Saturday 4 February 2023

Movie Review: The Collector (1965)

Genre: Captivity Drama
Director: William Wyler
Starring: Terence Stamp, Samantha Eggar
Running Time: 119 minutes

Synopsis: In rural England, Freddie (Terence Stamp) is a troubled, awkward, socially immature, and lonely butterfly collector. He uses his lottery winnings to purchase an isolated house, and converts the cellar to a hidden secure living space. Suffering from a severe inferiority complex, Freddie kidnaps art student Miranda (Samantha Eggar) and holds her captive in the cellar. He wants her to fall in love with him, but she just wants to reclaim her freedom.

What Works Well: The adaptation of John Fowles' novel is a brooding two-person, single location drama propelled by creeping dread, an evil-lurks-here tale built around one innocent looking psychopath. The screenplay by Stanley Mann and John Kann approaches Miranda's predicament with meticulous logic, as she tries all the physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual tricks of escape available to a young woman. Each successive failure narrows her optimism window and adds quiet desperation. The elegant cinematography optimizes the sense of space, and director William Wyler extracts memorable performances from Terence Stamp (angular discomfort) and Samantha Eggar (stubborn resilience).

What Does Not Work As Well: The pacing is on the slow side, and the two hours of running time are excessive. Several scenes run too long, and the final act starts to drag without much new to say.

Conclusion: An immersive descent into the clutches of a dangerously polite lunatic.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.


  1. I love this movie. The story on the ending is that the censor fell asleep watching and never went back to look at it, and just approved it.

    Samantha Eggar was my choice for Best Actress for this year, and it wasn't close.

    1. The Collector makes a great companion piece to Psycho, and earns the comparisons.

  2. A fantastic movie love the fact it has no foul language

    1. Yes, this one just simmers with graceful tension.

    2. Loved the thrill of what happens next no awful violence would love to see it again soon


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