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Paper Moon [Blu-ray]
(Peter Bogdanovich, 1973)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Paramount Pictures
Video: Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Spine #113
Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 39,474,623,425 bytes
Feature Size: 32,362,601,472 bytes
Video Bitrate: 36.16 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: May 18th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
English (SDH), none
• Full-length audio commentary with Director Peter Bogdanovich
• Asking For the Moon (16:30)
• Getting the Moon (4:16)
Description: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?, 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, then 10, who for her performance was the youngest-ever actress to be awarded an Academy Award 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.
The year is 1936. Orphaned Addie Loggins (Tatum O'Neal, in her film debut) is left in the care of unethical travelling Bible salesman Moses Pray (Ryan O'Neal, Tatum's dad), who may or may not be her father. En route to Addie's relatives, Moses learns that the 9-year-old is quite a handful: she smokes, cusses, and is almost as devious and manipulative as he is. They join forces as swindlers, working together so well that Addie is averse to breaking up the team -- which is one reason that she sabotages the romance between Moses and good-time gal Trixie Delight (Madeline Kahn). Later, while attempting to square a $200 debt that Addie claims he owes her, Moses runs afoul of of a bootlegger (John Hillerman) and is nearly beaten to death by the criminal's twin-brother sheriff. Painfully pulling himself together, Moses gets Addie to her relatives, whereupon she adamantly refuses to leave his side. Photographed in black-and-white by Laszlo Kovacs, the film was made largely on location in Kansas and Missouri (an experience colorfully recalled by director Peter Bogdanovich in his 1972 book of essays Pieces of Time). 9-year-old Tatum O'Neal won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, beating out costar Kahn. Paper Moon later became a short-lived TV series, starring Ryan O'Neal lookalike Christopher Connelly and future Oscar winner Jodie Foster.
A charming mixture of Hawksian comedy and Fordian lyricism imbues Bogdanovich's not-too-sentimental meeting-cute between a conman (Ryan O'Neal) busy bamboozling widows into buying bibles during the Depression, and the 9-year-old wily brat who may or may not be his daughter (Tatum O'Neal). Modern cynicism and efficient acting hold the potential mushiness at bay, and the pair's picaresque odyssey through the Kansas dustbowl, during which they vie for control over their increasingly bizarre partnership, is admirably served by Laszlo Kovacs' marvellous monochrome camerawork. After Targets and The Last Picture Show, Bogdanovich's best movie.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Paper Moon is absolutely gorgeous on Blu-ray from The Masters of Cinema group in the UK. Cinematographer László Kovács' visuals are like still art and I could have taken captures all day. The image quality shows a sweet layer of grain and the contrast is impeccably layered. This is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. It is neither glossy nor pristinely sharp but shows some depth and black levels are inky and impressive. I would guess the 1.78:1 aspect ratio was provided that way to MoC. This Blu-ray offers a rich, mesmerizing 1080P presentation. Exceptional.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio is transferred via a linear PCM 2.0 channel track at 2304 kbps. The film's music is notable for the theme Harold Arlen's It's Only a Paper Moon played during the opening credits and sung by an unspecified female, plus other period (early 30's) orchestral tunes from Ozzie Nelson, Leo Reisman, Paul Whiteman, Jimmie Grier, Hoagy Carmichael, Tommy Dorsey and their respective Orchestras - as well as Dick Powell singing Flirtation Walk, Bing Crosby performing Just One More Chance and there are other pieces. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Masters of Cinema include the audio commentary with director Peter Bogdanovich as found on the 2003 Paramount DVD. He discusses the evolution of the project, working with the young stars etc. We also get the same three featurettes with Bogdanovich; the 14-minute The Next Picture Show, the 16-minute Asking For the Moon and 4-minutes of Getting the Moon. They feature behind the scenes footage and some amusing outtakes. Included is one of MoC's liner notes booklets featuring a new essay on the film by Michael Brooke, rare production stills, and more. Being 'Dual-Format' a PAL DVD of the feature and extras is included.
April 25th, 2015
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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