Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Klute (1971)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Klute (1971)

In Alan Pakula's neo-noir stalker-thriller character study (Note: Klute was the name of a small-town detective played by Donald Sutherland) about a NYC call girl threatened during a police investigation:

  • the opening credits, with the lengthy voice-over (taped on a recorder) of high-priced New York call girl Bree Daniel (Oscar-winning Jane Fonda) propositioning a client - and her increasing involvement in the investigation of the disappearance (and possible murder) of one of her clients, Tuscarora, Pennsylvania chemical company exec. Thomas Gruneman (Robert Milli), who had allegedly written obscene letters to her "a girl in New York City": (Bree: "Has anybody, uhm, talked to you about the financial arrangements? Well, that depends, naturally, on how long you want me for and, and what you want to do. I know you. It will be very nice. Uhm, well, I'd like to spend the evening with you if it's, if you'd like that. Have you ever been with a woman before? Paying her? Do you like it? I mean, I have the feeling that that turns you on very particularly. What turns me on is because I have a good imagination and I like pleasing. Do you mind if I take my sweater off? Well, I think in the confines of one's house, one should be free of clothing and inhibitions. Oh, inhibitions are always nice because they're so nice to overcome. Don't be afraid. I'm not. As long as you don't, uh, hurt me more than I like to be hurt, I will do anything you ask. You should never be ashamed of things like that. I mean, you mustn't be. You know, there's nothing wrong. Nothing, nothing is wrong. I think the only way that any of us can ever be happy is to, is to let it all hang out. You know, do it all and f--k it!...")
  • Gruneman's 'homicidal' killer was suspected of sending obscene letters (Bree had received six or seven similar obscene letters "written by a very disturbed man"), making anonymous phone calls, stalking and abusing prostitutes, and he was possibly involved in the suicidal deaths of two other prostitutes; although Bree admitted to receiving letters (and calls), she could not recognize or remember Gruneman when shown a photograph
  • the introduction of the character of Peter Cable (Charles Cioffi), one of Gruneman's fellow executive co-workers, who hired family friend and detective John Klute (Donald Sutherland) to investigate Gruneman's lengthy disappearance
  • the telling scene in which Bree was servicing a client - and looked boringly at her watch
  • the scene of Bree's counseling with her high-priced therapist-psychiatrist (Vivian Nathan), when she confessed that she wanted to quit the sessions because of their cost and ineffectiveness: ("Well, I mean I've been coming here all this time, and I've been paying you all this money, and why do I still want to trick? Why do I still walk by a phone and want to pick up the phone and call?...when you're a call girl you control it, that's why. Because someone wants you, not me. I mean, there are some johns that I have regularly that want me and that's terrific. But they want a woman and I know I'm good. And I arrive at their hotel or their apartment, and they're usually nervous, which is fine, because I'm not. I know what I'm doing. And for an hour, for an hour, I'm the best actress in the world and the best f--k in the world...because it's an act. That's what's nice about it. You don't have to feel anything. You don't have to care about anything. You don't have to like anybody. You just, uh, you just lead them by the ring in their nose in the direction that they think they want to go in. And you get a lot of money out of them in as short a period of time as possible. And uh, and you control it and you call the shots, and I always feel just great afterwards... I don't think there's anything wrong with it, uh - morally. I didn't enjoy it physically. I-I came to enjoy it because it made me feel good. It made me feel like I wasn't alone. It made me feel, uh, that I had some control over myself, that I had some control over my life. That I, uh, that I could determine things for myself")
  • in a tense concluding scene, psychopathic sick killer Peter Cable's playing of an audiotape for Bree of his murder of a second prostitute, Arlyn Page (Dorothy Tristan). He was heard calmly promising the hooker: ("Why don't you lie down on the bed and make yourself comfortable... Nothing's going to happen... Just put your head down. You have such lovely long blonde hair. Turn your head"); screams were heard as he strangled and killed her, while Bree bowed her head and silently cried
  • the conclusion: Cable clearly admitted that he was the abusive client of the two dead prostitutes - both of whom he had killed to cover his own tracks; Cable had then framed Gruneman (who was also probably killed) as the author of the obscene letters, before his disappearance; by comparing typewriters, the obscene letters were traced to Cable
  • in the suspenseful ending, after playing the tape and turning off the recording, the killer's sudden attack of Bree, who was saved by private detective John Klute when Cable was smashed through a window
  • the final scene, of Bree moving out of her NYC apartment and returning to Pennsylvania with detective Klute, with whom she had become romantically involved, and her expression of fears to her therapist (in voice-over) that settled domestic life with him in Tuscarora, with a man so different than she was, might not work: ("I know enough about myself to know that whatever lies in store for me it's not gonna be setting up housekeeping with somebody in Tuscarora, and darning socks and doing all that... I'd go out of my mind..."); when she received a phone call from her female therapist, Bree further explained: ("Well, I'm leaving town right now and I don't expect to be back..."); the film ended as she departed her empty apartment, with her continued voice-over to her therapist, casting doubt on her future life with Klute as a couple: ("I have no idea what's gonna happen. I just, I can't stay in this city, you know? Maybe I'll come back. You'll probably see me next week")

Call-Girl Bree Daniels Impatient with One of Her Clients

Bree With Psychiatrist

Cable's Playing of Distressing Audiotape for Bree

Death of Cable - Smashed Through Window

Klute With Bree Before Moving Out of Her Apartment

Final Scene: Bree On Phone With Therapist ("Maybe I'll come back")


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