Double acts have featured prominently in American film. From the early days of Laurel and Hardy and Crosby and Hope, to the heady heights of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Thelma and Louise and Riggs and Murtaugh, duos have been big Box Office. In Peter Bogdanovich’s Paper Moon it’s a family affair, with Ryan O’Neal and his daughter Tatum providing the comedy and drama.
Moses Pray (Ryan O’Neal) is a con man selling personalised Bibles during the great depression. He meets Addie Loggins (Tatum O’Neal) at her mother’s graveside, and as speculation mounts that he may be the girl’s father, he agrees to drive her to St. Joseph, Missouri so she can live with an aunt. Whilst initially trying to offload Addie, he realises that she can be a useful asset in his line of business. As they form a successful team their partnership is threatened by the appearance of the conniving Miss Trixie Delight (Madeline Kahn).
Paper Moon is a brilliantly handled comedy, driven by the interplay between the father/daughter pairing. Bogdanovich handles Alvin Sargent’s screenplay beautifully, never allowing the laughs to ever eclipse the underlying drama. O’Neal Snr plays the exasperated Pray with a sense of inevitability whilst O’Neal Jr is perfect as the often annoying, yet adorable Addie. As the joke threatens to wear a bit thin, Madeline Kahn’s Trixie Delight is there to liven things up.
- Feature-length commentary by Director Peter Bogdanovich
- Three video pieces on the making of the film, featuring interviews and outtake footage
- 36-page booklet featuring a new essay on the film by Michael Brooke, rare production stills, and more.
Paper Moon is released on Dual Format (DVD & Blu-ray) by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Masters of Cinema Collection on May 25.