Movie Monologue Monday – Madeline Kahn in Paper Moon

This week’s Movie Monologue Monday is going to look at Madeline Kahn’s performance in Paper Moon. Kahn was nominated for an Oscar for this film but lost to ten-year-old costar Tatum O’Neal. O’Neal is Oscar’s youngest ever winner.

Kahn is Miss Trixie Delight, an exotic dancer who is gold-digging Moses Pray (Ryan O’Neil). Pray’s maybe daughter Addie is understandably not happy about this.

What I think is important about this piece is the use of tactics. In the space of two minutes Kahn flows seamlessly between all sorts of tactics to get Addie back in the car. She goes from kindness to empathy to bargaining to threats to sympathy, to outright desperation. The tactics are all in the writing but they’re probably easy to miss on the page. Kahn clearly has done her homework and dug deep with her script analysis. Every beat is carefully marked.

Note: There are a couple of “adult” words used in the piece so please review it before showing it to students.

About the author

Craig Mason