Paper Moon (1973) Poster



The cigarettes used by Tatum O'Neal contained no nicotine. They were made out of lettuce, though they made her nauseous.
Tatum O'Neal was 10 years old when she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in this movie, making her the youngest person ever to win an Oscar in a competitive category. As of 2016, she still holds this record. She was four years younger than her rival nominee, Linda Blair, in The Exorcist (1973).
Peter Bogdanovich has said that the long, one-take sequence where Addie and Moze fight in the car about running out of Bibles took 2 days and 39 takes to get right. It was shot on a one-mile stretch of road just before hitting a very modern portion of the town, so each time a line was flubbed, they would have to turn everything around and drive back.
When Addie is going to meet Moses and a businessman on the corner (near the end of the film) she walks out of the hotel and does a little skip before hitting the street. According to Peter Bogdanovich, Tatum O'Neal was very proud of this little skip - she thought of it on her own.
At 1 hour, 6 minutes, and 58 seconds, Tatum O'Neal's performance in this movie is the longest to ever win an Academy Award in a supporting acting category.
Peter Bogdanovich didn't like the title of the novel "Addie Pray", but wasn't sure whether "Paper Moon" was good enough; so he asked his mentor Orson Welles what he thought about it. Welles replied, "That title is so good, you shouldn't even make the picture, just release the title!"
In the picnic scene, Madeline Kahn initially refused to say the line "Let Miss Trixie sit up front with her big tits," objecting to the vulgarity. Director Peter Bogdanovich convinced her to say the line for only one take. This take appears in the final film. Kahn's odd reaction of embarrassment after saying the line is genuine.
Peter Bogdanovich said that John Hillerman, playing both the bootlegger and his brother the Sheriff, had just a few weeks in the shooting schedule to lose the weight for the Sheriff role that he had deliberately put on in a short period of time prior to shooting the bootlegger's scenes.
Orson Welles, a close friend of director Peter Bogdanovich, did some uncredited consulting on the cinematography. It was Welles who suggested shooting black and white photography through a red filter, adding higher contrast to the images.
Some Hollywood insiders suspected that Tatum O'Neal's performance was "manufactured" by Peter Bogdanovich. It was revealed that the director had gone to great lengths, sometimes requiring as many as fifty takes of some of her scenes, in order to capture the "effortless" natural quality for which Tatum was critically praised. Either way, Bogdanovich maintained later that working with the young actress was "one of the most miserable experiences" of his life.
Because Tatum O'Neal was so young and had not acted before, Peter Bogdanovich did not show her rushes of her performance, fearing that she would become self-conscious.
Peter Bogdanovich wound up making the film, despite his initial resistance, mainly because his estranged wife, Polly Platt, felt he was ideally suited to the material, both on a pictorial and narrative level. Bogdanovich wanted Platt to serve as the film's production designer, but she refused at first, because of her husband's open affair with Cybill Shepherd, whom he directed in The Last Picture Show (1971). Platt acquiesced on the condition that Shepherd not be allowed to visit the Paper Moon set.
According to her autobiography, "Paper Life", Tatum O'Neal says that when she won the Best Supporting Actress for "Paper Moon", and when Ryan O'Neal wasn't even nominated, he struck her.
At the suggestion of Polly Platt, Peter Bogdanovich approached eight-year-old Tatum O'Neal to audition for the role although she had no acting experience. Bogdanovich had recently worked with Tatum's father Ryan O'Neal on What's Up, Doc? (1972), and decided to cast them as the leads.
Prior to finalizing casting, Peter Bogdanovich says he met with Ryan O'Neal and Tatum O'Neal at their Malibu home. When Ryan invited Bogdanovich to start an exercise regimen of running on the beach, Tatum countered he wasn't the type. When she explained to Bogdanovich she said that because he wouldn't take his shoes or shirt off, he told Ryan, "She'll do."
The scene where Addie says, "I want my $200!" shows the Dream Theatre's marquee displaying Steamboat Round the Bend (1935) placing the film in 1935.
Before her audition for the role of Imogene, P.J. Johnson walked right up to Peter Bogdanovich and said, "Ooo-WEE! You good-lookin'!" Impressed with her guts, Bogdanovich responded by saying, "You just got the part."
In a May 20, 1973, article in the New York Times, Ryan O'Neal spoke at length about his professional and personal relationship with Tatum O'Neal: "I wouldn't have done the picture without (Tatum). The whole concept was such an interesting connection for Tatum and me. No father and daughter can connect with the intensity of a movie, and in a way, the story is a parallel of our lives." Ryan also reassured readers that Tatum would not become addicted to cigarettes, despite having smoked them in numerous scenes. Reportedly, they made her extremely nauseous.
Various changes were made in adapting the book to film. Addie's age was reduced from twelve to nine to accommodate young Tatum O'Neal, several events from the book were combined for pacing issues, and the last third of the novel, when Moses and Addie graduate to the big leagues as con artists after going into partnership with a fake millionaire, was dropped. The location was also changed from the rural south of the novel - primarily Alabama - to midwestern Kansas and Missouri.
This was part of a whole nostalgia craze in the 70s. There were many TV shows, books and movies set "in a bygone era" during this decade, and the Depression was one of the most popular settings.
The film spawned an unsuccessful TV series Paper Moon (1974) starring Jodie Foster.
Burton Gilliam had no previous acting experience prior to being cast as Floyd in this film.
Peter Bogdanovich didn't think the movie would make much money or would be very successful. He certainly didn't think Tatum O'Neal would win the Oscar.
Tatum O'Neal's best supporting actress Oscar win at age 10, broke the category's record previously held by Patty Duke for The Miracle Worker (1962).
Film debut of Tatum O'Neal.
The car Moses buys after he agrees to take Addie home is a 1930 Ford Model A convertible. The car Moses buys to impress Miss Trixie is a 1936 Ford V8 De Luxe convertible.
This was Peter Bogdanovich's second film photographed in black and white, the first being The Last Picture Show (1971). Bogdanovich was quoted as saying, "I have more affection, more affinity for the past. Since I am more interested in it, it comes easier for me."
Neither the movie or the book ever does definitively answer the question is Moses Addie's father. She keeps accusing him, but she doesn't have any proof, and he keeps denying it. So the audience is left unsure. (Although the book's title, "Addie Pray", definitely gives you a hint that either Addie is Moses' daughter, or she becomes like a surrogate daughter because she latches on to him).
The whiskey being sold by the bootlegger shown toward the end of the film is Three Feathers blended whiskey, a label introduced by Oldtyme Distilling Corp. in 1882 and still produced up to the 1980s.
Moze refers to a "Coney Island" delicacy. It's a version of the hot dog, as popularized by restaurateur Nathan Handwerker in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn. Out-of-state eateries would create variations called "Coney Islands"; the name would also be applied to the eatery itself.
They cut out the whole end of the book out of the movie where Addie and Moze get in a big confidence scheme with a billionaire.
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The actress playing Imogene was a 15-year-old Houston, Texas schoolgirl named P.J. Johnson. Before becoming something of a local movie celebrity in Houston following the film's release, Johnson had gone to Dallas and auditioned for Peter Bogdanovich. The director told Johnson she got the part because she said he was handsome.
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In the book Moses' nickname is "Longboy". In the movie it's just " Moze".
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Peter Bogdanovich, Ryan O'Neal and Tatum O'Neal would team up again in Nickelodeon (1976).
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The book "Addie Pray " (1971) by Joe David Brown was renamed "Paper Moon" after the movie came out in 1973.
Production Designer Polly Platt looked for a seersucker suit in Paramount's costumes for Ryan O'Neal. After she found the suit that would be the one he would wear, inside it she found a piece of tape that indicated that George Raft had wore it in a movie, although it did not indicate which one.
In the book (which Addie Loggins narrates) Addie states that she does not know if Moses is her father, to the reader anyway. She says that it is between Moses and two other men. But in the movie she seems quite adamant that Moses is her father.
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Robert Evans suggested Warren Beatty or Jack Nicholson for the lead role.
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This was originally going to be called "Addie Pray", it was to star Paul Newman and his daughter Nell Potts, it would be directed by John Huston, and it was to be a color movie.
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The song "Birthday Boy", by the Drive-By Truckers contains the line, "Let Miss Trixie sit up front" - a quote from Madeline Kahn in the film.
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Ryan O'Neal hoped that the film would exonerate him from the overwhelming success of Love Story (1970), a film he found hard to live down and which threatened to typecast him as an Ivy League yuppie.
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The minister is reading Psalm 26 at the funeral in the opening scene.
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The book was dubbed a "female Huck Finn" by the critics.
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