Saturday, January 30, 2010


"Klute" is the title of a movie from 1971 starring Jane Fonda (who won the Best Actress Academy award for that role) and Donald Sutherland, directed by Alan J. Pakula. "Klute" was the first of three Pakula films that some called his "paranoia trilogy": 1) Klute; 2) The Parallax View; and 3) All The President's Men. All three movies reflected the common perception during the 1970s that there were things going on at higher levels, people being murdered, and we the citizens were just unknowing pawns in the game.

In "Klute," Jane Fonda plays a New York City prostitute/call girl named Bree Daniels. Donald Sutherland plays the title character, John Klute, a private investigator from a small town in Pennsylvania. Klute is called by the CEO of a successful Pennsylvania corporation, to help locate one of their executives who has gone missing: Tom Grueneman.

Klute tracks Grueneman to Bree Daniels, but she refuses to cooperate. Bree Daniels is living in extreme agitation and fear because she senses that she is always being watched and followed -- by someone. Much of the filming is done as if from the eyes of the man who is, in fact, stalking Bree Daniels. So the camera is outside her apartment looking in, or across the street watching her as she walks to the corner. Every time the film shows us that she is being stalked (though we don't know by whom) the soundtrack plays a piece called "The Tape," which sets the eerie, creepy tone of the film. As the story progresses, Bree Daniels and John Klute fall in love, and the soundtrack also has a wonderful piece called "Love Theme."

To avoid ruining the story for anyone who has not seen this amazing film, let's just say that anybody who thinks corporations and the men who run them are behind everything evil in this world will not be disappointed.

I loved the movie, but in particular love the soundtrack which was written by a man named Michael Small. The soundtrack was unfortunately never available for purchase, nor sold as a record or CD, until 2006, 35 years after the movie was made.

In the clip below, you can hear parts of "The Tape," the creepy background music that sets the ominous tone for the whole film.

Michael Small also wrote the soundtracks for many other films including the Parallax View (with Warren Beatty), Stepford Wives (original, not the remake), Night Moves (Arthur Penn/Gene Hackman - another great film), Marathon Man (John Schlesinger/Dustin Hoffman -- who also worked together on Midnight Cowboy), The China Syndrome (Jane Fonda again, with Jack Lemmon and Michael Douglas), The Postman Always Rings Twice (remake), and Black Widow (a terrific movie with Debra Winger and Theresa Russell).

Some people consider the soundtrack for "Klute" to be one of the best soundtracks of the 1970s. I would agree. I don't know what instruments were used to create the creepy effect of "The Tape," other than the voice part, but I do know I can still hear it in my head many years after I first saw that movie.

No comments:

Post a Comment