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  • Rob Freese

Hardcore- Leonard Schrader’s Novelization Returns!

Updated: Oct 12


Screenwriter and director Leonard Schrader worked on a number of projects with his brother Paul Schrader. In addition to developing the story for The Yakuza (which Paul wrote with Robert Towne for director Sydney Pollack in 1974) , Leonard also wrote the novelization for the film that saw print in 1975. He then went on to co-write the script for Blue Collar with Paul. The film featured Richard Pryor and Harvey Keitel and brother Paul directed it.


The following year Paul Schrader wrote and directed Hardcore, and brother Leonard wrote the novelization which was released by Warner Books.


Hardcore is easily the greatest 15-year-old girl from Grand Rapids goes to LA on a church fieldtrip and gets seduced by the glamor of the gutter porno and drug life" ever made! A bold statement, but this movie is absolutely bonkers!


The flick's biggest asset is George C. Scott as the girl's father who drives her away, and then hits LA and does everything in his power to find her. He quickly submerges himself into the muck of the hairy, sweaty world of 70's porn. Jack VanDorn is a man of God, but he's never below smacking the hell out of some lowlife to get information about his daughter.


Great cast, great flick, I recommend it.


I also recommend Leonard Schrader's newly reprinted novelization. It's a simple adaptation of the story, but it does not miss one scummy, scuzzy adjective in describing the seedy underworld of the 70's porn scene. There are passages that will honestly turn your stomach. Schrader's approach is no nonsense and goes straight for the kill.


The novel is a quick read, running only 158 pages but it is a hell of a good read. Sort of like a Mack Bolan adventure, if Mack was an out of shape religious fanatic who dresses like a pimp to get his daughter away from some possible snuff filmmakers.


My only gripe would be the numerous dumb mistakes sprinkled throughout the book. It is fully edited and we're not talking misspelled or even missing words, but the over all formatting is kind of sloppy. Scenes change and they could use a blank line between one scene and the next to let the reader know the scene has changed. As is, it feels many times like there is a chunk of the story missing. Some paragraphs are split into two halves, the sentence just stop in the middle of the line and goes directly to the next line. There are also numbers that randomly pop up between words, like an annotation, but there is no annotation. Dashes and commas appear randomly throughout.


Please understand, I know better than most what goes into putting an independently produced book together. There are a million opportunities to make a mistake. Everything here is forgivable, but to have the opportunity to present the work of a writer like Leonard Schrader, I would have thought a little more care would have gone into the final presentation.


If you are a fan of this movie, you owe it to yourself to pick up the book. It is fabulous. It's a sleazy good time. You might even scream, "Oh my God, that's my daughter!"

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