constant love and affection from her owners, Lady seems to have a pretty good and easy life. With her pals from the neighborhood "Jock" and "Trusty", the trio live each day taking in all of the comforts that their well kept neighborhood has to offer them. Enter "Tramp" a mutt of sorts from the other side of town. An almost complete opposite to what the prim and proper pooches of the upper part of town are like. With no safety or comforts of a warm home and living off of the generosity of the local restaurant establishments that always seem willing to pass Tramp a quick meal here and there.

With a new addition to the family on the way, Lady's situation soon changes as she finds her once prized love and affection from her owners temporarily unavailable. One day Lady crosses paths with Tramp and the two strike up a friendship, skeptical at first, Jock and Trusty are not too sure about this so called mutt from across the tracks. That is until Tramp proves he has a genuine heart of gold by taking care of Lady when things are not looking so good for her, even sharing the now infamous spaghetti and meatball dinner behind the local Italian restaurant that always manages to put a smile on my face, while filling your heart with joy.

One day when a situation arises that puts the newborn baby's safety in jeopardy, it's Tramp who steps up to the plate helping Lady to keep the infant out of harms way. Bringing a renewed admiration for Lady from her owners, with Tramp now joining the one big happy family too! A sweet ending to a really heartfelt story.

I had a great time experiencing "Lady and the Tramp" for the first time in a long time. You can't help but have a great admiration for all of the work that went into restoring and releasing "Lady and the Tramp" like never before. This all-new "limited time only" two-disc "Lady and the Tramp: 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition" DVD comes complete with a beautiful transfer of the film and a second disc that is loaded with added features, which should definitely not be missed.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment proudly releases Walt Disney's popular classic "Lady and the Tramp" in a truly breathtaking restored transfer. Color saturation is top notch providing a wonderful display of the films color pallet and texture. Deep black levels provide tremendous image detail that really opened my eyes to features not distinguishable in previous home video releases of "Lady and the Tramp". There is absolutely no forms of distracting video compression or even the slightest spec of dust or dirt. I can easily recommend this transfer to rise to the top of the ranks when it comes to true reference quality imagery.

Treating the sound as good as the visual exhibition, Walt Disney provides a restored version of the original theatrical soundtrack in a Dolby Digital 3.0 presentation. Also included is an all-new 5.1 "Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix" that easily showcases the best speaker set-ups out there. The songs and vocals sound pure and clean without a hint of distortion. Bass levels are in tune to add a depth and richness to the overall sound presentation. Every channel is utilized to the fullest, with the rear channels coming to life at just the appropriate moments within the film. You really are headed for pure bliss as you reacquaint yourself with a true cinematic treasure from the golden age of classic Disney animation.

With this awesome feature presentation fresh in your memory, its now time to explore all of the behind-the-scenes magic that brought "Lady and the Tramp" to its fully restored glory.

Alongside the feature presentation on disc one is a selection of sneak peek trailers. Disney also incorporates a pretty cool option called "Disney Fast Play", which is obviously designed with younger children in mind. This feature mimics a "quick play" feature found on most VHS players. You simply insert disc one, select "Fast Play" and the feature starts automatically! Selecting the English 5.1 soundtrack and Full Frame presentation. This just goes to show you that Disney has not forgotten its younger core audience while designing this DVD. Now children can easily watch "Lady and the Tramp" on DVD without the need of their parents assistance to navigate them through the sometimes complex screen and sound options contained in todays DVD menus, simple, yet brilliant feature.

Inserting disc two presents the viewer with the extra features section, and like previous Disney "Platinum Edition" DVD releases, there is a vast amount of material to behold. Separated into four distinct categories; "Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes", "Games & Activities", "Music & More" and "Backstage Disney".

Entering the "Deleted Scenes" section, you will witness two key scenes that were never completed or included in the final presentation. Mixing storyboard, music and narration with some unfinished clips in an attempt to resemble a finished deleted scene as closely as possible, will give you a slightly different perspective of how "Lady and the Tramp" could have turned out. You do have the option of viewing with or without the introduction and narration by Eric Goldberg, I chose the narration option as you get a better understanding as to what is being presented. Quite the interesting look into the early pre-production of "Lady and the Tramp".

"Music & More" offers "The Siamese Cat Song: Finding a Voice for the Cats", which demonstrates the different songs considered for this sequence. There is also the music video "Bella Notte" that is performed by Steve Tyrell.

The "Games & Activities" section offers some fun and interactive stuff, geared more for the younger crowd. Starting with "Disney Virtual Puppy" (DVD ROM), "Disney Dog Trivia – A Virtual Board Game" tests your knowledge of the various loveable Disney dogs in the form of a 3-D set-top game. "PuppyPedia: Going to the Dogs" and "Your Inner Bark: Personality Profile" are two more features that allow you to join in on the fun.

The fourth and most extensive section of disc two is "Backstage Disney". Here you are given every piece of technical information that one could ask for concerning the making of "Lady and the Tramp".

The informative documentary "Lady's Pedigree: The Making of Lady and the Tramp" is a wonderfully entertaining and fact filled documentary. Taking the viewer behind-the-scenes of the animation process, even introducing Disney's infamous nine old men, a group of animators who are solely responsible for the classic animated films that we have all come to love and admire. You will also witness just how far animators went to capture the actual characteristics of real life dogs by selecting and observing various breeds to ensure that "Lady and the Tramp" look as realistic as possible. Also discussed is the fact that "Lady and the Tramp" was the first full-length animated film to utilize the Cinemascope widescreen format. This was a competitive time in the 1950's when it was believed that television would virtually wipe out the theater going experience, so it was up to studios and filmmakers to come up with new ways to attract theater patrons. Quite the interesting look at the early days of the widescreen format, especially it's affect on shaping how we view films today; both at the theater and at home. That's only a small portion of what awaits you in this well presented documentary, I strongly recommend anyone interested in filmmaking to take the time to view this great program.

"Finding Lady: The Art of the Storyboard" and "Original 1943 Storyboard Version of the Film" are two more highly recommended items to examine while in the special features section. A comprehensive selection of excerpts from "Disneyland TV Shows", a full photo gallery with option to view still frame or as a slide show and a trailers section round out the massive special features parcel that encompasses disc two.

This very special "Lady and the Tramp: 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition" is simply as good as it gets when it comes to collector editions. With a fully restored reference quality picture and sound, along with it's tremendous wealth of extras and even a handy fold-out DVD Guide, I sincerely recommend this film and DVD edition as a must add to your DVD collection.