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GEORGE C. SCOTT 'HARDCORE' W/ PETER BOYLE & SEASON HUBLEY

Season Hubley kicking front in HARDCORE Year: 1979
George C. Scott is a straight-laced, Midwestern business-owner with an innocent daughter who, on a church trip from hometown Grand Rapids, Michigan to Southern California, suddenly goes missing at an amusement park... 

Desperate, and after a by-the-numbers lecture from the police, he hires a street-smart, so he says, quirky and blunt L.A. Private Eye...

Enter Peter Boyle, who literally proves... via hometown sex shoppe projection room... that his client's runaway daughter is a porn actress, resulting in an intense scene from Scott that few actors could get away with, or would even attempt attempt in the first place: One that's now an online punchline, although it's not that funny... for the character, who we later follow around the seedy So Cal nightlife as if he were a Film Noir snoop... which he turns into, somewhat...  

This shirt is a bust... "yes there's gas in the car..."
What's really intriguing, and even humorous without being distracting, is how Scott's Jake Van Dorn clashes with Boyle's genuine gumshoe, symbolically named Andy Mast, their verbal dynamic exceeding intentional scene-stealer Leonard Gaines as a Los Angeles porn producer more talkative than "Easy Andy" from Schrader's original game-changing script of Martin Scorsese's masterpiece, TAXI DRIVER...

Cousins Karen Kruer and Ilah Davis
Back on track: After a few weeks, Jake returns to wander the streets of L.A., going from porn stores to massage-brothels backed by Jack Nitzsche's bluesy hard-rock score, practically bursting through the screen (symbolically backed by Neil Young's vulnerable 'Helpless' playing in a sex shop)...

The juxtaposition of the fish outta-water loner lost in a modern Gomorrah is both mesmerizing and familiar. Although eventually, the film loses some validity when our woebegone lead goes undercover as a would-be-producer, donning a bogus mustache and mirrored shades, weeding out young porn-actors in search of the one guy (Ryan O'Neal's failed getaway driver in THE DRIVER) in the only photo of his daughter, at work. Although this sequence is entertaining, providing a more conventional audience a break from the severe mainline, it somewhat trivializes the edgy and risque subject-at-hand, curtailing the essential danger of the quest, which had a sparse, unapologetic exploitation vibe beforehand.

George C. Scott hanging out in HARDCORE
The most best scenes occur during the third act, not involving sex or nudity, but what Schrader does best: one-on-one dialogue when Scott hires multi-talented prostitute, porn actress and window-room dancer Season Hubley to help him since Boyle, spending more time with skanks than finding clues, wasn't closing the deal fast enough for a desperate and determined father...

Rating: ****1/2
Their conversations, ranging from Faith to Johnny Carson, evokes peripheral comparisons of two polar opposites – the Calvinist and the Whore, both alike in their aloof indifference to society, and sex – injecting a philosophical edge into the forefront, progressed from Travis Bickle's conversations with young hooker Iris in Schrader's famous script, TAXI DRIVER...

Scott told Reb Brown to beat him up, and Reb complied... that's method!
Meanwhile, the stagnant, voyeuristic camera's more seductive than revealing...

And the finale, involving Scott beating up the villain, is way too typical, more befitting the following decade (when heavies were punched into swimming pools): It's the contrasting... and ultimately connecting... philosophical discussions, providing random breaks throughout an intentionally grueling road, that makes this semi-obscure Paul Schrader vehicle work: a late-70's counter-culture flick that needs a much bigger, far more dedicated cult following – hope this helps.
George C. Scott follows Peter Boyle to hardcore dramatics in HARDCORE
An actress who should've been Karen Kruer's mom is Bibi Besch as Mary in HARDCORE
Cute cousins Karen Kruer and Ilah Davis in HARDCORE
Karen Kruer shakes her present from uncle George C. Scott in HARDCORE
Intentional scene-stealer Leonard Gaines with George C. Scott in HARDCORE
George C. Scott and Peter Boyle in HARDCORE
George C. Scott in HARDCORE
George C. Scott in HARDCORE with Season Hubley
George C. Scott in HARDCORE with Season Hubley
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