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Adapted from the novel "Addie Pray" by Joe David Brown, PAPER MOON is set in the Midwest during the Great Depression, and follows the story of Moses Pray (Ryan ONeal), a happy-go-lucky con artist who travels through the Midwest on a mission to swindle money out of innocent widows. While attending a friends funeral, Pray is called upon by two elderly ladies to deliver the daughter of the deceased, Addie (Tatum ONeal), to her aunt in Missouri. Soon learning that the 9-year-old is almost as mischievous and manipulative as he is, Pray and Addie develop a father and daughter routine that increases their credibility as well as their income. Now, the devious duo set out on a series of misadventures involving crooked cops, bootleggers, grieving widows and a Carney dancer named Miss Trixie Delight (Kahn) who adds a little spice to their routine.
- The Making Of Paper Moon -
- The Next Picture Show
- Asking For The Moon
- Getting The Moon
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Top customer reviews
The nine year old girl suspects the man is actually her biological father due to several reasons and their similar appearing faces, "you got my jaw," but the man denies being her father repeatedly. The two commit numerous petty crimes as they slowly cross north eastern Kansas heading towards the state line then on to St. Joe.
As they get to know each other, they become closer and more cohesive. Turns out the young girl is an even bigger con-man than he is, and has a better business sense too. They argue for control over their business efforts en-route to the state line. She is continually reminding him that they started off with him swindling her out of $200, which he still owes her. She uses the debt to leverage control over him during the entire movie.
My two favorite parts of the movie are; the argument in the diner while waiting on the train, and in the car when she reminds him they are running out of bibles to sell. Best way to watch these scenes is to keep watching her (only) and observe her body language while they argue business and money. Not only does she suspect the man is her real father but in real life, the man is the father of the child actor, which adds a chemistry to their arguments that is simply hilarious and genuine. When he yells she recoils but presses right back to defend her argument. As you watch the film note how at first she sits on the far side of the car seat but near the end they are practically pressed into each other as they grow closer. The body language she portrays is genuine and wonderful to watch - they say children don't 'act,' they just 'be' themselves.
This is NOT a movie for children to watch. This is a good one to get on DVD and watch again and again.
Shot on location in & around Kansas/Missouri, Bogdanavich's black & white visual look perfectly captures the wide-open isolation of the nation's countryside, decades before buildings & shopping centers cluttered up the land. Attention to authenticity is apparent in every frame, from the dirt roads, vintage cars & weathered buildings to the old radio broadcasts, right down to Addie's "Cremo" box.
It's a small, subtle gem of a picture, a blend of comedy, drama & visual style.
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