Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Collector (1965)


Running Time: 119 minutes
Directed By: William Wyler
Written By: John Kohn, Stanley Mann, Terry Southern, from novel by John Fowles
Main Cast: Terence Stamp, Samantha Eggar
Click here to view the trailer

FRIGHTFEST 2013: NIGHT THREE

It was an anonymous poster who came to the blog and said "I recommend William Wyler's The Collector for Frightfest" and it was faithful Ray who seconded the nomination. While I wouldn't go so far as to call "The Collector" an out and out horror movie, I am grateful for their insistence that I watch it!


The film has two stars and really only three (including the neighbor) notable cast members, with everyone else playing the role of extra or glorified extra (that is, extra with a line or two). The film's main is Frederick Clegg (Stamp), an amateur entomologist, professional bank teller and socially awkward misfit, whom, upon the film's opening, is purchasing a house in a secluded area. If you're wondering where Freddie has gotten the money to purchase this house, he's apparently just won a lottery - something called "football pools", which is apparently exclusive to England, where the film is set. The winnings also give Freddie the means to carry out his master plan: kidnapping a girl. He selects a very specific girl, Miranda (Eggar), a girl that he used to ride the bus with at school and one who never gave him the time of day. He stalks her in his van and when the time is right, uses a chloroform soaked rag to render her unconscious, taking her back to his new house, which incidentally is equipped with a sound proof cellar. Arriving back at his place, we learn that he's gone to a lot of trouble, tidying up the cellar and making it look like a small apartment, complete with a whole new wardrobe of clothes, that he hopes will fit her. He tells her that he loves her, that he's always loved her and that his hopes in kidnapping her being that she will fall in love with him. He makes a deal with her: If she doesn't try to escape, if she talks to him (actually converses with him) and if she promises to eat the meals he brings her, he'll let her go in four weeks. The film is filled with suspenseful climax cues and some great back & forth between the prisoner and her captor.

SPOILER ALERT!


This film just goes to show you that there are thousands of cinematic gems out there, just waiting to be consumed by the movie lover. I hadn't even heard of this picture before it was suggested to me by the anonymous poster, but now I've heard of it and loved it! So I guess a hearty "thank you" to the poster that suggested the film is in order: Thank you!

Everything was just perfect, from beginning to end, they never took a misstep that I disapproved of and even the ending was just perfect. Let's face it, there were several choices on how to end this movie. 1) You have the girl escape to the authorities, report Clegg, thus seeing him arrested. I kind of thought this was where they were headed, as there was some minimal narration that came at the beginning and end and I kind of thought we were listening to Clegg's story from his padded cell. 2) Have the girl actually fall in love with him. Again, this is something I thought they were heading for and am so glad they didn't do. How awful would that have been? I guess those were really the only two foreseeable options, as the third would be having the girl die and having Clegg succeed, which is what happened. However, the way it all went down was just perfect. You couldn't have Clegg just kill Miranda, because he loved her. So she's killed when she's left to starve and freeze in the cellar, while Clegg is at the hospital, getting treated for a wound she inflicts on him. And then the cherry on top, having the film's ultimate end be Clegg stalking another girl, preparing to go through the cycle all over again.


Here's the question though: Whose side are we supposed to be on? Am I the only one who found myself urging the nosy neighbor to JUST LEAVE, before the water came rushing down the stairs - the water that Miranda had forced on with her big toe, hoping to draw the attention of whomever came to visit Clegg? I certainly wasn't urging the neighbor to JUST STAY A LITTLE LONGER, while the water made it's way to his line of vision. I think it was a movie where I didn't care so much about the outcomes of the characters, as much as I just wanted to see all of the pieces fit together to make for a really good movie. As long as Miranda is tied up and helpless, this movie continues and I get to bask in it for a little while longer, to see a few more suspenseful pieces and to see a little more brilliance from Terence Stamp. I have to say, speaking of Stamp, I loved the casting choices and the fact that there were really only two cast members. I'm a sucker for a film that could easily be a stage play, though, ironically, I've never seen a live stage play. One last thought and if this thought is a popular one, I promise I've seen it nowhere: Is there some sort of connection between this movie and "The Silence of the Lambs"? I'm talking about the butterfly/moth stuff, not just the obvious "guy holds a girl captive" thing. The butterfly thing in both films, as well as the obvious parallels between the plot lines just seemed odd to me, that's all. Anyway, damn fine film!

RATING: 8.5/10  I can't go whole hog and I really don't know why. I think it's like that first date with a girl you really like and you really don't want to end up in bed at the end of the night, because you don't want to rush things and end up screwing something up. Doesn't matter though, great movie - end of story.

October 27, 2013  8:00pm

18 comments:

  1. This is so weird I actually just finished reading this book a couple of days ago. From your description it seems like a pretty faithful adaptation. You seem to be interested in a lot of the questions the story poses so I would highly recommend the novel. Great review, as always.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks Amanda! I'm not much of a reader, but if I ever get the urge, I'll certainly remember your recommendation. I'd highly recommend this movie. Stamp is brilliant!

      Delete
  2. OK, firstly.. Phewww.. So relieved you liked it after the two of us conducted a persuasion campaign on you. I was really concerned you may not like it... thank you for trusting us and giving it a try.

    As i said before, until the other un-named person suggested it, I didn't think of this as a horror film.. more a thriller.
    But when he did suggest it, and i thought about it... When you get to the end (SPOILER ALERT) and see the Clegg hasn't learnt.. and he going to do it all again (and maybe again and again).. that is horror.
    And.. perhaps... the creepy realisation that you do , despite everything, find yourself in some sort of sympathy with Clegg. That is perhaps even more scary...

    I have also read the book..although It's been a while for both reading and viewing), they are pretty similar.. although I sort of remember a slightly differing ending. And yes, as Amanda says, raises all sorts of questions,

    FYI.. if you are interested... The Football pools.
    Not as big as they were when the book/film were made, as we now have a National lottery.. but in the 60's they were huge amoungst working class people hoping to win big time. Not quite a lottery, as it could be seen as a skill.. Each week you filled out a complicated grid showing all major football matches that Saturday, and you had to predict, not the detailed result, but score draw, non score draw, win etc.. A 'pools agent' would call round at your house to collect the money and sheet. Compared to national lottery, the prizes were modest, but in those days, several thousands of pounds would transform a life.
    Ray

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I did love this one Ray. It was one I really wish they'd have included in THE BOOK. Thanks for the well detailed description of the football pools, quite interesting.

      Delete
    2. Hi again Ray!
      Yeah, the point when you realize that he will do it again and probably get away with it definitely counts as horror. Andrew, I want to poach your frequent commentator; he has such good insights (although your blog is undoubtedly more perceptive than mine).

      Delete
    3. Oh but you have such a fantastic blog Amanda, never rambling like I do. Ray, if you can conjure up a few extra moments, I'd highly recommend Amanda's blog, it's well worth your time:

      http://1001filmsyoumustsee.blogspot.com/

      Delete
    4. AAwwww, Amanda, thank you! I do read your blog, but was not sure if reply comments were welcome or not. I did try a couple of times, but I think at least once it just didn't go, and another time I think it just vanished into the ether and was not sure if it got there at all.
      Anyway, I just hit 'reply' to your 'Mepris/Contempt' entry - I didn't say much in case that didn't work either. Lets see if it works.
      Ray

      Delete
    5. Thank you so much Andrew. Your shout out made my day. And I am sorry I am taking up so space in your comment section! Ray, that sucks that you are having trouble. My comment section is the same format at Andrew's so I am assuming it is just something stupid with my blog and not user error. Disappointing and I will try to fix it. Sorry!

      Delete
    6. All right, I think I fixed it. Sorry again Andrew; I feel tacky writing about my blog on your comment section.

      Delete
    7. Oh, please don't apologize. I don't mind a bit...

      Delete
    8. .. and apologies from me to..

      If Amanda and i chat to each other like this, 'The Collector' will start to look like a popular post.

      Hi Amanda.. Oh, I'm sure it's me. It took me ages to work out how to reply to Andrew's blog, and several frustrating lost ones. I will see what i can do next time.
      Ray
      Hello Andrew.. I think we feel like two people at a dinner, talking across you! Sorry, neither of want to be rude!
      R

      Delete
    9. You are both so polite. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves, while I have at this chicken leg....

      Delete
  3. glad you liked it. I'm sure the writer of Silence saw this film, its too much of a coincidence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Yes, the writer of "Silence" must've been influenced, at least a little bit.

      Delete
    2. I'm missing something here.. Please, what is 'Silence'?
      A recent film I've not heard about? A US TV series?
      Ray

      Delete
    3. I was referring to "The Silence of the Lambs" with Anthony Hopkins and the similarities between the butterflies in "The Collector" and the moths in that movie...I found it odd that they both had this, as well as the similarity of men kidnapping young women.

      Delete
  4. Hi Amanda..

    (Passing Andrew another chicken leg)

    After a great deal of frustration, lost/vanished comments & messages, I believe I hve signed up to be an official follower on yours, and we can leave Andrew in peace.
    If when you check, there is not a neat little collection of posts in your comments, let me know please.
    (Are you sure you want my comments- i'm afraid I do very much like Ingmar Bergman?)
    Ray

    Hello Andrew,, will you now rejoin me in a nice desert please.. Would you like to pass me that delicious looking slice of Woody Allen cake and may I pour you a small glass of this very fine vintage Hitchcock.
    Ray

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha Amanda, you've got a great commenter on your hands, I wish you two the best and may you agree more than you disagree.

      Although, even when Ray disagrees, he's a gentleman about it.

      Delete

SINS OF OMISSION - Entry #65: Les nuits de la pleine lune/Full Moon in Paris (1984)

Running Time: 100 minutes Directed By: Eric Rohmer Written By: Eric Rohmer Main Cast: Pascale Ogier, Tcheky Karyo, Fabrice Luchini,...