William Wyler's "The Collector"|
POSTED BY VINNIE BLESI, April 12, 2011 Share
In 1965, Academy award winning William Wyler decided to direct "The Collector". Based at the time on the popular book by John Fowles. With a brilliant script he crafted a directorial masterpiece, with brilliant performances by Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar.
Wyler was a hollywood heavyweight, directing such famous films as, "Ben-Hur" and "Roman Holiday". According to internet sources he turned down directing "The Sound of Music" to make "The Collector".
"The Collector" is a film that could not be remade today. It is one of the top voyeur films made in the 60's. It is a riveting psychological drama that if made today would probably be graphic sex and torture. "The Collector" is the exact opposite of graphic violence as it pits the mental games of captor and victim against one another.
Terence Stamp plays a butterfly collector who wins the lottery and buys a old isolated English estate, complete with cellar that has beautiful Victorian columns. The cellar will become the prison of the latest addition to his collection, the young innocent Samantha Eggar.
Director Wyler wastes little time going in any backstory, as he establishes the characters through the script and scenes with Stamp and Eggar.
Stamp, creepily observes Eggar in his minivan, until he abducts her using chloroform. Eggar is an art student and it is inferred later in the script that Stamp has been watching her previously and has felt inferior to her and her intellectual friends, as played out in the movie in a scene about "The Catcher in the Rye".
Both Stamp's portrayal of Freddie Clegg and Eggar's portrayal of Miranda Grey are multi-dimensional and keeps the viewer guessing which way the plot will turn.
Stamp's character at times is sympathetic, even naive and likable. However, when confronted with either mistrust or his intimacy problems his demeanor quickly changes to that of the psychotic individual that ultimately resides inside this "collector".
Eggar's character as the victim also vacillates between her initial horror, to what is either submission or a trick to gain Stamp's trust. We are never really sure of her true intentions.
This subdued British production is a perfect example of a great director's vision, a great script and two wonderful performances by Stamp and Eggar. This simple formula adds up to a wonderful watch on the old telly.
"Death By Culture" is ©2011 by Vinnie Blesi. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova.
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