Lady and the Tramp is another of the movies that I haven’t seen in such a long time that I couldn’t remember anything going into it except the scene everyone knows involving meatballs. Hence, I had no real expectations for this film. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing.
We start off on Christmas day and Jim Dear gives Darling a dog in a hatbox. It has been surprisingly well behaved that entire time. Not, you know, barking, moving around, or pooping in the box or anything else to give it away that there’s something alive in there. And not a hat. And Darling doesn’t figure it out when she picks up the box to unwrap it and it’s considerably heavier than a hat. Or perhaps she’s just playing along. I bet she’s the kind that peeks the night before….
Anyway, they name her Lady and she’s a high society sort. Collar and everything. She’s respectable. She has a few friends that are upper crust too. The first is Jock, a Scottish Terrier who squirrels bones away like he’s one of those people preparing for the apocalypse. Which makes some sense since the movie supposedly takes place (starting) in 1909 and Earth passed through the tail of Haley’s comet in 1910, causing a panic because astronomers had detected poisonous cyanogen gas in its spectra.
Her other friend is Trusty, a bloodhound with a poor sense of smell who dreams of his glory days with his grandfather, Old Reliable, who he can’t quite remember telling everyone about.
She ends up meeting the Tramp who is definitely the Wrong Sort since he doesn’t have a collar, eats out of trash cans, and isn’t beholden to a family. Instead, he spends his days chasing chickens and springing his fellow strays from the dog catcher. Lady and Tramp run into one another when he’s out on the town and warns Lady that babies moving in means dogs move out. She ignores this best she can but after a terrible misunderstanding with Aunt Sally who comes to babysit so the Dear/Darling pair can have a much needed vacation, the message begins to sink in. Aunt Sally has two Siamese cats who are rather meddling and get Lady in quite a bit of trouble, leading Aunt Sally to muzzle Lady who runs off and meets up with Tramp again. He takes her to the zoo and finds a beaver who reminds me of a particular Gopher (although different voice actors), that snaps it off for her.
The two galavant about the town until Lady is caught by the dog catcher and temporarily put in the pound. I suppose the tags on collars didn’t simply have a return address on them 100 years ago. While there, she learns that Tramp is quite a philanderer. When she gets home, Lady is chained in a dog house and when Tramp stops by she scorns him until a rat sneaks in (which is apparently unheeded by the pair of cats), and Tramp chases after it for her. The rat, apparently, was after the baby. I didn’t know that this was a common occurrence (I have quite a few friends with rats who have no biting problems), but apparently rat bites are a big thing (second example that’s much less squeamish friendly). Still, I don’t buy it. We all know how adorable rats are.
But when the Dear/Darling pair shows up and Lady shows them there was a rat, the whole picture becomes clear and they decide to adopt Tramp. Which he’s surprisingly cool with given how he scorned being tied down, either with another dog or a family. This was the thinnest part of the movie here for me since it was a pretty dramatic shift in characterization without any real motivation. Perhaps it’s because they had puppies and suddenly has to be Responsible.