Daddy Long Legs (1919)

Genres - Comedy Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Drama  |   Release Date - May 11, 1919 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Daddy Long Legs is a delightful little fairy tale of a movie. True, it's far from perfect; the first half of the film, especially, features a couple of sequences that, while entertaining, come across more as diverting filler than as elements that are truly necessary to the rest of the film. Yet these are so charmingly done that most viewers won't mind these little side trips. More importantly, unlike some other versions of the film (such as the Fred Astaire-Leslie Caron musical remake of the 1950s), this one manages to avoid instilling discomfort in viewers over the difference in age between the Mary Pickford character and the title character. Granted, part of this is because Mahlon Hamilton is not as old as Astaire; but more to the point, it's also because the writer and director have presented the picture with enough of the trappings of a fairy tale to remove it from reality and make the age difference seem far less important -- even as it plays a crucial role in the plot. It's a neat sleight of hand, and far more difficult to pull off than it might seem. Of course, special credit must go to Pickford and Hamilton, whose performances are largely responsible for making this trick work. Pickford, of course, is adorable and winning throughout, carrying off both the humor and the drama with sureness and aplomb. Hamilton has less screen time, but he creates a vulnerable, appealing character for which the audience roots. The rest of the cast is also quite good, and Marshall Neilan directs with style, throwing in a number of attractive tinted sequences for good measure. All in all, this Daddy is a sweet and amiable little film.