Some historical facts from watching the DVD making, the very first initial idea for this film during the early stages of story development was really conceived by Joe Grant inspired by his family pet dog a Cocker Spaniel. Unfortunately Joe Grant had a falling out with Walt Disney and left. By then the story still wasn't solid and Walt Disney got Ward Greene to write a novel treatment for it and adapted it for the feature. Joe Grant was not credited.
Lady & The Tramp is also an original story for a Disney animated feature. The previous features were either based from Fairy Tales or Novels.
Following up from watching Peter Pan, personally I believe the production quality for Lady & The Tramp was a step up not just from the animation point of view but from the layouts and Bground paintings. Having two dogs of my own it felt natural watching the dog characters of this film even though they talked like humans. The really strange time when it felt wrong was when the tramp imitated human facial emotions and motion but besides that the characters were still very believable as dogs. The Spaghetti Scene would never have made it in the film if Frank Thomas hadn't push for it, animated it and proved to Walt that audience would watch two dogs eating spaghetti in a romantic sincere setup.
During the 50's, TV sets were starting to be sold. The film industry thought TV was going to kill the cinemas, so.... wide screen and Cinerama formats was a way to give the audience a unique visual experience home TV's can't. Same reason for Stereographic films which nowadays we know it as ~ "Watch
Lady & The Tramp is the first Disney feature to be shot in wide screen, probably the first animated feature in wide screen.
Due to the choice of shooting this film for Cinerama / wide screen, the panoramic landscapes just enhanced the mood and environment for the characters to play in. Even though the Bground is full of details it never did pull my attention away from the characters, using light and dark areas to compose and frame actions and situations.
Although the wide screen format enhanced a lot of the shots most of the time, there were some when the character was surrounded with a lot of empty dead space, it felt that the left and right field of screen wasn't utilized and were there just to fill the wide framing. One of the reason was because not all the cinema's during that period had Cinerama setups and still used the old full screen format, so during story development they had to re~plan the shots for both wide and full screen, thus some of the side framing in the wide screen versions felt unused. On the other hand in the full screen version, there would be elements and even characters cropped out of frame.
Great film to study layout designs.