Present Tense is a column by Sheila O’Malley that reflects on the intersections of film, literature, art, and culture.

Tatum O’Neal in The Bad News Bears (Michael Ritchie, 1976)

“Laced with larceny…loaded with laughter! For 10% of the action, and a red Ferrari, she’d con her own grandmother.”

That’s the tagline on the poster for Disney’s 1977 film Candleshoe, starring Jodie Foster, David Niven and Helen Hayes. Foster appears on the poster as a towering figure in blue jeans and a T-shirt, cocky grin on her face. She was 15 years old at the time, and in the unique position of being a Disney child star and also an Oscar-nominated actress (for her performance in Scorsese’s Taxi Driver the year before). Candleshoe’s gleeful tagline could be chalked up to the 1970s-era vibe of malaise and cynicism filtering down into even G-rated movies. But Candleshoe is an example of another trend, a…



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