Daddy Long Legs Reviews
The plotline/action doesn't once get deeper than the basic book, that being a middle-aged mid-Century man's ultimate fantasy. Astaire's a 50ish gazillionaire running his corporate conglomerate from behind a big fat desk atop some Manhattan skyscraper. Then he chances into funding a 16-year-old French orphan's Boston College experience (anonymously). Then when she's 19 (and 'fair game') he, of course, turns the letch hanging around the freshman formal to get a gander (anonymously). Then he, of course, turns up to court and woo her (using a pseudonym, of course). The wooing is then interrupted by cold feet and wistful longing ... until graduation day ... of course.
In the end, of course, the two woo quite successfully. No surprise since, as the jeweler in the film says, "It's been our experience that a diamond of that quality never comes back."
This is a dance vehicle and so the viewer shouldn't expect much more. Well, actually the viewer SHOULD expect more, since there's a bit too much vapid story and a bit too little song and dance. "Dream (When You're Feeling Blue)" and "Something's Gotta Give" are the best tunes. The former merely lilts in the background'; Fred & Leslie duet the latter, throats 'n' toes, and it's pretty pedestrian. The most interesting dance number is actually a solo Astaire in a hokey cowboy spur-clickin' number. Caron's "girl-loses-man malaise dream" dance number plays out far too high-brow and 'modern' for 1955 popcorn-munchers.
The best part of the romancing is Caron's incredible ability to convincingly portray a very young girl delectably caving to the advances of a much older man. When Astaire cracks a wry smile toward Caron after she accepts his proposal, it looks a lot less like his acting out romantic satisfaction ... and a lot more like his admiration and acknowledgment of her talented delivery to the camera.
Color by DeLuxe; CinemaScope. Visually, the film has survived time well. The color composition ramps up within the dance costumes and numbers but, in terms of cinematography, there's nothing else special here.
RECOMMENDATION: For Astaire completists ... and anyone who needs a second dose of Caron's stagecraft after viewing "Gigi." Everyone else can simply advance directly to "Go" and collect $200..
Except Thelma Ritter and Fred Clark performances.