John Klute

Created by Andy and Dave Lewis

"Tell me, Klute, did we get you a little? Huh? Just a little bit? Us city folk? The sin, the glitter, the wickedness? Huh?"
"Ah - that's so pathetic."

-- John Klute responds to an insult with his typical brevity.

Donald Sutherland plays small-town sleuth JOHN KLUTE in Klute, a 1971 film that's better remembered for Jane Fonda's Oscar-winning turn as Bree Daniel, a jittery high-class call girl (and a scene where Hank Fonda's daughter slowly, oh so slowly, strips off her dress. --editor), than for its title character . That's because Fonda definitely got the showier role in the film, and also because she did a great job with it. Still, in his own low-key way Sutherland matches Fonda scene-for-scene with an understated performance that's just as emotionally true and squirmy, and this makes Klute one of the better P.I. films of the early 1970s, only a notch or two below Chinatown.

The set up is that P.I. John Klute is a personal friend of a Pennsylvania corporate executive who has been missing for several months. The corporation hires the soft-spoken Klute to find their missing exec and sends him to New York City to track him down. Unfortunately, Klute isn't exactly the ideal person to investigate the disappearance -- he admits up front that he has no experience in missing persons cases, nor in big-city investigations. As a result, Klute soon finds himself over his head in a seemingly amoral world of Big Apple call girls, pimps and high-living low-lifes.

However, Klute has a quiet determination to succeed, and sticks with the case. The mystery he has to solve isn't all that complex, but the film is. It's a terrific character study of two very different people, both questioning their lives in different ways, thrown up against a culture seriously at war with itself. Highly recommended viewing, especially for detective buffs who prefer a bit of psychological drama with their sleuthing.

THE EVIDENCE

  • "Don't feel bad about losing your virtue. I sort of knew you would. Everybody always does."

-- Bree Daniel

FILM

  • KLUTE .. Buy this DVD .. Watch it now!
    (1971, Warner Brothers)
    114 minutes
    Written by Andy and Dave Lewis
    Produced and directed by Alan J. Pakula
    Starring Jane Fonda as Bree Daniels
    and Donald Sutherland as JOHN KLUTE
    Also starring Charles Cioffi, Roy Scheider, Nathan George, Jean Stapleton (and look sharp for unbilled extras Veronica Hamel and Sylvester Stallone!)

NOVELIZATION

RELATED LINKS

Debbi Mack found it at the movies.

Respectfully submitted by Rudyard Kennedy.


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