Saturday, August 2, 2014

Movies In History: Paper Moon

Paper Moon

This 1973 film  came about some decades prior to Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? but it also really has the feel of the Depression right, in this case in the Missouri Kansas border region.  The film surrounds the story of a con artist who arrives in the story just in time for the funeral of a woman with whom, the film strongly suggests, he has, unbeknownst to him, had a child.  The association with the deceased mother, we understand, was illicit in nature and he never acknowledges at any point in the film that he's the child's father.  He does accept, however, a charge to take the child to an aunt.  From there a series of adventures ensues.

The gritty nature of the film, filmed entirely in black and white, and the desperation of the protagonist, even though its a comedy, really come through.  The lack of, or failure of, the social structure also shines through, with it not seeming all that odd, by the end of the film, that a little girl has been essentially been adopted, outside the law, by a man who was in the end a kindhearted stranger, or who may be that.

Filmed in black and white, as noted, even though well within the color film era, the cinematography and the excellent cast give it the right feel.

The protagonist are portrayed by actual father and child Ryan and Tatum O'Neal.  This is Ryan O'Neals best film, to the extent I've seen his films, and he acts in it quite well.  Tatum O'Neal was brilliant in the film.

In terms of material details, the film is excellent, with the portrayal of Dust Bowl Kansas significantly added to by the use of black and white cinematography.

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