We gave it an A
With Jane Fonda’s retirement from acting and director Alan J. Pakula’s accidental death in 1998, the two voices that could have shed the most light on the making of this beautifully observed romance/thriller about a call girl and the private detective (Donald Sutherland) who falls for her are now silent. No commentary track here: The work has to speak for itself. And when the work is as good as Klute, that’s no problem. Fonda — rigid with tensile intelligence as a high-end hooker who wants out of the life but can’t stop herself — won her first Oscar for a performance that, 30 years on, makes the work of most contemporary young actresses look easy and little-girlish. And Pakula, aided by Gordon Willis, the one cinematographer without whom the 1970s simply could not have happened, keeps the camera alert to every tic and twitch of splendid, seedy New York before the streets were clean and Starbucks owned every corner.