The Great Depression. Ryan O’Neal is an itinerant con man, selling bibles to newly widowedwomen. Unexpectedly, he winds up saddled with Tatum O’Neal, a sharp, cynical child who mayor may not be his daughter — she certainly shares his gift for the fast move. The two engaged ina picaresque journey, which pulls of the neat trick of being funny but not wacky, moving but notsentimental. The last film of Bogdanovich’s golden period (following Targets, TheLast Picture S…ow and What’s Up Doc?).
The sound is the original mono, and that is just as well. The sound is very low key, so therewouldn’t have been much point in artificially inflating it with rear speaker sound effects. Thesoundtrack is very clean, with no distortion and no background noise. Beyond that, not too muchto say.
Bogdanovich’s intention was to evoke not just the period of the thirties, but the films as well.The decision was therefore made to go with black-and-white, rather than colour. A red filter wasused, producing very pronounced contrasts. Bogdanovich and DP Lazlo Kovacs also went withdeep-focus photography (à la Citizen Kane. The result is a film of shimmering beauty,wonderfully captured on the DVD transfer (apart from reducing the widescreen down to 1.78:1).What grain there is strikes me as quite likely a deliberate choice, and the image is razor sharp.Apart from some visible edge enhancement halos, the picture is beautiful.
Bogdanovich provides a characteristically articulate commentary, covering the hows andwhys of just about everything. Also very informative are the three featurettes. “The Next PictureShow” traces the origins of the film and its production; “Asking for the Moon” focuses ontechnical aspects such as the cinematography and the production design; and “Getting the Moon”is a brief look at the movie’s reception. The menu is basic.
A beautifully crafted comedy, the sort that seems to appear only too rarely. All the morereason, then, to be grateful for its arrival on DVD.
Special Features List
- Director’s Commentary
- 3 Featurettes