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'Daddy Long Legs' story line a bit stretched but dancing and music is delightful

By Jonathan Farrell
Posted May 10, 2013 in Entertainment
Even though the story line in the 1955 movie-musical "Daddy Long Legs" is a bit stretched and very fanciful by today's standards, the music and dancing is still delightful.
There is something about that Fred Astair debonair and style that is remarkable.
And like fellow dancer-actor Gene Kelly he had the fortunate opportunity to dance with many lovely dancer-actresses at a time in his life when he was considering retirement.
In this movie Astair sweeps Leslie Caron off her feet with remarkable generosity. His multi-millions helps change her orphaned life into a one-in-a-lifetime chance to go off to college in America.
Caron's sweetness and Astair's charm and their shared "joie de vivre' of sorts make the situation believable for an audience of 1955. But, looking at it from today's point of view in our current contemporary world, the story line is unrealistic. And, of course unlikely.
Watching these old musicals sometimes provides a small glimpse into the mindset and the events of those times. For instance in the story line of "Daddy Long Legs," Caron is an orphaned French girl living in an orphanage outside of Paris. Even though the circumstance for the movie has been glossed over, the fact was that much of the world immediately after the Second World War was struggling. America was indeed the superpower that was trying to rebuild Europe.
Fred Astair is his suave and dapper self in the movie musical  Daddy Long Legs  co-starring Leslie C...
Fred Astair is his suave and dapper self in the movie musical "Daddy Long Legs" co-starring Leslie Caron. NYC is the backdrop for this light-hearted musical from 1955.
The college Caron's character of Julie Andre is sent to is actually more like a finishing school. Yes, it was a college, but from the 19th Century to the mid-part of 20th Century, college for women was not like today. The mood and atmosphere of the collegic experience is certainly of a time and place in the past. Women today to don't go to college to get married. Yet it seems from this movie and other movies like it, college for women was limited.
And even though this musical as almost all musicals are of that time, painting things as rosy - there are hints in the dialog that life is not perfect. It seems to me that musicals from the 1930's to '50s were aiming to make people happy.
And, while the story line is dated and very improbably, the sentiment is upbeat and at times noble. Marriage and family and doing the right thing was always the end result of a musical from this time-frame. Yet for this reporter, what holds up the best over any story line is the artistry of the entire cinematic experience and of course the dancing and music. Composer Johnny Mercer's music shines in the song and dance scenes. And, as mentioned before the teaming up of Astair and Caron is a delight.
If you enjoyed movies like "Funny Face," "An American in Paris" or "Gigi" you most likely will enjoy "Daddy Long Legs."

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