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.
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.
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!