Movie Monday: Daddy Long Legs 1955


I thought it was somewhat appropriate for me to finally re-watch this enchanting musical after finishing the Lolita audio-book. This movie has been sitting in my Netflix instant queue for quite a while, but I found that the premise of a rich older man falling in love with a very young lady bothered me a lot more in my 20s that it did in my pre-adolescent years. Though after enduring the evils of Humbert Humbert (the creepy older man in Lolita), I figured Fred Astaire was sure to be quite the innocent. And so, after 15 years of first watching Daddy Long Legs, I pushed play, and to my delight, really enjoyed this movie all over again.

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Fred Astaire plays Jervis Pendleton III – a rich man with a penchant for drums, dance, and international economics. When his car is fatefully lodged into a muddy ditch in rural France, Jervis walks down the road for help, finding only a lonely old orphanage full of happy children and blue gingham fabric. Julie Andre (Leslie Caron) had spent all of her eighteen years at the orphanage, but now lovingly cares for the younger children. Jervis is so taken with her charisma, teaching skills and motherly instincts that he decides to anonymously take her under his care, sending her to a girls' college in the United States and giving her everything she should need for a successful life.

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At first, Julie is caught up in the excitement of her new life – trunks full of beautiful new clothes, new American friends, and a college education, all paid for by a mysterious man she calls "Daddy Long Legs." Nothing could be more romantic or exciting for an 18 year old girl. Until loneliness sets in, and though Julie writes letter after letter to her Daddy Long Legs, he never writes back. It's as if he had forgotten she existed. Or did he? :) You will have to watch the movie to find out for yourself.

Oh, don't worry, it's not as mysterious as I make it all seem. Daddy Long Legs is really just a charming musical with an quirky romantic twist. And if you aren't really into musicals, I suggest you give this particular one a shot anyway! The song and dance sequences aren't quite as arbitrary as what you might expect from a musical such as An American in Paris (another Leslie Caron picture). No need for frequent popcorn breaks, I promise! Each scene is quite entertaining in its own right. So, give it a go. And do let me know what you think!

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15 Responses

  1. Danielle says:

    You should totally read the book! It’s incredibly adorable and SO GOOD. Also, Jervis isn’t old in the book ;).
    -first time commenter

  2. Mandi says:

    Thanks for the comment, Danielle! I had no idea there was a book! (I admit that sheepishly, because usually I like to learn a lot about the movies I watch.) I’m so glad Jervis isn’t as old in the book, because I kept thinking… when she is 40, He will be…. well, probably 70! And that’s being generous. haha You know what I mean. :)

  3. I love this movie!! But then I love absolutely anything that stars Fred Astaire! ;)
    The one May/September movie romance that gives me the willies is Susan Slept Here with Debbie Reynolds playing an underage runaway and Dick Powell as an Oscar winning writer who gets stuck with her over the holidays. He looks like he’s in his 60’s (even though his character is supposed to be 30-something.. still creepy) and she’s supposed to be like 16 or 17 I think, and looks it, if not younger. When I was a teenager I adored this movie.. I thought it was so romantic for an older man to love someone my age. But now that I’m in my 20’s I think it’s waaay too icky! haha!

  4. arnique says:

    I love Leslie Caron (Gigi!) and Daddy Long Legs but I haven’t found a DVD of this yet. Maybe I should just order. Fred Astaire is Fred Astaire but he couldn’t possibly be a proper Jervis though. Jervis was 34!

  5. Alexandra says:

    This movie sounds really interesting, I will have to check it out. I have a serious weakness for Hollywood musicals.

  6. Mandi says:

    Kate, I totally agree! My mom and I watched that movie together this year, and the whole time she had this curled lipped look of disgust. But it was funny. Mostly because it was totally weird and implausible. But… I like Debbie Reynolds, so I tolerated it. haha

  7. Laura Wynn says:

    aw, this looks so great! I want to get into older movies, and this looks like the perfect choice! Can’t wait!

  8. Ashlee says:

    Daddy Long Legs was one of the first vintage/older movies that I ever watched. I was taken by the plot and the beautiful vintage back-drop. I’m really taken with this movie <3

  9. bonita says:

    ~ * ? * ~
    I loved this movie when I saw it; did you know it’s based off a book? I loved the book too, although it’s a little different from the movie, they are pretty similar and I quite enjoy both! : )
    bonita of Depict This!
    ~ * ? * ~

  10. AHhh!!! I was going to be putting this in my reviews on Thursday because I watched it yesterday. How cool that we both watched it around the same time through netflix. I put it off for a while too and really shouldn’t have because it was great. I used to want to read the book and I saw the anime for it back in 2005 and thought it was so cute. I wish I still had my book that I NEVER read but had at age 8 and lost or it got ruined in one of my parents’ floods. Ugh. anyway I thought this film was beautifully done!! yey!!

  11. Courtney says:

    The book is fantastic! Jervis is still old, but I don’t think he’s as old as the movie version portrays him. (I was only vaguely creeped out when I read the book.) I’ve been meaning to check out the movie–thanks for posting!

  12. gee says:

    Leslie Caron is my favorite!!
    i like this movie but def is not one of my favorites.
    PLEASE watch Lilie..i love that movie so much. :)

  13. Sara Conway says:

    I find it interesting (in a great way!) that you found Humbert at the end, after all, creepy. Only because this is one of the reasons I love Lolita so much; it really demands that the reader have an opinion about Humbert at the end. Some pity him, some detest him as vehemently as they did at the first mention of her name, and some maintain the opinion that they had had before they read the work in the time when Lolita was just a reference to pedophilia. Some hate themselves for feeling what they do when it is all said and done. It generates discussion like few others and is brilliant…and so many other things. I hope you read more Nabakov and give him and his blue butterflies a tribute! Greetings from a Cleveland gal in Germany!

  14. Mandi says:

    Sara, I didn’t really detest Humbert. In fact, I oddly felt sorry for him. But I thought about how desperately Lolita wanted to get away, and then I thought that he was just a manipulative monster in the end. Though, I still liked him. Felt sorry for him. And detested him. haha Such strange mix of feelings from a book! I agree with you, though, that the book demands some sort of thought and opinion-forming. I didn’t want to dislike him just because of a societal standard saying that we ought to dislike older men who fall in love with girls. After all, my grandfather was 19 when he married my grandmother who was only 14. That wasn’t really what I disliked about him. It was his controlling, obsessive nature that I disliked. Anyways… I suppose I should join a book group or something so that people will listen to my opinions. haha

  15. I love this movie! <3
    I didn't know it was based off a book until now either, so I'll definitely have to check that out! :)
    Yay Love Fred <3