Sunday Feature-Week 2: Paper Moon (1973)

Title: Paper Moon

Tone: Great depression con-artist comedy


Director-Peter Bogdanovich

Cast- Ryan O’Neal, Tatum O’Neal, Madeline Kahn

When: 1973

What: A con-man,Moses Pray (Ryan O’Neal), is unexpectedly put in charge of transporting Addie Loggins (Tatum O’Neal), an orphaned daughter of a prostitute, to her Aunt’s home in the mid-west. During their travels the two join together to scam,grift,and swindle their way from town-to-town.


  • Tatum O’Neal was only 10 years old at the time of filming. Her impressive debut performance earned her an Oscar for best supporting actress, making her the youngest Oscar winner in the history of the Academy Awards.
  • Real life father and daughter Ryan and Tatum O’Neal have an irresistible on-screen chemistry which greatly compliments the script’s tight, fast-paced dialogue.
  • Cinematic legend Orson Welles heavily influenced the film in two ways. First, Bogdanoich was unhappy with the original title “Addie Pray” and thought “Paper Moon” might be a better choice. Unsure of himself, he called upon Welles for his input, after hearing the proposed title Welles replied, “That title is so good, you shouldn’t even make the picture, just release the title!”. Secondly, as cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs was trying to figure out the look for the film, Welles bluntly advised Kovacs to “Use a red filter”. Kovacs took his advice which gave the film its high contrast visual style.
  • Paper Moon has the perfect blend of lightheartedness and gloom, classic and modern cinema which nicely matches that airy feeling still lingering from the new year. Here’s a short clip of one of the film’s many grifting scenes. Enjoy!


~ by cinematte on January 10, 2010.

4 Responses to “Sunday Feature-Week 2: Paper Moon (1973)”

  1. This was a terrific movie. Although I didn’t know that thoes two were actually father-daughter. Interesting.

    • Ah so good, apparently it took Bogdanovich 2 days and 39 takes to get a scene of the two of them driving down a mile stretch of road just right.

  2. The affectionately drawn characters and the easy-going tempo make for a reasonably pleasurable ride. Good review, check out mine when you can!

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