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PAPER MOON ($15) is a warm, nostalgic delight from director Peter Bogdanovich. Set in the 1930’s, PAPER MOON is something of a valentine to the innocence and simplicity of that bygone era. Adapted from the novel, Addie Pray by Joe David Brown, PAPER MOON is the story a conniving bible salesman named Moses Pray (Ryan O'Neal), who may or may not be the father of the recently orphaned nine-year-old Addie Loggins (Tatum O'Neal, who garnered an Academy Award for her wholly natural and utterly winning performance). Addie is a precocious child that sees right through the flimflam man, and isn’t about to let him get away with several hundred dollars he scammed at her expense. Thus begins this charming road movie that grows into the story of a father and daughter that find themselves and each other. The cast of PAPER MOON features a very winning turn from Madeline Kahn and fine support from John Hillerman and P.J. Johnson.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made PAPER MOON available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. This is a truly wonderful transfer that shows off the beauty of László Kovács richly contrasted black and white cinematography. Director Bogdanovich was close to the legendary Orson Wells, and for this project Bogdanovich, utilized the "deep focus" approach that Wells had taken in some of his finest cinematic works. Every bit of the image is sharp and well defined- thus underscoring Kovács’ wonderful realization of Bogdanovich’s visual intentions. Blacks are deep, whites appear crisp and the grayscale is truly excellent. As I stated above, contrast can appear stark, but it is quite a beautiful site to behold. The film element used for the transfer is very clean, with very few blemishes making their presence known. There is a mild grain structure in places, but it adds to the film like quality of the transfer. Digital compression artifacts are generally well concealed.

PAPER MOON comes with a reasonably good sounding Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack. Fidelity has its limitations due to the fact that there are a number of vintage recordings integrated into the soundtrack, as well as the fact that the actual track for the movie is thirty years old. Considering the period setting, the track works exceedingly well with the material and any kind of multi-channel upgrade to the soundtrack would have been distracting and probably worked against the movie. Dialogue is always completely intelligible, although the timbre of some of the voices isn’t always wholly natural. A French monaural track is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English subtitles.

The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some nice supplemental content. Director Peter Bogdanovich is on hand to provide a running audio commentary, which both entertaining and highly informative. Three featurettes have also been included, which take one through various stages of the film’s development, production and eventual success, as well as looking at the individuals involved with the production. The Next Picture Show runs fourteen minutes, Asking For the Moon clocks in at sixteen minutes, while Getting the Moon has a running time of four minutes.

PAPER MOON is a warm and winning cinematic delight that comes to DVD in a wonderful looking presentation from the fine folks at Paramount. In addition to the feature, the DVD also offers a nice batch of supplements that will please fans of the movie, as well as those of its director and stars. Recommended.



Paper Moon (1973)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2003 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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