[UPDATE: This post is no longer brought to you in yellow—because while it makes me feel happy, and looks super snazzy on a *black* background, it is practically impossible for any subscribers to read on a *white* background. Oops.—Although I love changing up the colors to suit my mood, in the future I will try to refrain from writing in invisible. If this should happen again, please feel free to let me know...or, intrepid readers can try highlighting the entire text, thus reversing the effect. Please now stay tuned for: Periwinkle!] ;)
(Why yes, this IS the color
yellow periwinkle—How clever of you!—I can't help that Daddy Long-Legs gives me a happy springy yellow periwinkle feeling! Also, I've taken the liberty of adding some musical accompaniment, so if you're so inclined, just scroll to the bottom!)
Way before Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, Twilight and everything Meg Cabot has ever written…The people who make movies started turning books into movies. YAY movie-making people!!!!
Because one of my absolute favorite things to do is read a book and then watch the movie…but usually only after I’ve already watched the movie first, and then read the book. I know I’m the reverse of the majority, but it’s a sad truth that movies (no matter how utterly fantastic they are) are dealing with a limited time-frame and can only pack so much into a film. And tv series tend to do their own thing, so I’m not even going to go there. But no matter how much I tell myself that they can’t possibly fit everything in… Whenever I read the book first, I always find myself coming out of the theater disappointed. But in the reverse, I find myself getting a second chance to absolutely fall in love with all the things I fell in love with on the big screen…Except this way, I get all the little juicy bookie details as icing on the cake.
So, honestly, that has nothing to do with anything really…except that as a book buff and movie lover, *sigh* I do love when they come together. And after just rereading Jean Webster’s Daddy Long-Legs, it seemed like the perfect time to rewatch Daddy Long-Legs (The MOVIE)!
*Sidenote—It’s actually (or possibly not) interesting that I originally read the book long before I watched the movie and was still able to enjoy the movie. But I think I found the movie by accident, years later, and since I didn’t read and watch them too close together, I was able to enjoy them both.*
- Name Changes: Jerusha/Judy Abbott becomes Julie André, and her roommate, Julie Pendleton becomes Linda Pendleton.
- Setting: Leslie Caron, who plays Julie André, is French—So they make it a little more international by plucking a French orphan from a French orphanage, and sending her to an American college.
- Also, it’s slightly modernized…and by that, I mean the book was written in 1912 and the movie didn’t come out until 1955—Don’t worry, it IS in color…Technicolor. (don’t be a hater—Technicolor can be pretty awesome!)
- It’s a musical.
Just in case you don’t know who Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron are, if you see their names in a movie listing, you can generally expect a couple of song and dance numbers.
For most of the book, the identity of Daddy Long-Legs is a mystery to both Jerusha and the reader. But the movie, being made as a vehicle for Fred Astaire (and the up-and-coming Leslie Caron), gives a little bit more weight to Jervis Pendleton character up front, letting the audience in on the identity of Daddy Long-Legs from the beginning.
So, in the book, the main story revolves around Jerusha Abbott, an orphan raised in an actual orphanage, when a trustee, an anonymous benefactor, decides to pay for Jerusha to go to college. Yay! And all Jerusha has to do for this remarkable scholarship is to write regular letters, keeping her benefactor apprised of how she’s doing. The title is to do with the anonymous trustee—The only things Jerusha knows about him are that he’s rich (because he’s paying for her education, board, and allowance), and that he’s tall, because she happened to catch a glimpse of his shadow as he was leaving the orphanage. The long shadow reminded her of a daddy long-legs spider, so instead of writing to a boring old “Mr. Smith,” Jerusha dubs him Daddy Long-legs.
Ok. About the musical bits. I like musicals. I do. But sometimes it’s a little bit over the top… And in this one, there are about four or five, and I usually cringe and fast-forward through two of them. I LOVE the dance scene where Jervis meets Julie at a college dance, and of course, since we’re talking about Fred Astaire, Jervis shows those youngsters a thing or two about dancing. And incidentally, I always think the band leader looks like Cary Grant—but why would Cary Grant have a cameo as a band-leader/trumpet player with one line in a Fred Astaire movie?—I checked IMDB, which I swear didn’t have it the last time I checked, but they do now, and the lookalike is actually orchestra leader, Ray Anthony. Here are the pics, only now that I see them together, he kind of looks like a combination of Rock Hudson and Cary Grant (with maybe a little Danny Thomas thrown in)—but in the movie, he totally pulls it off as Cary Grant!)
But (to continue), Julie’s dream-sequence, where she imagines what Daddy Long-Legs really looks like, kind of weirds me out. I didn’t fast-forward; I watched the whole sequence…and granted I have no problems with Fred Astaire dancing in cowboy boots…but the cowboy outfit just looks so wrong on him. I have a similar issue for the other dream sequence where Julie imagines being lost in the world without Jervis. This one showcases the dancing of Leslie Caron—And yes, she’s very good; but these scenes just feel kind of forced and out of place for me. #weirdsmeout. The movie does a much better job with a sequence where the two go out on the town together (presumably dancing)—My favorite parts are Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron singing the song Something’s Gotta Give to each other, which bookends the sequence—He begins singing to her, dancing about town sequence, they finish the song as he drops her off back at the door of her hotel room. Plus, seriously, for anyone who’s ever thought of taking a run and jumping on a shopping cart—The dance moves they do using a room service cart seem to defy gravity, or some sorts of laws of physics—It is absolutely TO. BE. SEEN.
We see the movie a lot more from Jervis’s point of view, where as the book is told only from Judy/Jerusha’s perspective. But aside from that, I think the movie does a really good job of keeping up with the book. They do a good job of working in Julie’s letter writing by having her start a letter, then they switch to Jervis and we hear him reading it to us. Or he’ll begin reading a letter, and it swaps so we’re watching her doing whatever she was describing in the letter. And I also love that even though the audience knows the identity of Daddy Long-Legs, the movie is still able to build the suspense toward Julie’s discovering it, making it really a sweet movie and fun to watch!!!
*I think if they did a newer remake, they could obviously go the email route. But I’d love to see them back in the early 1900s, and see the movie from Judy/Jerusha’s point of view—I think they could do a little voice-over narration of the letters she writes, as we watch her follow Jerusha through school, watch her take part in activities, meet Jervis, etc… But I definitely think it’s a story that can still hold up!