HTF REVIEW: Paper Moon (Highly Recommended)

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Scott Kimball, Aug 4, 2003.

  1. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]

    Paper Moon

    Studio: Paramount

    Year: 1973

    Rated: PG

    Length: 102 minutes

    Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

    Audio: DD Mono

    Subtitles: English


    Release Date: August 12, 2003




    Directed by Peter Bogdanovich, Paper Moon is the charming story of a depression era grifter named Moses Pray (Ryan O’Neal) with a heart of gold - not so much when it concerns the widows he cons, as when it concerns a little orphan named Addie (Tatum O’Neal). Moses, who poses as a bible salesman, targeting widows in an ongoing scam, comes across Addie when he attends the funeral of a lady friend in Kansas. He is called upon to take young Addie to her aunt’s house in Missouri.

    Moses intends to send Addie on her way on a train, but discovers that the young girl has a gift for the con games that may even surpass his own. The two mistrust each other at first, but find that, working together, they can work the cons to better reward than either could do alone.

    Along the way, the pair meet Trixie Delight (Madeline Kahn), a Carney dancer who Addie, of course, despises - Moses pays far too much attention to Trixie. Addie works a con of her own to try and break the two up.

    Further misadventures include involvement with bootleggers, crooked cops, and a family of hillbillies, as the duo make their way across the midwest, growing closer as they go.

    Tatum O’Neal’s performance won her an Oscar, making her the youngest recipient of the award to date. Ryan O’Neal’s performance is also impressive, and the antics of Madeline Kahn as Trixie Delight are, well, a delight.

    The direction is sure-footed, giving a real feel for the era. The stark, deep-focus, black and white photography by the great Laszlo Kovacs makes us a part of the action. Many scenes are done in long takes, with as few cuts as possible, adding to the “you are there” feeling.


    The Video
    This is an excellent transfer of a pristine black and white print. For a 30 year old film, the elements used for the transfer have held up extraordinarily well. Dust and scratches are virtually nonexistent. Some grain from the original photographic process is evident. There are no noticeable compression artifacts. The presentation is widescreen and enhanced for widescreen televisions.


    The Audio
    This is a Dolby Digital mono soundtrack. Both English and French tracks are available. There is no score in the film. Dialog is consistently clear.


    The Extras
    The disc includes a commentary by director Peter Bogdanovich, who provides many anecdotes of events surrounding the shooting process. He does get a bit into mechanics, talking about the choice of black and white, the use of deep-focus photography, etc., but that isn’t his focus.

    There are three documentaries on the disc, totaling over 30 minutes. Covering everything from adaptation, casting and shooting - right through to reviews and awards - these documentaries include insights from director Peter Bogdanovich, producer Frank Marshall, director of photography Laszlo Kovacs and production designer Polly Platt.

    Final Thoughts

    Paper Moon is a gem of a film and it gets appropriate treatment on this DVD. It’s nice to see a commentary and documentaries on a Paramount catalog title.

    Highly recommended!
     
  2. Alistair_M

    Alistair_M Second Unit

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    Thanks for the review Scott - a good effort from Paramount and at a budget price too!

    One of my favorites. I loved the interplay between Ryan O Neal and Tatum. The movie is both funny and moving.

    Moses Pray: I got scruples too, you know. You know what that is? Scruples?
    Addie Loggins: No, I don't know what it is, but if you got 'em, it's a sure bet they belong to somebody else!
     
  3. Joel C

    Joel C Screenwriter

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    Never seen this one, but I've always wanted to, and it is hard to argue with the price. Also getting Targets (for $6!!).
     
  4. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    I. Love. This. Movie.

    Thanks for the early review! Can't wait to get this one! [​IMG]
     
  5. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Beautiful little film. I'm so glad the transfer is superb.

    The Targets DVD it great too.

    Superb review, Scott. [​IMG]


    Gordy
     
  6. Jon Sheedy

    Jon Sheedy Stunt Coordinator

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    Glad to hear everything's fine with Paper Moon on DVD...thanks for the review, Scott.

    Can't wait to see the beautiful photography in it's proper aspect ratio. A great film.
     
  7. rhett

    rhett Supporting Actor

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    I've been waiting for this disc for so long now, it has been a favorite of mine for years. The chemistry between the O'Neal's is amazing, and little Tatum gives what is sure to be the best performance ever for a child actor. If you haven't seen this film yet, then make no mistake, it is a lost gem.
     
  8. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    I have had a problem getting a screener of "Targets." If I manage to get a copy, a review will be forthcoming.

    -Scott
     

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