Mike’s Picks: ‘Klute’ and ‘The Leopard Man’

Klute

Criterion, Drama, $29.95 DVD, $39.95 Blu-ray, ‘R.’
Stars Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, Roy Scheider, Charles Cioffi.
1971. Released in relatively stealth fashion during a unforgettable movie summer, Alan J. Pakula’s Klute is a psychological drama wrapped in thriller/mystery trappings rather than a thriller/mystery per se — which possibly resulted in its being underrated at the time, though Jane Fonda did win a Best Actress Oscar for a performance that is among the significant ones of the modern screen era.
Extras: Blasting out of the gate with a new 4K remastering of Gordon Willis’s trademark anti-solar cinematography, Criterion’s new Klute release is one of the best-produced Blu-rays I’ve ever seen, and its combined package of nary-a-dud bonus extras now pounds it into me how unusual this film was. We get two remarkable Fonda interviews, conducted decades apart, that artfully operate in tandem here.
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The Leopard Man

Shout! Factory, Horror, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Dennis O’Keefe, Margo, Jean Brooks.
1943.
Directed by Jacques Tourneur shortly after he and producer Val Lewton turnedThe Cat People into one of the most profitable sleepers of the entire World War II movie era, The Leopard Manwas the third of nine creepy features Lewton made for RKO during his famously remarkable run from 1942 to 1946.
Extras: There are two bonus commentaries — one by The Exorcist director William Friedkin, the other a highly informative nuts-and-bolts one by film historian Constantine Nasr that gives a compelling back-dropper about the kind of miserable-sounding life that source author Cornell Woolrich seems to have led.
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