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USA 1973
Directed by
Peter Bogdanovich
102 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Paper Moon

The Great Depression has provided a rich vein of stories about grifters and con-men and Paper Moon, based on best-selling novel by Joe David Brown is a particularly engaging, if rather lightweight, example. The principal charm of the film is 9 year old Tatum O'Neal who plays the wilful orphan Addie Loggins opposite her father Ryan O'Neal who plays a shyster calling himself Moses Pray.

The film, nicely directed by Peter Bogdanovich and using many of the team involved in his previous film What's Up, Doc?, including Ryan O'Neal and Madeleine Kahn, is essentially a swindlers’ road trip across the dust-bowl states of Kansas and Missouri during the Depression era and might be considered not-so-nice were it not that Brown’s device of tough little orphan Addie (who may be Moses’s daughter) gives it a novel twist and with Polly Platt’s production design, Lazlo Kovacs’ pellucid black and white photography and the easy rapport between father and daughter the combination is an easy winner.

Tatum O'Neal who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, beating out co-star Kahn who plays good-time girl Trixie Delight, is really the factor that made the film a hit in its day, it later becoming a short-lived TV series, starring Ryan O'Neal lookalike Christopher Connelly and a young Jodie Foster as Addie.




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