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19 Feb

These were not the “good old days” because Bogdanovich was not only old enough to know better, but he was enough of a film historian to know that is a sweet road movie but it’s also very sad.And timeless – fathers and daughters (and surrogate fathers and daughters) will have strained relationships until the end of time. With the O’Neals especially, he trusts their own real life bumping up against the written word. And they and Bogdanovich know that the future is a mystery.It helped him get Toni off his back while he carried on his own extra-marital affairs.Did Toni, George, Eddie and his mistress really go on double dates together?The movie shows Toni Mannix and George Reeves having dinner with her husband Eddie and an asian mistress.Strangely enough, according to friends these double dates did happen. One friend recalled being at the Mannix Beverly Hills home when George strolled in the backdoor.“There was a part in the script and I asked my dad to help me with it, I was still learning to read… I mean, which little girl wants to say ‘I love you’ to their dad? It’s a tough little face that’s resilient and smart, because in the movie, life has made her grow up fast (her mother just died, she’s gonna be sour), and it’s a lonely face, yearning for her dad to at least reveal himself. Director Peter Bogdanovich (on the advice of his brilliant production designer and ex-wife Polly Platt) was canny and perceptive enough to cast the O’Neals: already wizened tomboy Tatum and her divorced, weekend father (who didn’t see her enough weekends) who were working through their relationship in real life.

Eddie and George said hi to each other, and George proceeded to the refrigerator and helped himself to a glass of milk. In real life, Toni, unhappy in her own marriage, took a strong liking to George. George's bedroom (where his body was found) looked out over the backyard of the property.

You can’t slip a trick past this kid, however, so when she hears Moses collecting the two hundred dollars from the man who accidentally killed Addie’s mom, she starts demanding her money. All of these thoughts flicker across Tatum’s face, even when she’s not speaking her mind (which is a lot), but in beautiful little moments – like when she’s all Leo Gorcey-tough guy, sullenly smoking in bed, or posing pretend ladylike in the mirror, or smiling to herself in the car after getting the better of Moses.

And she demands it loudly while he stupidly thinks a Coney Island is going to shut her up. They end up becoming a team – the con of charging Bibles to recent widows for their dearly departed husband’s gifts, never ordered for them. There’s many sequences in the movie so expertly shot by Bogdanovich that not only show Addie’s sharp little mind at work (her scheming with Trixie’s put-upon maid, Imogene, played by a terrific P. Johnson is hilarious, impressive and genuinely moving for the fate of Imogene too), but the stand-out is an uninterrupted argument between Tatum and Ryan in the car.

The stark landscape and Dorothea Lange-looking faces have been compared to Bogdanovich’s hero, John Ford, and specifically his work with Gregg Toland on .

And you certainly see and feel that in this picture, but it also achieves a modern European look as well.