Klute – Alan J. Pakula (1971)


“Often considered as the first part of the so-called Paranoia Trilogy, alongside subsequent The Parallax View (1974) and All the President’s Men (1976), Alan J. Pakula’s complex and misleading thriller Klute makes the most out of the opportunity to present a hypnotic reading of male-female relationships, as well as female psyche and sexuality within the confounds of a noir thriller. The film presents a rare and valuable example within this specific genre of putting the development of its characters in front of the development of action and plot, displaying a praise-worthy ambition to be much more than simple fleeting amusement for the spectators. Achieving good numbers at the box office, showered with mostly positive, encouraging reviews, Pakula’s film is a nifty thriller elevated by magnificent acting skills of Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland, phenomenal photography of the legendary Gordon Willis, the great Michael Small’s masterful score perfectly accompanying on-screen developments and the mesmerizing idea put forward by the screenwriters, Andy and Dave Lewis, and Pakula himself, who fell in love with the concept from the very beginning and fought for the chance to turn his second directorial project into a dark, captivating story about an intelligent, ambitious prostitute and her wrestling with the subconscious impulses that keep her in the business while threatened by a mysterious murderer lurking in shadows. Andy Lewis, a screenwriter who dedicated most of his working life to writing for film and TV, even though only a handful of his film projects were ever brought to life, with his brother’s help developed a story based on four basic pillars. Firstly, a strong female character will be under the spotlight, a playful, witty, attractive woman with an inner darkness dragging her along the road of eventual complete self-destruction. Secondly, a completely different kind of a force joining her, a small town man, a conservative shackled by puritan limitations who measures both himself and the world that surrounds him according to a strict moral code, suppressed, calm, an introvert, everything his new love interest is not. Thirdly, the story will be consumed by the intriguing sense of paranoia, which Lewis believed was especially characteristic of the United States, the sensing of nearby conspiracies developing in the shadows, the dark forces working hard on your demise, secret enemies plotting your destruction, the feeling that grew after JFK’s murder, the inconclusive findings of the Warren Commission, the blooming Vietnam disaster and, shortly after the film was made, the Watergate catastrophe, finding its way to most American homes.  …”
‘Klute’: Alan J. Pakula and the Lewis Brothers’ Thriller-Disguised Exploration of Human Interactions, Relationships and Psyche
W – Klute
New to the Criterion Collection, Klute finds a sharply feminist drama in the shadows of paranoid noir
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YouTube: Klute – Original Theatrical Trailer, Klute (1971) title sequence

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