Paper Moon dual-format DVD/Blu-ray

Sunday, 17 May 2015 23:00 Written by 

Paper Moon - out now on dual-format Blu-ray and DVDRyan O'Neal and daughter Tatum star in this Oscar-winning movie set in Depression-era America, from director Peter Bogdanovich ("The Last Picture Show", "What's Up Doc?"). Moses Pray (Ryan - "Barry Lyndon") turns up late to the funeral of an ex-girlfriend and is persuaded to take her nine-year old daughter Addie (Tatum - "The Bad News Bears"), with the intention of dropping her off at her only surviving relatives in St. Joseph, Missouri.

Although he will not admit it, Moses might well be Addie's father. A drifter and bible-selling con-artist, he exploits the girl to pull at his victims' heart-strings. She in turn quickly gets in on the act, saving his skin and helping rake in the cash. Along the way they pick up carnival broad Trixie Delight (Madeline Kahn - "Blazing Saddles") and her hard-working servant girl Imogene (P J  Johnson - "Texasville"), with dramatic repercussions.

Tatum's Best Actress Oscar for her stunning performance is richly deserved, and she still holds the record for the youngest-ever winner at 10 years old. Addie is one of those kids who is forced to grow up way too soon, and she is a fantastic judge of character, instantly assessing Moses and deftly manipulating a master manipulator.

One example of Addie's sharp eye for personality traits is when Moses brings up the subject of scruples. The young girl states that although she is not certain what they are, 'if you've got 'em, you can sure bet that they belong to someone else.'

Early on, Moses blackmails a businessman to the tune of $200 (a lot of money in 1935 when the film is set) because of some kind of inheritance owed to Addie, and she then uses the windfall that he pockets as leverage over him. As Moses breaks down her tomboy-ish nature and appearance, so she works her way into his self-centred heart.

Ryan is almost a match for his unbelievably good daughter, filling Moses with charm and boyish wit, such that we almost forgive his dishonest, criminal behaviour, at least until his schemes start to get out of hand...

Madeline Kahn plays pretty much the same spunky character that she did in "Young Frankenstein" and "Blazing Saddles" - sexy, unscrupulous and afflicted with chronic verbal diarrhoea. Servant Imogene has some of the best comic lines, casually exposing her mistress' sketchy history and confiding some blistering put-downs against her to Addie. On the subject of Trixie's sexual antics, Imogene says Trixie "puts out like a gumball machine"!

As the makers comment in the discs' bonus content, the film is touching without ever straying into sentimentality, and funny without becoming unrealistically slapstick in nature. It is moving, engaging and certainly very amusing, with some fine suspense and action thrown in for good measure. All-told it is a hugely satisfying movie.

Special features include:

  • Glorious new 1080p transfer of the film
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • Full-length audio commentary with Director Peter Bogdanovich
  • A trio of documentaries about the making of the film, including behind the scenes footage and outtakes
  • 36-page booklet featuring a new essay on the film by Michael Brooke, rare production stills, and more

One of the more amusing insights into the film is the mountain of waffles Ryan O'Neal had to consume during take after take of a restaurant scene because Tatum kept fluffing her lines. In the end he pleads with her to get it right as he cannot eat another morsel! The high-def remaster is wonderfully detailed and the black and white picture has excellent contrast.

"Paper Moon" (1973) is out now on dual-format DVD and Blu-ray (two discs), courtesy of Eureka. The main feature has a running time of 102 minutes approx, carries a 'PG' certificate and retails for £16.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

 

Last modified on Monday, 18 May 2015 14:44

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