Directed by Alan J Paluka (1971)
Deliberate framing and pacing, rich, artistic cinematography, and an adult story that ignores the teen market, Klute is a film of it’s time – the great 1970’s, far before the music video era. Not that I dismiss everything made in the last several decades, just that there’s something distinct about a classic film like this one and though it hasn’t come to be remembered as well as some of its contemporaries, it will be worth checking out if only for our generation to grasp onto the fashions: feathered shags, midi skirts, sequins, and caftans…
Jane Fonda is Bree Daniels, a skilled prostitute trying to become an actress. She’s self-sabotaging, tough, world weary, angry, intelligent, vulnerable, mean, and kind hearted. She’s one of the most damaged characters put to screen and Fonda deserved the Academy Award she earned for her fierce portrayal. Her foil is Tom, played by Donald Sutherland (love) who is quiet, forgiving, seemingly naive and passive but proves himself to be complicated and brave. They are thrown together when Tom’s friend disappears leaving behind only a stack of obscene letters to Bree as any clue to his whereabouts.
As self appointed private detective and reluctant assistant, they traverse the sometimes opulent, often dismal seedy underground of the sex trade in New York, where Rod Schneider is deliciously seedy as a pimp. The mystery is tense at times, with almost horror movie like music and great sets for thrills, but it’s really the relationship that develops between these two unlikely lovers that is at the heart of the movie.