Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Movie Spotlight: Daddy - Long - Legs (1919)

Judy Abbott has spent all her life in an orphan asylum, taking care of the other orphans and getting herself in trouble (mainly in the interests of the other children). That is, until a trustee decides to send her to college. He wishes to be known only as Mr. Smith and the only other thing she knows about him is that he has long legs. Hence, she addresses all her letters to him as Daddy-Long-Legs. Away at college she makes new friends–most importantly, handsome and wealthy Jarvis Pendleton–and suffers from the snobbery inflicted upon her by the high society people with whom she comes into contact. Feeling herself forced to refuse the offer of marriage of the man she loves, Judy is desperate for good advice. In the seeking of said good advice she receives the greatest shock of her life.

It is done. I have seen my first silent movie. I had read the book several years ago and thought it a romantic and hilarious story, but was disappointed with her manner of talking about religious matters. However, I still liked the story and having seen a bit of this picture–and having four half-hour drives (please note, I was not driving :)) to and from a dance and conference and not wishing to spend it in idleness–I sought it out on You-Tube and watched the 1:24 minute film. At first I had my doubts. No music or talking or anything…how tiresome is that? But I loved it! I really did! And wish to watch it again. The movie makers had taken out the provoking ideology and had left (or added) the funny parts. Mary Pickford who plays Judy is known as the greatest silent film actress and I think she deserves the title. She is pretty, feminine, clever, and fun, without being flirty or flighty, and she manages to make that all clear without you hearing her voice and yet without overdoing her acting. In addition, she has some beautiful “Titanic”-era dresses. Jarvis's acting was well done too. I thought he looked a little strange at times, though as my sister said, if there was music at those points they would be very sad, so it is simply my immature mind which dislikes it. However, for the most part I liked him very much.

As for the scenery, I thought it was actually better than many newer films I have seen (the ‘95 Persuasion comes to mind). From what I could tell the outdoor scenes were really shot outdoors and the interior ones were good too.

Yes or no on silent films? Judging off this one a definite yes! I was surprised at how alive the story became without any sound and only text on the screen every once in a while to show the most important lines. So, I recommend the (1919) Daddy-Long-Legs to those who enjoy old films, sweet romance, and humor.

Stars: 4.5/5


  1. I've read the book (and I agree with you about her views on religion! Very annoying) and seen the musical movie version with Leslie Caron and Fred Astaire. The movie doesn't follow the book very well, but it was pretty fun to watch.
    I've only seen one silent film before. I never knew there was a silent film version of Daddy-Long-Legs (if I did know, I forgot!). Keep up the great reviews!!

  2. Ooooo!! I will have to see if I can find this somewhere!!! I have read both Daddy-Long-Legs and the sequel Dear Enemy and I LOVED them!!!! I have also read another of Jean Webster's stories, The Wheat Princess. I adored it!!! But it is set in Italy and I love most things Italian!!!

    1. Butterfly Bailey,
      Hello! I'm so glad you commented. :) I watched this on YouTube, so I think you should be able to find it there. I had never heard of The Wheat Princess before. I'm so happy you told me about it!


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