A wealthy American has a chance encounter with a joyful young French woman, and anonymously pays for her education. She writes letters to her mysterious benefactor, nicknaming him from the description given by some of her fellow orphans.
On a trip to France, millionaire Jervis Pendleton sees an 18 year old girl in an orphanage. Enchanted with her, but mindful of the difference in their ages, he sponsors her to college in New England. She writes him letters, which he doesn't read. After 3 years, he goes to visit her at a dance, not telling her that he is her benefactor. They fall in love, but the usual movie-type difficulties get in the way before they can get together at the end.Written by
John Oswalt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Excellent film in this genre, showcases Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron, two of my old favorites.
I think this film, "Daddy Long Legs", is much better than its Imdb rating indicates. I rate it "8" of 10. Fred Astaire was 56 and Leslie Caron 24 when this film came out, so it stretches the age thing a bit, but I suppose we can write that off as cultural differences among the French.
Simple story, executed very well. I didn't read the book, nor do I think it is relevant. This is a movie and it should be appreciated on its own merits. It is well-established that the author of this screenplay changed the story quite a bit, for purposes of this Hollywood production, so comparing it to the book is moot.
Wealthy American (Astaire/Jervis) is on an economic mission to France when their vehicle gets stuck in a ditch. He wanders upon a French orphanage, looking for a phone or ride, and spots the 18-yr-old orphan (Caron/Julie), so lively, bright, responsible, attending to the younger orphans. He becomes an anonymous sponsor and sends her to a college in Mass. The only stipulation is that she write a letter weekly to "Mr Jones" to keep him informed of her progress.
The letters never get to Jervis, intercepted and filed by his staff. Until over two years later, when he had forgotten about her, but her letters are called to his attention. Finds out his niece is one of her roommates, he goes to a college dance to visit his neice, but really to see Julie. They meet, hit it off despite their age difference, dance marvelously. Later Julie visits NYC alone, ambassador to France is on next patio, at breakfast overhears what he thinks is hanky-panky, persuades Jervis to quit seeing Julie.
Julie eventually graduates, is lonely because she has never met "Daddy Long Legs", and has no place to go to after graduation. She insists on meeting her benefactor, who lives in a mansion, sort of museum, that even gives art tours to the public. There she realizes Jervis is in fact her benefactor, he proposes, she accepts.
First, the story is very plausible. A rich man seeing a talented person and wanting to help out anonymously. So I naturally find the story compelling. Second, Astaire and Caron were two of the best dancers, and also very good actors, that ever lived. "Dream scenes" were concocted to showcase each alone, and both together, in production dance numbers. For its genre, it is an almost perfect film. It gets its name from the small orphans telling Julie they saw him, not distinctly, at night and his shadow cast on the orphanage's wall made him look like he had very long legs.
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