Movie Review: The Collector (1965)

Starring: Terence Stamp, Samantha Eggar and Mona Washbourne

Directed by: William Wyler

Freddie is a socially withdrawn bank clerk who has an obsession for art student Miranda. He wants her to love him the way he loves her so he decides to kidnap her and hold her prisoner in his cellar until she does.

Last month I had a great deal of success watching movies that were pre-2000 as the majority that I watched were top drawer. Once again this movie was in my recommended for me list on Netflix so I thought why not and hoped that it continued the trend of older movies coming up trumps.

Terence Stamp stars as Freddie, a bank clerk and butterfly collector who is infatuated with art student Miranda, played by Samantha Eggar. Upon stalking her one day through the streets of London he waits until the right opportunity presents itself to use chloroform on Miranda as he stuffs her in the back of his van. He takes her to his remote home outside of the city where she is made to live in his cellar and his purpose is for Miranda to love him as he loves her. He doesn’t see the flaw in his plan that holding Miranda prisoner is not the way to win her heart and he is determined to see the course through.

Terence Stamp does brilliantly as he portrays a socially inept loner who struggles to communicate with others. He plays the role so chillingly as he’s a man who is desperate to feel loved by Miranda and will ruthlessly allow nothing to deter him from accomplishing his end goal. I felt Samantha Eggar’s performance was extremely indifferent. For the first half of the movie I really thought her acting was poor and I didn’t enjoy watching her but as the movie progressed her performance got increasingly better. The terror of her situation began to eek into her voice a lot more during the latter stages of the film and her expressions felt a lot more genuine.

For a movie that pretty much consisted of just 2 actors playing their roles in mostly one location, Freddie’s cellar, the movie was surprisingly engaging and the pace of the movie flowed smoothly and naturally, nothing really felt forced or rushed. A key part to nearly all older horror/thrillers is their use of sound and The Collector really took advantage of this as the effect of its music only heightened the intensity and amped up the fear that Miranda was feeling. This movie was released at a time where the brutal reality of serial killers and abductions weren’t really known to the world which makes this movie all the more frightening as it was something that wasn’t considered a possibility back then and people weren’t desensitised to it whereas now, we see things like this in the news a little too regularly and it doesn’t really shock me anymore as I’m aware that the world is a horrible place full of atrocities.

In conclusion, this movie was a solid watch and is worth watching just for Terence Stamp’s performance alone. With a flowing story and chilling subject matter it’s a shame that The Collector isn’t more well known.


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