Citizen Jane

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

There is no doubt that the film historians of the next century will be compelled to devote considerable space to the life and work of Jane Seymour Fonda. In dramatic roles of tremendous power in films such as THEY SHOOT HORSES DON’T THEY?, KLUTE, and ON GOLDEN POND, Fonda demonstrated she was indeed her father’s daughter. Indeed, Henry Fonda looms large on every page of this candid appraisal of one woman’s life. He is the unseen presence whose impact on Jane Fonda’s life remains a dominant influence. Obviously Christopher Andersen adheres to the maxim that “a son is a son until he takes a wife, but a daughter is a daughter for all of her life.”

This is perhaps the greatest flaw in this otherwise rather exhaustive PEOPLE-style appraisal. Andersen seems determined to explain every major action in Fonda’s life as a reaction to her father or as a reenactment of her role as his daughter. A certain amount of originality, however, must be acknowledged in every human existence. Henry Fonda cannot be held accountable for “Lady” Jane any more that he can be for “Hanoi” Jane.

CITIZEN JANE is an unauthorized biography--which is not surprising, given the sometimes lurid life-style of its subject. Unfortunately, the manifest lack of cooperation by Fonda or her family in the production of this work results in a recital which owes more to the NATIONAL ENQUIRER than the DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. On the other hand, perhaps the publication of this provocative piece will spur Fonda to prepare her side of the story for an early release.