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Klute Film Analysis

analytical Essay
1891 words
1891 words
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Alan J. Pakula’s “Klute” is widely known in the music industry for its uncommon use of musical instruments in the non-diegetic music during mysterious parts of the thrilling movie. Alongside, the frightening tune, a pattern of low-key lighting mixed with not revealing the identity of the man whom Bree is fearful of and who Klute is looking for, is evident whenever the music starts. Combining the two patterns with the non-diegetic music gives the audience a sense of mystery, thrill, and fear as they respond cognitively by trying to uncover who is after Bree.
Michael Small was the musical mastermind behind the eerie soundtrack of “Klute”, his first Hollywood film. Small elected to make his impression by streaming away from the previous uses of symphony and jazz commonly used in thrilling movie soundtracks, to utilizing a chamber orchestra. In doing so, he combined the chilling sounds of the piano, percussion instruments, and a female voice to devise what some would say is the best soundtrack of the 1970s.1
The very first time we hear the chilling music is at 3:36 while a man is setting up a tape recorder and plays it. During this, low-key side lighting is used to illuminate the actions being done on a black table. In order to enhance the creepiness of the soundtrack, the director only allows the audience to see what he wants them to. In this case, a close up of a man’s hand and a tape recorder are allowed. By combining the black surface, low-key lighting, and a hand but not a face the director created the mysterious, creepy atmosphere of the eerie music for the rest of the movie. The presentation of the music alongside the patterns evoke cognitive play for the audience because they want to know who is behind the recorder. It is ass...

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...audience to finally feel relieve that Bree’s troubles are finally over and the mystery is solved.
The use of non-diegetic music alongside of low-key lighting and what was chosen to keep off-screen cued the audience into feeling the thrill that Klute and Bree were feeling throughout the investigation. Although it was finally revealed that Cable was the culprit, a first time viewer could not be positive that Cable was the man they were looking for. By not revealing Cable as the man behind everything, every time the music played the intenseness was still present. In addition, the occasional high-key lighting did not decrease the power of the music because other reasons to feel suspense were shown. Klute is a prime example on how the combination of non-diegetic music alongside of other elements can help cue the audience into feeling how the director wants them to feel.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how alan j. pakula's "klute" is known for its unusual use of musical instruments in the non-diegetic music during mysterious parts of the movie.
  • Analyzes how michael small created the eerie soundtrack of "klute", his first hollywood film. he used a chamber orchestra to combine the chilling sounds of the piano, percussion instruments, and female voices.
  • Analyzes how low-key side lighting enhances the creepiness of the soundtrack by allowing the audience to see what he wants them to.
  • Analyzes how the acting combined with the low-key lighting from the hall lights and the fact that it is not evident why her eyes got big add effect to the non-diegetic music.
  • Analyzes how the audience is cued to feel fear after the phone rings. bree closes her eyes for a second, looks to the left, then her mouth slowly opens.
  • Analyzes how the low-key, side lighting from the apartments makes it harder to see the man who is in the left foreground of the shot.
  • Analyzes how the music plays and the lighting is not as low-key as previous examples. bree is trying to persuade klute to sleep with her in exchange for the tapes.
  • Analyzes how the music and low-key lighting reveal the identity of the man behind the tape recorder in the chase scene.
  • Analyzes how the next time the music plays, the identity of the man is not yet revealed, but it is implied that he is watching bree on her roof again.
  • Analyzes how bree and klute hookup after waking up at 58:50 and cueing the music to play again while interviewing people. the lighting is frontal and side, creating a low contrast between light and dark parts.
  • Analyzes how the music plays at 1:06:40 and also has high-key lighting, making cable appear less of a suspect because the shot is not as dark. the director chooses not to show who klute is talking to.
  • Analyzes how the lighting is low-key and comes from the side. the camera shows a long shot of bree talking on the phone.
  • Analyzes how the music follows the pattern of low-key lighting at 1:26:24. the music starts playing when klute tells bree he has to leave her for a couple of hours.
  • Analyzes how the audience is cued to feel fear through the viscerally pleasure at 1:33:30 when there is a medium-long shot of bree walking and the close up of the man's head
  • Analyzes the last time the director teases the audience is when the music plays again at 1:37:36.
  • Analyzes how the director takes away the mystery and reveals who the man is by using low-key lighting in the factory and playing the music at 1:39:33.
  • Analyzes how the last time low-key backlighting is used is at 1:50:36 right after cable turns off the lights, plays the tapes for bree, and attacks her.
  • Analyzes how the use of non-diegetic music alongside low-key lighting cued the audience into feeling the thrill that klute and bree were feeling throughout the investigation.
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