Klute (French Import) DVD
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Directed by Alan J. Pakula
Produced in 1971
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - American film
Julian Upton contents that this Oscar-winning film by Alan J Pakula was much more influential on 1970s filmmaking than the films you'd expect.
While the fashionable hits of the late sixties — The Graduate, Bonnie and Clyde, Easy Rider, Midnight Cowboy — kick-started a new direction in Hollywood film-making, it was Klute that set the pace for the American cinema of the next decade.
Its courageousness as a character study is as daring as its frank language and adult style. As Bree — a New York call girl menaced by threats from an unseen client — Jane Fonda is so believable you’d swear the role had been created especially for her. It wasn’t (it was offered to Barbra Streisand first), but she delivers a tour-de-force (and won an Oscar). Bree is as frustrated and self-doubting as she is independent and ambitious, as vulnerable as she is headstrong. She’s a failed actress whose best performances are for her Johns, and she’s a cynic who wants love but knows only sex. To her female shrink she reveals the cracks in her façade, but to most men she seems in total control.
When Klute (Donald Sutherland), a small-town cop investigating the disappearance of his friend in New York, first encounters her, all he can do is gaze. The film may be more about Bree than it is about Klute, but the audience takes his perspective. Klute is a voyeur, but he’s a benign and ‘innocent’ one (Sutherland’s passivity strikes just the right note, a blend of parochialism, benevolent honesty and quiet determination). Others watching Bree have far murkier motives. This intense voyeurism exacerbates an encroaching sense of paranoia. In this respect the film is all the more remarkable for prefiguring the ‘conspiracy-theory cinema’ of the seventies that was soon to emerge from the shadow of Watergate.
None of this overwhelms Klute’s effectiveness as a tense, urban thriller. The languid, nocturnal mood is periodically shattered by the intrusive shrieks of an unwelcome phone call or the well-timed shock of a door buzzer, and the mystery at the heart of the plot is compelling. Heightened by an atmospheric score by Michael Small and era-defining cinematography from Gordon Willis, this is one of the stand-out classics of modern noir.
Julian Upton on 21st July 2011
Author of 172 reviews
Jane Fonda won a Best Actress Oscar for her strong performance as a call girl forced to confront the darker aspects of her nature and profession when she's stalked by a killer.
A respected businessman has disappeared, and his friend, detective John Klute (Donald Sutherland), is on the case. There is only one clue: An obscene letter written by Tom to a New York City call girl named Bree (Jane Fonda). Klute finds her and enters her sordid world and they gradually fall for each other. As one clue leads to another however, two of Bree's friends are killed, and it's clear that she is being stalked by a madman.
Length: 114 mins
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 widescreen
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 6th June 2011
Cat No: WHVF500256
- French Region 2 edition, playable in all UK DVD players
- Film language is English with optional French subtitles