Klute ★★★★½

Jane Fonda is terrific in this role and proves her skill once again as a serious actress. A very well-done film also, masterfully directed by Alan J. Pakula. Fonda plays a NYC call girl being investigated by private detective Donal Sutherland (working on a missing persons case of a friend of his) and simultaneously being stalked by a sadistic ex-john. The 70s vibe is perfect (LOVE Jane's shag haircut), as are the New York City locations. This was a period of time when NYC was in decline, and the crass underworld of pimps and prostitutes is portrayed realistically.

A somewhat noirish thriller, it's suspenseful, even though one learns midway through the film who the killer is. Sutherland, in the early phase of his career here, plays coolly against Fonda's tough exterior shell. But she gradually displays her inner conflicts and vulnerability. The scenes where she is speaking to her psychoanalyst provide a growing insight into her true character. The other roles are all well-played - Roy Schneider as a pimp, Rita Gam as a madam, Dorothy Tristan as a drug-dependent prostitute and Charles Cioffi as the corporate executive who hires Sutherland to find his missing colleague. A nice but short sequence has Jean Stapleton (pre-Edith Bunker, I believe) playing a secretary in a garment district factory.

I saw this as a Netflix rental. A Criterion release although I don't think it's available (yet) on the Criterion Channel

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