Despite a host of terminal flaws, Klute is notable for presenting Jane Fonda as a much-matured actress in a role which demands that she make interesting an emotionally-unstable professional prostitute. Produced handsomely in New York, but directed tediously by Alan J. Pakula, the film is a suspenser without much suspense. Donald Sutherland shares above-title billing in a line-throwing, third-banana trifle of a part.
The script concerns a mysterious disappearance in New York of out-of-towner Robert Milli. Sutherland, a family friend who is also a cop named Klute, tries to discover what happened. The only clue is Fonda, known to the police as a hooker.
It becomes obvious too early that Charles Cioffi, a family friend and business associate of the missing man, has a few kinky sex problems. The film’s wanderings through the sordid side of urban life come across more as titilation than logical dramatic exposition.
The only rewarding element is Fonda’s performance. At last, and by no means not too late, there is something great coming off the screen.
1971: Best Actress (Jane Fonda).
Nomination: Best Original Story & Screenplay