It’s said that when he first watched a rough cut of his studio’s next feature cartoon, Walt Disney absolutely disapproved of one scene: when the Cocker Spaniel Lady and the roguish mutt Tramp dig into a plate of spaghetti on a romantic night and catch ends of the same strand, their faces coming closer to a kiss as they nibble. This, of course, is the moment — played to the strains of Peggy Lee and Sonny Burke’s Neapolitan ballad “Bella Notte” — that immediately entered the DNA of millions of moviegoers and is still cherished more than a half-century later.
Disney’s 15th animated feature, and its first released in CinemaScope, was one of its more modest productions in a decade when the studio had mixed results with its ambitious adaptations of such famous tales as Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and Sleeping Beauty. Returning to the core Disney values of humor and heart, veteran directors Clyde Geronimo, Hamilton Luske and Wilfred Jackson gave Lady and the Tramp the pedigree of a winner that delights every new generation of children.
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