(1971) ★★★★★

Sky Movies Select: Monday 8 June, 10pm

Donald Sutherland is small town cop John Klute, turning private eye to track a friend who’s been missing for six months. But he’s out of his league in New York, bemused by big city ways – the sex, the drugs, the rotten role-playing. Comfortably numb call-girl Jane Fonda refuses to hold his hand but a demented prowler will draw them closer together. Hypnotic and sinister thriller that, marked by Fonda’s superbly unshowy Oscar-winning turn, is also an oddly affecting love story. “I’ve no idea what I’m going to do… I am deeply puzzled,” says the killer (the excellent Charles Cioffi), trying to rationalise his actions to Fonda. “That’s your stock-in-trade, isn’t it? A man’s weakness.” There’s also a memorably nasty turn by Roy Scheider, Oscar-nominated for The French Connection that same year. Fonda wept at the Academy Awards: “I realized that I had just won an Oscar and my dad never had. I cried and cried. It just seemed so wrong.” She was right. Henry Fonda, the star of The Grapes of Wrath, Young Mr Lincoln, Twelve Angry Men, and so many other screen classics, had indeed remained unrewarded until belatedly winning an Oscar, on his death-bed, for On Golden Pond in 1981. Director Alan J. Pakula was here at the top of his game, following the incisive Klute with The Parallax View and All the President’s Men. The unsettling music score is by Michael Small, the enveloping widescreen photography by Gordon Willis, offering a master-class in the use of shadow, space and perspective. The brilliant Willis went on to shoot The Godfather for Francis Coppola. And, many years later, Jane Campion copied Klute’s template for her incisive New York City thriller In the Cut..

Certificate: 18
Duration: 114min

Other Showings Time & Date
Sky Movies Select Thursday, 18 June at 12:00AM