Slick con man Moses Pray (Ryan O’Neal) is saddled with the task of transporting 9-year-old Addie Loggins (Tatum O’Neal) to her aunt’s home in Missouri. Addie, it turns out, is a supremely clever girl. She quickly gets wise to Moses’ larcenous ways and demonstrates a genuine (and perhaps inherited) gift for running his con; they temporarily delay her journey and move from town to town selling overpriced Bibles to new widows. Director Peter Bogdanovich gives their nefarious dealings and developing relationship a tart but never astringent tone — and gets a stupendous performance from Tatum (who remains the youngest person to win an Academy Award). Director of photography Laszlo Kovacs, who would ultimately work on six of Bogdanovich’s films, gave a lovely, high-contrast look to this evocation of Depression-era America. The car scene below, a deceptively complicated moving single-shot, took a day and a half to shoot.
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