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Paper Moon is a 1973 Paramount comedy-drama, based on the novel Addie Pray by Joe David Brown, directed by Peter Bogdonovich, and starring the father and daughter team of Ryan and Tatum O'Neal.
During The Great Depression Moses Pray, a Con Man specializing in selling Bibles From the Dead, is tasked with delivering a recently orphaned 9-year-old girl Addie to her aunt. Despite vehemently denying that Addie is his daughter (which she likely is, considering Moses knew her "wild" mother well), he takes a liking to a her - even more so when he realizes his grifting looks more legit with a child by his side.
The film was nominated for Academy Awards in four categories: Best Screenplay Adaptation, Best Sound, and two nominations for Best Supporting Actress -- Madeline Kahn and Tatum O'Neal herself. Tatum won, making her the youngest actor to win a competitive Oscar (she was 10).
This work provides the following tropes:
- Acting for Two: John Hillerman plays both the Doniphan County Sheriff and the Bootlegger.
- The Alleged Car: the truck Moses trades his 1936 Ford Convertible for
- California Doubling: almost entirely averted: filmed on location (including interiors) in central Kansas and western Missouri.
- Children Are Innocent: ha ha. Basically explains why Moses and Addie do business that well.
- Deliberately Monochrome
- Hustler / Short Con: Moses and Addie.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Moses and Addie, although there's father-child undertones as well (duh).
- Little Miss Con Artist: Addie, who is very talented in the field.
- Little Miss Snarker: Addie is not a sweet-talking, always-smiling child.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: several changes were made from the book to the movie (including moving the setting from the south to Kansas)
- Quick Change: done by both Moses and Addie.
- Real Life Relative: Moses and Addie are played by father and daughter Ryan and Tatum O'Neal.
- Road Movie: Moses and Addie Travel from Gorham, Kansas to Joplin, Missouri
- Smoking Is Cool: Addie definitely thinks so.
- Source Music: all the music in the movie has a diegetic source (usually Addie's radio or the car radio)
- Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: Addie acts more like an adult than a child. Moze's and the audience's image of her as cute and innocent is shattered when she whips out a cigarette.
- Unusual Euphemism: Miss Trixy has to "go winky tink"