Klute (1971) (NTSC)

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Released 16-Apr-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Filmographies-Cast-Fonda and Sutherland only
Listing-Cast & Crew
Featurette-Klute In New York: A Background For Suspense
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1971
Running Time 113:52
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (53:17) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4 Directed By Alan J. Pakula

Warner Home Video
Starring Donald Sutherland
Jane Fonda
Charles Cioffi
Roy Scheider
Dorothy Tristan
Rita Gam
Vivian Nathan
Nathan George
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Michael Small

Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking Yes, including marijuana
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Klute is a classic movie. There are those who argue that Jane Fonda's performance makes the film, but I think it that it is the combination of Donald Sutherland and Jane Fonda that makes this film special.

    The story starts fairly quickly. We learn that Tom Grunemann has disappeared from a small town (Tuscarora, Pennsylvania). A year later, he has still not been found. When he first disappeared, the police found a obscene letter in his desk addressed to a prostitute in New York. They investigated, but found very little - she had complained of being followed, receiving breather calls, so they think that possibly Tom Grunemann might still be around, but they've seen no trace of him even though they followed her.

    Cut to New York, and a group of women trying for a modelling position. One is Bree Daniels (Jane Fonda). She leaves the audition, makes a phone call, and gets a client. She is a prostitute who is trying to get work as an actor or model. She is seeing a therapist to try to get rid of her desire to be a call-girl. There are some cute touches in Jane Fonda's performance. She's moaning at her client's performance, and checking her wristwatch. She admits to the therapist that the thing she likes about being a call-girl is being in control.

    John Klute (Donald Sutherland), a policeman in Tuscarora, comes to New York to investigate Tom Grunemann's disappearance. One of his first steps is to see Bree Daniels, who refuses to talk to him. Eventually she gives in, and takes him to meet some of the other people who might have been in touch with Grunemann: a pimp called Frank Ligourin (Roy Scheider), another prostitute called Arlyn Page (Dorothy Tristan), and others. The more they investigate, the less pleasant things become...

    This seems like a fairly simple thriller, but the performances lift it above the ordinary. Bree is a complex character: confident and scared and angry by turns, amused by Klute's small-town naiveté. Klute is superbly impassive, very controlled, until pushed too far.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    I hope your system is capable of displaying NTSC, because that's what this disc offers.

    This movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is mostly quite dark - much of the movie takes places at night, or indoors in low-lit places. This means that the film is working hard to capture the image, and so we cannot expect a razor-sharp image. Some scenes are so dark we get little more than a few patches of image against a black background. Those patches are a bit soft. There are a few scenes in sunlight, and these are quite sharp with good shadow detail. There are many scenes in indoor light, and these are a little softer, but perfectly acceptable, despite seriously reduced shadow detail. Shadow detail diminishes to zero in the darker scenes, and grain increases. There's no low-level noise.

    Colour is perfectly acceptable - occasionally it seems a little dull (not surprising for film of this age), but mostly it's fine.

    There are a number of artefacts, apart from those induced by the dark image. There is some minor aliasing, but it never reaches troubling levels. There is a trace of MPEG shimmer on a background or two. There are plenty of film artefacts, but they are small, even miniscule - most are white flecks. There is an interesting optical artefact with a torch (sorry, flashlight - it's an American film...) starting at 40:45. There are some small bright blue marks down the right side of a frame around 71:29.

    Subtitles are provided in eight languages. On some players, the English subtitles default to on, but they are easily switched off. They are clear, easy to read, and quite accurate (except that they refer to Bree as "Daniel", not "Daniels"), and well-timed.

    The disc is single-sided and dual layered (RSDL-formatted). The layer change is at 53:17, and it's noticeable only by the pause. It's placed at a scene change, and not disturbing.

   I was disappointed with this disc. I think it is just a bit too dark/dim - look at 13:40 for an example of how dark it gets. It's a shame, too, because this film deserves better treatment.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are only two soundtracks - English and  French, both presented in Dolby 1.0 (unambiguous mono). I listened to the English - this is the original soundtrack. We're hearing the film the way it was made, and that counts for something.

    Dialogue is easy to understand. Audio sync is spot on. Jane Fonda gets the opportunity to demonstrate a number of accents - her French accent (in the monologue about Cannes, not the Joan of Arc sequence) is perfect.

    The score is from Michael Small, and it is a classic thriller score, complete with lots of tinkling suspense. You might think the music sounds derivative, but bear in mind the age of the film - it is other films that are derivative of this one.

    A mono soundtrack doesn't give much scope for your 5.1 system to shine; I hope your centre channel can cope. To be honest, though, there's no real call here for directional sound or big bangs - this movie is just fine with a mono soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The main menu is static, with music. It is perfectly functional, but nothing special.

Featurette - Klute in New York - A Background for Suspense (8:19)

    A featurette made at the time of filming. Very grainy, and not 16x9 enhanced.

Cast and Crew

    This lists the cast and crew, but additional information is only provided for Jane Fonda (5 pages) and Donald Sutherland (4 pages) - these are merely selected filmographies. I note, for example, that Donald Sutherland's does not list Eye of the Needle.

Theatrical Trailer (3:04)

    This is quite grainy, but mildly interesting.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This disc is marked for Regions 1 to 4, and yet this film has already been released in Region 1. The two discs are essentially identical. I think the R1 has a 2.0 mono soundtrack instead of the 1.0 mono we have here - there's a difference that's no difference. The R1, by reports, has a better video transfer, but it is hard to judge without having the two side-by-side. The R1 is, being a Warners title, presented in a snapper case.


    A classic movie, presented in imperfect fashion on DVD, but this is the best we have...

    The video quality is adequate.

    The audio quality is fine.

    The extras are not extensive.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Monday, March 04, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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