May 5, 1955: Fred Astaire is Daddy Long Legs

Daddy_Long_Legs-1955Daddy Long Legs is a Hollywood musical comedy film set in France, New York City, and the fictional college town of Walston, Massachusetts. The film was directed by Jean Negulesco, and stars Fred Astaire, Leslie Caron, Terry Moore, Fred Clark, and Thelma Ritter, with music and lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The screenplay was written by Phoebe Ephron and Henry Ephron, loosely based on the 1912 novel Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster.

Daddy Long Legs was Fred Astaire’s only movie musical at 20th Century-Fox. It was also the only time he co-starred with Leslie Caron (who, at the time, was still under contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, but was lent to Fox for this production). The film was one of Astaire’s personal favorites, largely due to the script, which, for once, directly addresses the complications inherent in a love affair between a young woman and a man thirty years her senior. However, the making of it was marred by his wife’s death from lung cancer. A devastated Astaire offered to pay the production expenses already incurred in order to quit the project, but then changed his mind.

This was the first of three consecutive Astaire films set in France or with a French theme (the others being Funny Face and Silk Stockings), following the fashion for French-themed musicals established by ardent Francophile Gene Kelly with An American in Paris (1951), which also featured Kelly’s protégée Caron.

Cinema-US-05-05-1955

Wealthy American Jervis Pendleton III (Astaire) has a chance encounter at a French orphanage with a cheerful 18-year-old resident, Julie Andre (Caron). He anonymously pays for her education at a New England college. She writes letters to her mysterious benefactor regularly, but he never writes back. Her nickname for him, “Daddy Long Legs”, is taken from the description of him given to Andre by some of her fellow orphans who see his shadow as he leaves their building.

Several years later, he visits her at school, still concealing his identity. Despite their large age difference, they fall in love. [Wikipedia]

Watch the trailer on the Flame Flamable (sic) YouTube Channel.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s