Skip to main content


USA, 1979 (MIFF 1979)

Director: Paul Schrader

Jake Van Dorn, a deeply religious Midwestern businessman lives a happy life, until his daughter disappears on a trip to Los Angeles.

He hires a seedy private detective, who finds a sex film in which the girl has participated, apparently against her will. When the father realizes that he can't trust the oddball detective, he decides to conduct the hunt himself. Posing as a porno film producer casting a new movie, he gathers clues with ferocious determination. His treacherous journey gives him a fast, hard lesson in big city street life and a close-up view of the flourishing porno industry its victims and exploiters.

To help him make his way on this dangerous odyssey, Van Dorn forms an agreement with a hardened parlor girl' (Season Hubley) who acts as his guide. From opposite ends of the social spectrum, they exchange views and develop an ironic, tender friendship which further dramatizes the topsy-turvy state of current moral values.

This authentic drama was filmed on locations in actual porno establishments in San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles, often enlisting real denizens of this sub-culture for atmosphere, small roles and technical advice.

Paul Schrader

Born: 1946. Studied at the UCLA Film School. Wrote nine scripts, including Taxi Driver.

Features: Blue Collar (1978), Hardcore, American Gigolo (1979).

See also...


Something is off balance here, quite intentionally. This quirky, playful psychological thriller - the story of an ordinary English couple lured into the sumptuous home and sinister clutches of a ... More »


... ... Paul Schrader is arguably one of the most vital figures of contemporary American cinema. An auteur in the truest sense, his vast body of work as a scriptwriter, director and crit­ic is an ... More »


Paul Schrader began as a film critic and went on to write the scripts for Taxi Driver, The Yakuza, and Obsession. This is his directorial debut. ... Zeke, Jerry and Smokey are close friends who work ... More »


"Tapdancin' " explores the art of American tap dance through stage performances, candid interviews, and vintage film clips. Old timers such as John Bubbles, the Nicholas Brothers, and Chuck Green are ... More »


Film record of an historic debate on women's liberation that took place at New York City's Town Hall in 1971. The participants Norman Mailer, author of "Prisoner of Sex"; Germaine Greer, author of ... More »

Sigmund Freud's Dora

In 1899 Sigmund Freud began treatment with an 18 year-old girl who was brought to him for analysis by her father after she had written a suicide note. Freud was eager to use this case to demonstrate ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director