am 20. März 2016
PAPER MOON [1973 / 2015] [Masters of Cinema] [Blu-ray] [UK Release] Tatum O'Neal Makes A Sensational Screen Debut! A Charming Mixture of Hawksian Comedy and Fordian Lyricism!
Continuing a run of Seventies smash-hits for director Peter Bogdanovich after the enormous success of his ‘The Last Picture Show’ and ‘What’s Up, Doc?’ and ‘PAPER MOON’ saw the filmmaker sustaining his collaboration with actor Ryan O’Neal, and introduced the world to the precocious talent of the future ‘Barry Lyndon’ star's daughter Tatum O’Neal, then 10 years of age, who for her performance was the youngest ever actress to be awarded an Academy Awards® for Best Supporting Actress.
After meeting a newly orphaned girl named Addie Loggins [Tatum O’Neal], con man Moses Pray [Ryan O’Neal), who may or may not be Addie s father, is enlisted to deliver the newly orphaned Addie to her aunt in Missouri. Shortly after however, the two realise that together they make an efficient scam-artist duo. Adventure ensues as the pair blaze through the American Midwest, stealing, swindling, and selling the moon...
With its stunning black-and-white cinematography shot by the great László Kovács and its superb evocation of Depression-era locales, Paper Moon endures as one of the key American comedies of the 1970s. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present the film in its UK home viewing premiere in a new Dual-Format edition.
FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: 1973 Academy Awards®: Win: Best Supporting Actress for Tatum O'Neal. Nominated: Best Supporting Actress for Madeline Kahn. Nominated: Best Sound for Richard Portman and Les Fresholtz. Nominated: Best Adapted Screenplay for Alvin Sargent. 1973 Golden Globes® Awards: Nominated: Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Tatum O'Neal. Nominated: Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Ryan O’Neal. Director of photography László Kovács used a red filter on the camera on Orson Welles' advice. Peter Bogdanovich also used deep focus cinematography and extended takes in the film.
Cast: Ryan O'Neal, Tatum O'Neal, Madeline Kahn, John Hillerman, P.J. Johnson, Jessie Lee Fulton, James N. Harrell, Lila Waters, Noble Willingham, Bob Young, Jack Saunders, Jody Wilbur, Liz Ross, Yvonne Harrison, Ed Reed, Dorothy Price, Eleanor Bogart, Dorothy Forster, Lana Daniel, Herschel Morris, Dejah Moore, Ralph Coder, Harriet Ketchum, Desmond Dhooge, Kenneth Hughes, George Lillie, Burton Gilliam, Floyd Mahaney, Gilbert Milton, Randy Quaid, Tandy Arnold, Dennis Beden, Vernon Schwanke, Hugh Gillin, Art Ellison, Rose-Mary Rumbley, Jack Benny Jeff Colyer (uncredited), Jim Jordan (uncredited), Marian Jordan (archive sound) (uncredited) and Don Wilson (archive sound) (uncredited)
Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Producers: Frank Marshall, Peter Bogdanovich, Francis Ford Coppola (uncredited) and William Friedkin (uncredited)
Screenplay: Alvin Sargent and Joe David Brown (novel)
Cinematography: László Kovács
Video Resolution: 1080p [Black-and-White]
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English: 2.0 LPCM Audio Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH
Running Time: 102 minutes
Region: Region B/2
Number of discs: 2
Studio: Paramount Pictures / Eureka Entertainment Ltd
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: key film in the 'road movie' genre, ‘PAPER MOON’  introduces us to a traveling salesman named Moses Pray [Ryan O'Neal] who cons widows into buying his Bibles. While attending the funeral of one of his former girlfriends, Moses Pray discovers that the deceased left behind a nine-year-old daughter named Addie Loggins [Tatum O'Neal]. He soon finds himself pressured into escorting the young orphan to relatives in St. Joseph, Missouri. However, Moses Pray ' new traveling companion is no angel, as she smokes and curses all the time, and she's a quick study in the art of the hustle. In record time, Moses Pray enlists her as a partner in his deception of unsuspecting rubes.
Based on the novel Addie Pray by Joe David Brown, Paper Moon was Peter Bogdanovich's last popular success before a string of flops like ‘Daisy Miller’ , ‘At Long Last Love’ , and ‘Nickelodeon’  made him box-office poison in the mid-seventies. It's hard to say why he went off the tracks on those subsequent productions but ‘PAPER MOON’ is a winner all the way, from its evocative Black-and- White cinematography that perfectly captures the Midwest during the Depression to the vintage soundtrack which includes tunes performed by Ozzie Nelson, Hoagy Carmichael, and Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra.
Director Peter Bogdanovich, who was a film critic before he became a filmmaker, was heavily influenced by the work of Howard Hawks and John Ford and you can see their influence throughout this film; the humour has the sharpness of Hawks' best comedies while the characters and settings recall the work of Ford and his affection for rural America. In fact, there is homage to John Ford in the scene where Moses Pray and Addie Loggins are in a diner and across the street; their playing at the cinema house is playing John Ford's ‘Steamboat Round the Bend’ .
Originally, Paul Newman and his daughter, Nell Potts, were to star in ‘PAPER MOON’ with John Huston as the director but the project fell through. Luckily, the assignment fell to Peter Bogdanovich who cast Ryan O'Neal and his daughter Tatum. It was Tatum O’Neal's first film role and, from most reports, she was difficult on the set. Peter Bogdanovich said later that working with Tatum O'Neal was "one of the most miserable experiences of my life." Nevertheless as stated earlier, the end result won Tatum O’Neal the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, making her the youngest actress to ever win that award. The other Academy Awards® nominations for ‘PAPER MOON’ were for Best Sound, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress Madeline Kahn who almost steals the film with her sad-funny portrayal of Trixie Delight, a pathetic carnival stripper.
Peter Bogdanovich knew these films inside out, which put him in a unique position with ‘PAPER MOON’ to know when and how to alter the formula. He retains the brisk pacing and sharp wit. Moses Pray and Addie Loggins are scrappy in the way and ‘PAPER MOON’ also serves up some timely correctives; the African American maid, a mainstay of the studio era and is removed from the tyrannical confines of ethnic stereotypes. Imogene's [P.J. Johnson] hopes and fears are aligned with Addie Loggins's. Poverty is the great American leveller, and we see that writ large in a quiet but significant stolen moment between the pair. Indeed, amidst the bluster and hijinks of Paper Moon, there's a sense of people lost in a country on its knees. The frailty of Moses Pray and Addie Loggins connection is accentuated by the uncertain times. The authorities could be round every corner and time is running out. It ends in a heart-breaking sequence involving a souvenir photograph. It's a moment that would be mawkish in lesser hands, but we sense that the film's potent melancholic thread has been driving to this moment. Extra textual factors are also a consideration; Ryan O’Neal and Tatum O’Neal would become estranged for years, but at least the film embalmed their beautiful, brittle symmetry. When we last see this pair, they are heading off toward the horizon, in a truck as noisy and un-roadworthy as the car in which Moses first picks up Addie, and both as broke as they were when they first met. Their journey has been circular, yet its future trajectory remains wide open. Sadly, the real Tatum O’Neal would become estranged from her real father Ryan O'Neal when he hooked up with Farrah Fawcett in 1979.
Blu-ray Video Quality – Eureka Entertainment Ltd has brought you something really special, as there is something hugely attractive about monochrome 35mm, but add some red and green filters to the mix to darken skies and enhance skin tones and it's hard to fall back in love with colour again. Such is the case with ‘PAPER MOON,’ as it has an aesthetic that is wonderfully captured by the 1080p HD transfer here. The contrast is punchy, delivering coal whole blacks and an attractive tonal range, and a sharpness that really brings out the textures in clothing, faces and background detail, which thanks to László Kovács' deep focus cinematography is every bit as clear as the foreground. The film grain is always visible and just occasionally more pronounced, but always feels right for the film stock and never feels artificially enhanced. As you would hope, there's hardly a dust spot to be seen, and there's not a trace of picture instability. The framing is 1.78:1, a slight crop from the original 1.85:1. Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – Eureka Entertainment Ltd has also done a superb professional presentation in bringing the film ‘PAPER MOON’ with a really stunning clean and surprisingly crisp Linear 2.0 LCM Audio Mono soundtrack with impressively distinct rendering of dialogue, except one shot that was recorded live on location, and seductive rendering of the period tunes and songs of the period that stand in for a the traditional music score that directors usually prefer, but not the director Peter Bogdanovich, he feels the music and songs he used in the film, gave the film that extra special experince. There is a faint hiss detectable on a couple of the quieter scenes, but you'll probably not notice it and it never interferes. But overall it is a brilliant audio presentation.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Glorious New Black-and-White 1080p transfer of the film.
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.
Audio Commentary: Commentary from a 2003 features director/producer Peter Bogdanovich: Here Peter Bogdanovich guides us on the making of the film ‘PAPER MOON.’ Peter Bogdanovich informs us that he is very proud of the film, and offers a heap of praise for the cast and crew. But despite all the congratulatory remarks, he offers quite a bit of trivia on the film. Peter Bogdanovich talks about the location shooting in Kansas and Missouri, especially setting up certain key shots, manipulating the audience, the music in the film, inspirations and what a "Directors Company" film is. Peter Bogdanovich talks about the typeface used for the titles of the film, and how Polly Platt found the typeface. Peter Bogdanovich talks about the novel “Addies Prayer” and why he thought that title would not be ideal for the film’s title. Peter Bogdanovich found in the novel “Addies Prayer” all the song titles listed for the period in the 1930s, that he felt would be so ideal to use in the film, especially the song “It’s Only A Paper Moon.” Peter Bogdanovich talks about that the 90% of the film was shot in a radius of 50 miles in Hayes in the middle of Kansas, which was ideal as it was completely flat landscape. When you see Tatum O’Neal listens to the radio and hears “The Jack Benny Show,” they had to get permission from Jack Benny himself. Whenever you see Tatum O’Neal light up a cigarette, Peter Bogdanovich informs us that they are not real cigarettes, but instead they are made out of lettuce leaves and were only available in Texas. We find out that ‘PAPER MOON’ was shot on a very tight shoestring budget of $3,000,000, which was below average in 1973, and of course money was worth more in those days. Peter Bogdanovich even mentions the short-lived American television series based on the film, that starred Jodi Foster and the reason why it was not at all popular: especially as it was filmed in colour, YUK! We also definitely get a very informative audio track that covers all the bases. If you're a fan of the film ‘PAPER MOON,’ you owe it to yourself a listen, as you learn some much fascinating information. But at the end of this audio commentary, Peter Bogdanovich informs us that he was very proud of making the film, and that it was a perfect film and also proud of all who contributed towards making the film ‘PAPER MOON.’
Special Feature: The Next Picture Show  [480i] [1.33:1] [14:10] This just under fifteen-minute special feature, features director Peter Bogdanovich [Director/Writer] talking about his film ‘PAPER MOON.’ The director talks about every aspect of the production from how he got involved with the film to how he got Ryan O'Neil and Tatum O'Neal on board and then why he wanted the title changed. As usual, the director might rub some people up the wrong way, but I've always been a fan of his films, so I enjoy these little chats that Paramount Pictures did for their original inferior DVDs of Peter Bogdanovich films. I think this one features some pretty good stories told including how Tatum O’Neal ended up getting the part as well as another actress in the film. There's also another story about Orson Welles and his response to the new title, where Peter Bogdanovich telephoned Orson Welles in Rome and asked him if he liked the title “Paper Moon,” and Orson Welles response and shouts down the phone, “The Title is so good, you shouldn’t even make the picture, you should just release the Title.” Polly Platt [Production Designer] is also interviewed and discusses some of the issues that came up with the locations and how they wanted to picture to be very authentic looking. Frank Marshall [Associated Producer] is also interviewed and comments on some of the cast members and talks about how Peter Bogdanovich liked to have actors from his previous films. When Peter Bogdanovich wants to make a film in a set period in time, especially with a period piece like the film ‘PAPER MOON,’ which was set in in 1935, and felt it was appropriate to include the music of that period, to make it more authentic, than have a special music score composed, and when he heard the song title “It’s Only A Paper Moon” he felt it evoked the period perfectly and seeing the words “Paper Moon” felt that was also ideal for the film’s title. One thing Peter Bogdanovich says at the end of this short special, is that, “I always get a little nervous before a first day shooting, a little bit apprehensive, and then it is a strange thing, I walk on the set, there is all the trucks, all the crew, cables, dressing rooms and all that, I then say to myself, what is all that about, this is home.” At such a short running time they obviously cannot get into too many details, but fans of the film should still enjoy this look back at its making. Directed by Laurent Bouzereau. Screenplay by Laurent Bouzereau.
Special Feature: Asking For The Moon  [480i] [1.33:1] [16:30] The second feature on the ‘PAPER MOON’ features Director/Writer Peter Bogdanovich, Cinematographer László Kovács, Production Designer Polly Platt and Associated Producer Frank Marshall. I'm really not sure why this just wasn't part of the first feature “The Next Picture Show” [reviewed above], because it is pretty much covering similar subjects, but either way, fans should really enjoy this just over 16 minute short. Director Peter Bogdanovich talks about why he wanted to film ‘PAPER MOON’ in Black-and-White and he talks about Orson Welles staying at his house and why Peter Bogdanovich wanted his cinematography László Kovács to speak to Orson Welles with him before they started shooting and László Kovács recalls a good story about Orson Welles saying to him, “use red filters my boy” and László Kovács says, “is that right, only a red filter” and Orson Welles says, “oh yes, only a red filter, because the red filter extenuates the red tones and also makes the whites look very chalky, and it holds back the blue and makes it look almost black and creates a big visual impact in any Black-and-White films and from here on the special feature turns to various issues in the shooting of ‘PAPER MOON.’ Peter Bogdanovich also talks about why he wanted none of the images to be out of focus and why it was so important to him not to have many short takes and instead long takes with no editing. Peter Bogdanovich then gets into a few times where they had to shoot scenes over thirty six times because Tatum O'Neil would mess up her lines and caused a lot of logistic problems. There are some great outtakes that show Peter Bogdanovich rehearsing by playing the Ryan O'Neil part and there's some great stuff with Ryan O'Neil and Tatum O’Neal, including a scene where Tatum O’Neal keeps messing up the scene, which causes her father Ryan O'Neil to have to eat more waffles. Polly Platt [Production Designer] informs us that all the clothes for Madeline Khan was designed by her, but was made at the Paramount Pictures Studio. The suits that Ryan O’Neal wears had been originally made for George Raft, as it had stitched inside a label stating that fact. Ryan O’Neal wanted to do all his own driving and all the driving stunts scenes you view are with Ryan O’Neal. One thing that Peter Bogdanovich was not sure of, on how to end the film and because they just kept driving and got lost, but eventually Polly Platt came across this long dirt road that went off into the horizon and Peter Bogdanovich thought this was totally perfect way to film the end of ‘PAPER MOON,’ especially as you see Ryan O’Neal and Tatum O’Neal chasing after the runaway vehicle and then driving off into the distance, but of course the pay off line near the end of the film, where Tatum O’Neal says, “You still owe me $200,” and of course this helped to bring everything together and a satisfying end to some brilliant times is shooting the film ‘PAPER MOON.’
Special Feature: Getting The Moon  [480i] [1.33:1] [4:15] The third special feature on the film ‘PAPER MOON’ from Paramount Pictures and again Peter Bogdanovich [Director/Writer] starts off talking about how he finished the film ‘PAPER MOON’ and got the first preview ready to give a personal premiere for all involved in the film on Christmas Day present. We also hear about Paramount Pictures studio doing one hundred and thirty sneak previews across America in selected cinemas and director Peter Bogdanovich adds that while a majority of the people loved the film and it was a hit not all of the critics agreed. Peter Bogdanovich then talks about how disappointed he was that himself, Ryan O'Neil and cinematographer László Kovács involved with the film ‘PAPER MOON’ were not nominated for the Oscars® and he adds that he refused to go because of this, which is probably why some people can't stand him, but I definitely remain a big fan of him. From here on Peter Bogdanovich talks about how proud he was of Tatum O’Neal and then we get a few comments from László Kovács and Polly Platt. At just over four minutes there's certainly not enough here to pack any real punch, but as always it's fun for fans of the film to hear these comments. At least Peter Bogdanovich was honest about saying why he didn't go to the Oscars® and Peter Bogdanovich and Ryan O’Neal in hindsight was keen to have gone to support Tatum O’Neal. But at the end of this special feature Peter Bogdanovich informs us that he was very proud on all who worked on the film, because it was a 100% team effort and feels the film still works today, because it does not look dated, because it was filmed to look like the 1930s and especially being filmed in Black-and-White. Well I second that feeling about the film ‘PAPER MOON’ and I am so proud that us folks here in the United Kingdom has had this special exclusive Limited Edition Blu-ray release from the EUREKA organisation and at this moment in time I have not heard of a North American Region A/1 Blu-ray release. The ‘PAPER MOON’ Three Featurette Credits were as follows: Written, Directed & Produced by Laurent Bouzereau. Edited by Jeff Pickett. Cinematography by Jeff Byrd and Ron Seigal. Sound by Brett Brooke and Witek Rosowski.
BONUS: A beautiful 28 Page Booklet, featuring a new essay on the film entitled “IT’S ONLY A PAPER MOON…” by Michael Brooke. We also have lots of rare production stills. “NOTES ON VIEWING;” explaining the incorrect and correct aspect ratio of the film ‘PAPER MOON.’ Plus “Blu-ray and DVD Credits.”
Finally, Peter Bogdanovich's ‘PAPER MOON’ is a fabulous period piece that sees rural America very much like the films of John Ford and Howard Hawks did. Its script is excellent and the entire cast is fantastic, but the film belongs to the young Tatum O'Neal, who remains the youngest person ever to win a competitive Academy Awards® recognition. Eureka Entertainment Ltd technical presentation of ‘PAPER MOON’ is absolutely stunning. The Blu-ray also comes with some very informative archival interviews with the American director Peter Bogdanovich and the late cinematographer László Kovács. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom