Veteran Hollywood director William Wyler was scouting locations for The Sound Of Music when a suspenseful script of John Fowles’ macabre bestselling debut novel The Collector came up.
Wyler promptly quit the musical (he could afford to after Ben-Hur) in favour of this insidious two-hander featuring quintessential Sixties stars Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar (in a role originally intended for Natalie Wood) in remarkably restrained performances.
Maladjusted pools winner Freddie Clegg (Stamp) accumulates more than the prized collection of butterflies that fill his study when broadening his collecting by kidnapping a vibrant human specimen.
Inferiority-ridden young bank clerk Freddie (who has with an uncontrollable sex obsession) abducts attractive art student Miranda Grey (Eggar) in London and holds her prisoner in the cellar of his secluded farmhouse.
Clegg declares his love for Miranda and has an uncontrollable desire to force her to reciprocate his feelings – she reluctantly agrees to be a cooperative prisoner for one month after which he promises to release her.
However, on the evening of her liberation, Clegg goes back on his word triggering a chilling finale.
Samantha Eggar’s attempts to escape from the weird surroundings of her captor and her eventual realisation of his mental instability are the basis for the films riveting character study and chilling backdrop.
The film was Oscar-nominated for Best Director, Adapted Screenplay and Actress. Kenneth More was cast as Eggar’s older lover but his role was cut from the final edit.