Jane Fonda in “Klute” (1971)

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By Scott Ross

Movies (and men) often locate women within an unfortunate bifurcation: Madonna or Whore. Klute‘s Bree Daniels is perhaps the ultimate hooker role — sharp, intelligent, cool, and, however frightened she is by the unknown stalker who may or may not be threatening her life, in control.

Jane Fonda’s acting is so spontaneous it almost seems to be observed by a documentary camera, but you’re never in doubt that she knows exactly what she’s doing. And it’s as powerful now as it was when Klute was new.

Fonda’s performance is one of the finest, of any kind, ever committed to film. No, I’ll go further: It is, bar none, the single greatest movie performance by an American actor in the past 45 years.

Text copyright 2013 by Scott Ross

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