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Wealthy Jervis Pendleton acts as benefactor for orphan Judy Abbott, anonymously sponsoring her in her boarding school. But as she grows up, he finds himself falling in love with her, and she with him, though she does not know that the man she has fallen for is her benefactor. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Daddy Long Legs
words by Sam M. Lewis & Joe Young, music by Harry Ruby. c. 1919
'inspired by Mary Pickford in Jean Webster's celebrated play- "Daddy Long Legs" directed by Marshall Neilan, A "First National Attraction"' See more »
I caught about 1/3 (in the middle) of Daddy Long-Legs on AMC and remarked to myself what a good actress the girl playing Judy was. It was only after my curiosity was piqued that I found out the title and that this was none other than the renowned Mary Pickford. It was my first date with America's Sweetheart.
Since then I have bought three films over the Internet, Croquette, Daddy Long-Legs and Stella Maris. I have yet to see the third of these. I just watched Daddy Long-Legs in its entirety (tinted VHS version) and was most impressed. I also ordered and read a biography of Ms. Pickford during the interim.
Have no doubt: this lady could act. While she showed in Croquette that she would probably have adjusted well to sound and mature roles, had her public been willing to accept this, we see her in her true element in Daddy Long-Legs.
Hollywood silents were entering their maturity in 1919 and this was a solid one. I'm not sure if the tinting was original (as in the case of Nosferatu, which Kino lovingly restored) or added. If it IS original, it is marvelous. I wonder how close the orchestra score is to the tunes audiences would have heard performed during the film at theatres.
The cast is solid and Pickford is brilliant. I have to defend a couple of criticisms of the screenplay. I don't feel Miss Pritchett is inconsistent in trying to help Judy catch the train. After all, SHE would look bad if her charge missed the train after the rich new director had gone to the trouble of making these arrangements. Plus, her relationship to Judy changes somewhat at that point. While Judy had always been a thorn in her side, she suddenly becomes someone who can make HER look good if she succeeds in college sort of like a pro athlete making his/her high school coach look good. Obviously, had Judy been kicked out of college, she would have had nothing more to do with her and would have felt justified in her earlier harsh treatment of her.
The question about her increase in scholarship is a legitimate one. It troubles me a tad. Yet it appears that at least a couple and probably four of years go by between her arrival at and graduation from college. Since she has no boyfriend to start with, no parents to miss, etc., it stands to reason that she would likely have poured herself into diligent study, as she had to her work at the orphanage. She may well have been exceptionally bright, but merely lacking much "book learning." Is this a stretch? Maybe. Maybe not. I would say getting a novel published on the second try at that age is a bigger stretch but, still, with a story like the one she would have had to tell, it seems feasible, too.
I wish we had a version restored to the 16 apertures per second, or whatever the silent film era speed was. Nosferatu is glorious with remastered and restored sound and speed. This version is still a tad faster than normal but it still flows very well.
It is easy to see why Mary Pickford was America's Sweetheart. Watch Daddy Long-Legs and fall in love with her, yourself!
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