‘Lady & the Tramp’ bounds on to UK Region free Blu-ray with a pristine 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer framed in the full width Cinemascope frame of 2.55:1. We get to see it in a slightly wider than usual widescreen as this is the image before it was printed down on to 35mm film to allow space for the Optical soundtrack. So we’re seeing all there is to see. The film itself looks absolutely spotless – and we’ve come to expect no less from Disney with their restorations. If only every film from 1955 looked this good. Colours are strong with good use of rich, vibrant primaries. There’s a wonderful look to the paint, blobbed on to the backs of the cels to ensure no brushmarks show. The hand drawn cel animation lines are so sharp you can imagine an animator at his light table working on them, yet there’s no trace of over sharpening or ‘ringing’. The iconic ‘Bella Notte’ sequence looks superb with the yellow lighting coming from Toni’s kitchen. As the camera tilts up to the suspended washing lines, the quality of the image impresses with the cleanliness and depth of the night sky. The dogs eyes sparkle and the animation never dies even for a split second. Contrast is excellent throughout and we get nice deep blacks in the shadows. There’s no grain on show here at all, yet the image looks so filmic. There’s only one word for this release and that is – lovely!
The audio on ‘Lady & the Tramp’ comes in a DTS-HD MA 7.1 surround mix that delivers pleasure to the ears. Over the opening titles, the Disney choir sing ‘Bella Notte’ and it’s all around you – a wonderful, warm sounding, sugary, emotion raising song. I could feel myself filling up as it brought back memories of seeing the film at an afternoon matinee in the 1960’s in the Alloa Deluxe cinema. While the audio doesn’t have the brand new, ‘pin dropping’ clarity of a recent release, it presents a very clear and detailed sonic image that reveals the recording technology of the period of its production. By that I don’t mean there’s hiss, snap, crackle and pop – because there most definitely is not – it’s just that a 50’s orchestra had a certain sound. The dialogue is clear and crisp, while the songs are quite detailed with individual instruments. In the ‘Bella Notte’ sequence, you can very clearly hear the strings of the mandolin being played. There’s directionality to the speech and sound effects across the front soundstage, which is nice to hear and it adds depth to the presentation. The rears come alive mainly with music and there’s just enough bass to add presence without making you feel hoofed in the forehead. This is the best I’ve ever heard this classic animation sound.
The version reviewed was the UK Region free Diamond Edition Blu-ray, which is a single disc package containing all the ported over bonus materials from the previously released DVD as well as a few new extras for the Blu-ray. I’m only concentrating on the new Blu-ray extras. For those who are interested, the package does not contain a restored 1.33:1 version of the movie. The Cinemascope version looks superb.
Inside Walt's Story Meetings (HD) - This is a Disney Second Screen feature which requires an iPad or Laptop to allow you to download a free App. It contains some interesting behind the scenes information as well as storyboards and is really for those who want to make the extra effort to get that little bit more.
Backstage Disney: Diamond Edition
Diane Disney Miller: Remembering Dad (HD, 8 mins) - Some fond memories from Walt’s daughter as she takes us to her Dad’s apartment above the Fire Station in Disneyland. We hear of his fascination for mechanical toys, the Victorian era and grilled cheese sandwiches. Some nice anecdotes and a great personal insight into Walt Disney, the human being.
Deleted Scenes (HD, 19 mins) - Here are three deleted scenes that never got further than the pencil sketch storyboard stage – ‘Introduction of Boris’, ‘Waiting for Baby’ and ‘Dog Show’. A ‘Voice Over’ explains what’s going on in the storyboard animatics.
Music & More
Never recorded song (1 min 26 sec) - With lyrics by Ray Gilbert and music by Eliot Daniel, the song ‘I’m Free as the Breeze’ was to have been sung by Tramp to express his life philosophy – before it was decided that Tramp was not to be a singing character. It’s a jaunty little number with a piano accompaniment.
Classic DVD Bonus features - This is a collection of featurettes that we’ve all seen before on the DVD, so I’ll spare everyone the details. Included are ‘Lady’s Pedigree: The Making of ‘Lady And The Tramp’, ‘Finding Lady: The Art of The Storyboard’, ‘Original 1943 Storyboard Version Of The Film’ & ‘The Siamese Cat Song: Finding a Voice for the Cats’, ‘Puppypedia: Going to the Dogs’, ‘Bella Notte- Music Video’, ‘Excerpts from Disneyland TV Shows’ & ‘Deleted Scenes’. The titles are pretty self explanatory.
Discover Blu-ray 3D with Timon & Pumbaa (HD, 4 mins) - Those wild and crazy guys from ‘The Lion King’ extol the virtues of the 3D experience in this shameless plug. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
The Disney classic ‘Lady and The Tramp’ bounds on to UK Region free Blu-ray with a beautiful 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer, framed in the full Cinemascope widescreen aspect ratio of 2.55:1.
Colours are wonderfully vibrant in this pristine transfer that maintains the high standard of Disney animations appearing on Blu-ray.
The audio comes in the DTS-HD MA 7.1 surround format which fills the room with music and clear, crisp dialogue.
All the featurettes from the previously released DVD have been ported over and we get a few new High Def extras including a short presented by Diane Disney Miller about her Dad.
The film is the charming, heart warming tale of a young spaniel called Lady who hits the town with that mongrel Tramp, a dog who hails from the wrong side of the tracks. There are great songs and excellent animation from the heyday of the Disney Studio. Watch it tonight.
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