The Collector
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85 of 92 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2007
One STAR is too many, but there was no goose egg!

I really hate to slam this beautiful movie, but after buying it, I felt betrayed and wanted to try to prevent others from having the same problem.

Wyler's work is always fabulous, which makes it especially hurtful to see his film butchered in this fashion - yes I said BUTCHERED.

I just purchased "The Collector" on DVD (Columbia 07893 - ISBN 0-7678-8288-1) after already owning the same title on LaserDisk.

I have criticisms of both the TRANSFER, and the CONTENT.

Transfer:

IMDB Lists the original film as "Spherical 1.78:1 aspect ratio" - If this is true, then the DVD has been way over-masked because the LaserDisk version has a mask that shows about 30% more picture content on the top and bottom of the field. It appears that the studio simply took a 4:3 version of the film and transferred it to DVD by cutting off the top and bottom to make it 16x9, rather than finding an original widescreen print to transfer. Compare it with anything... even video tape to see what I mean. Horrible. They have a lot of nerve advertising "Preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio" on the DVD package.

The print they started with is not in very good condition. It exhibits signs of sprocket wear (side to side picture shifting) as well as specks of dirt on the film and splice jumps.

In short, the film was given the "quick and dirty" transfer, not the "lovingly carefull" one it deserves.

Content:

As others on this forum have noted, the seduction scene is highly mutilated. Gone is the tender moment of frontal nudity, as well as side angles - thus stripping the scene of it's innocence and impact almost completely. All have been cunningly "panned and scanned" away. The DVD box claims the film is "not rated" - it should really say "Why Bother".

I cannot recommend this version at all, I am sorry to say.
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91 of 99 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2003
"The Collector" falls within the "Psycho" tradition in focusing on the repressed sexual longings of a quietly alienated loner, but it's closer to "Peeping Tom" in portraying the sympathetic side of the killer. This is highlighted, first, by the performances themselves, which are superficially cold but in reality display a great deal of underlying warmth. But it's also underscored by the fact that William Wyler's madman is only an accidental murderer, his intention being only to harbor his object of desire, not murder her (murder, as it happens, being simply the "collateral" result of his own perversity).
"The Collector," in fact, is probably the most humanized portrait of a sociopath ever put on film, and Terence Stamp makes us realize in every scene just how starved for affection he is. Not even "Peeping Tom" rivals it in this respect, since the analytical approach of Michael Powell toward his deranged protagonist, not to mention the peculiar fetishism involved, prevents us from really identifying with him. By contrast, Stamp's character could easily represent any otherwise "normal" human being, who is merely more estranged and sensitive than most.
The DVD transfer of the film is fine, certainly not the best conversion of a sixties film I've seen, but still doing credit to the film. The sound is also superior, and I personally love Maurice Jarre's theme music, particularly the beautifully orchestrated version played during the closing
credits.
One caution, however: this DVD has been edited slightly, and those used to seeing the brief frontal nudity of Ms. Eggar during the "seduction" sequence in the final quarter of the film will search in vain for it here. This seems to have resulted from some absurd prudery on the part of the company, but it also hurts the film, since the nudity, far from being "pornographic," highlights the intimacy of the scene, and, in addition, serves to emphasize Stamp's reaction to Eggar's slow and delicate offering of herself. Just one more example, in other words, of how the bowdlerizing of a film against the director's wishes is always a perilous exercise.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2006
This 40-year-old specimen by legendary director William Wyler will enhance any collection of fine film. You may have trouble recognizing a very young Terence Stamp, whose performance as a painfully shy office clerk who hits the lottery will give you chills. Samantha Eggar, lovely as the focus of his attention, gives a compelling performance and is in many ways the film's centerpiece. Based on the novel by truly gifted author John Fowles, The Collector chronicles a subtle, incremental descent into madness and cruelty with such skill that viewers are engaged throughout, indeed, it is the ability of the film to penetrate the viewer's own psychology that gives it its real power.

Stamp's Freddie Clegg, newly rich, is free to indulge his eccentricities fully, without fear of repercussion. While his passion has always been butterfly collecting, Freddie, socially inept and pathologically lonely, slips into another level; he "collects" Eggar's Miranda Grey and keeps her captive in his remote estate. With pathetic innocence he lavishes care on her, imaging that she will be won over and come to love him in her time. She cringes through this process, and we cringe with her. The entire situation is unbearably creepy, made all the creepier because of the nuance and exceptional acting.

Hoping all the while that Miranda will find salvation, we know in our heart of hearts that such situations rarely end well. Miranda's response to imprisonment evolves, we see her trying new tactics, we root for her. Because we're involved, everything that happens has meaning. This film contains virtually no physical violence, (certainly no hideous language, stacks of corpses, or nail gun brain surgery), indeed, it may be the most sympathetic portrayal of a stalker ever made.

By not reducing Freddie to a symbol, but showing him instead as a person, however disturbed, Fowles and Wyler have given us something much more upsetting - a picture of our own worst self. The hacks that practice the craft of filmmaking today, gleefully spraying blood onto the first 20 rows of theatres nationwide, would do well to watch The Collector. This movie succeeds the old-fashioned way; it earns the undivided attention of its audience.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2007
To flesh out what my title says, this is a good enough movie when taken for its own merits, and perhaps in fairness to consider it for its own merits is all that someone should do, but when it comes to getting the tone of John Fowles' masterful novel, it fails miserably.

I know there are many who will disagree with me but neither Samantha Eggar nor Terence Stamp were right for the roles they played. Eggar comes off as too worldly and seductive (and old) to properly embody Miranda Grey as Fowles wrote her. In the novel Miranda was an innocent and an idealist, though in her ability to draw men she was described by Fowles in terms that reached out to the Jungian concept of the anima, but in this film she is a more aware presence who not only understood her powers of seduction but harnessed them. Likewise Terence Stamp seems all too prepared to be a cold mastermind, whereas Frederick Clegg in the book (the definitive source, let's say) was more or less a misfit who never lost a sense of wonder that his timidly attempted dream plan actually worked in bringing the object of his attraction into his life.

Also in the film the relationship between the pair, Miranda and Freddie (aka Caliban) is far different than the one Fowles clearly described. True Clegg in the movie does promise to show Miranda "every courtesy" a line lifted straight from the text, but he is not the worshipful collector, he is more a cruel overlord whose self-confidence possesses none of the childlike wonder of the real character in the brilliant novel. Clegg in the book comprehends that he is undertaking acts of lawlessness but has no understanding that he is doing acts of egoistic evil; in the film Stamp plays Clegg as someone who understands his own darkness all too well.

Okay, so clearly I love the novel and am not happy with this treatment of it, but I will confess that as far as a films go, this isn't a bad way to invest some time, and it does get the bare bones of Fowles' plot right, so if you are someone who prefers movies over books or if you're likely never going to take a day to let Fowles' masterpiece unwind in your brain, then this film version is a passable surrogate. True, I ripped up on it here, but I do own copies on both DVD and VHS, and have seen it at least five times, so maybe my criticisms are wider than they are deep.

Four stars for the film, about ten stars for the book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2011
I've been a big fan of William Wyler's The Collector since I first saw it on television in the late `70's. Even pot-holed with commercials, John Fowles' tale of the lonely and creepy Freddie Clegg and his victim, Miranda was totally absorbing. The end was a complete surprise and the legend of how film got pass UK's rating's people is almost as interesting as the film itself.

Many people over the years have already covered the range of impressions of the film, the acting, the plot, etc. This review will concern itself with the recently released (late 2011) Blu-Ray version of the film.

First off, the transfer from the 35mm print to Blu-Ray is excellent. The image is a full 1080p along with the original aspect radio of 1:85 - 1. The film's length is the same 119 minutes that's been standard since the original VHS release more than 25 years ago. So fans looking for that elusive Eggar frontal nude shot will not find it on this release either.

What you will find are colors that are in perfect balance and, at the same time, really pop.
Picture details of Clegg's cellar, the grass and bushes outside his home, etc that are amazing. Who knew all these years that Stamp wore different colored BLUE suits? All this new clarity brings to life (art director) John Stoll's and (set director) Frank Tuttle's marvelous work. By the way, don't be discouraged by the close up shots of Eggar and sometimes Stamp that appear slightly out of focus. They were intentionally shot that way (soft focus); an old camera trick that dates back to the `30's.

The voice and soundtrack is mono. Nothing we can do about that. Seems to me the sound's been EQ'd a bit for better fidelity, that's about it. Overall this is, by far, the best version of The Collector you can see. My only wish is that additional extras including interviews with the two leads (or better yet, running commentary) would have made this Blu-Ray absolutely perfect.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2004
'I suppose it was the loneliness and being far away from anything else that made me decide to buy the house. And after I did I told myself I'd never go through with the plan, even though I'd made all the preparations and knew where she was every minute of the day.'

With these opening lines, Freddie Clegg (Terence Stamp) confirms to the viewer that a ride of haunting and psychological suspense is in store for all who attempt to harness a personality so perplexing and multilayered. Clegg possesses a personality that dwells in the valley of sexual repression and delayed maturity, skirting peaks of gauche inferiority to his surrounding peers. His life revolves around the low of his dreary job as a bank clerk to what he considers his supreme hold on life as he knows it -- the collecting of butterflies. He has just won a considerable amount of money on the English football pools and what he intends to do with it is the gist of this tale -- the collection of a human specimen in the form of London art student, Miranda Grey (Samantha Eggar).

Clegg purchases an Elizabethan country estate that holds the prize of ancient cellars that will contain his quarry. Once Miranda has been spirited away in a kidnapping by him, the real story begins. A game of cat and mouse ensues and over the course of the erupting minutes, one is never quite sure what will or will not happen. Will she escape or will evil prevail?

Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar have etched luminous performances under the direction of veteran Hollywood director, William Wyler. Stamp's Clegg is horrifying in an obscene way, for he projects terror as can only be portrayed by one who is truly mad and consorting with harbingers of class distinction as he perceives them to be. He is that most capable of monsters who needs no makeup or agents from the supernatural world to make his mark, but rather the corrupt nature of a beast that blends so well into the woodwork as to be unseen to the naked eye. The precision of each move he makes and the play from his dark eyes as they change, chameleon like, from drone to madman, are a marvelous and terrifying thing to see.

Samantha Eggar is Stamp's perfect foil, the hunted as pursued by the hunter, in a match that will determine her ultimate fate. She is in a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation. She morphs from a carefree, young art student to a woman caught in a web of deceit, sexual outbursts and insanity. She has become the latest 'catch' for Clegg, the crown jewel of his collection. Miranda has only one way out -- to learn to love Clegg by being his 'guest'. Will she? It will become a battle of survival of the fittest.

The Collector is based upon the novel by John Fowles that created such a stir in the early 60's. The book took the form of a diary as written by Miranda after her capture and betrayed all of the emotions, gambits and tragedies that befell the twosome. The screenplay as written by Stanley Mann and John Kohn is quite literate and maintains a steady stream of interest in this royal battle of the sexes. They were both nominated for and Oscar Best Screenplay, along with Wyler for Best Director and Eggar as Best Actress. Wyler is best known as the director of such perennial favourites as Ben Hur, The Best Years of Our Lives and Wuthering Heights.

While the acting takes place on a very limited set for the most part and a feeling of a stage production making itself evident, the story and the acting are the glue that hold the production together. The latter two are superbly realized.

The soundtrack is by veteran composer Maurice Jarre, and while it is effective for the most part, at times it is too much and presents a dilemma. Less can sometimes be more. Jarre seems unsure in his attempts and while a theme runs throughout the film, elements that seem to be presented for effect get in the way. Jarre is capable of much better when presented with a real challenge.

This film is a quiet little gem; that diamond in the rough that is either overlooked or never quite discovered for the wonder that it is. It is a decided change of pace from productions that would have been profoundly filled with blood, gore and special effects to get their point across. What wonders the English language can project when put into capable hands and minds. The Collector is available on video, but may present a challenge to locate. If you are lucky enough to track a version down, you will not be disappointed. The Collector will stay with you long after it has ended and that, for me, is the mark of a truly great film.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2007
"The Collector" (1965) directed by William Wyler and based on the John Fowles' novel is a very impressive, chilling, and disturbing film that tells the story of a shy London bank employee, Freddie Clegg (Terence Stamp in a performance that won him Best Actor Award at Cannes Film Festival), an avid butterfly collector who became obsessed by a young beautiful Art Student, Miranda (Samantha Eggar, also Cannes Film Festival winner and Academy Award nominee) and decided to kidnap her and keep her as a part of his collection in the basement of his secluded house in the country side. What makes the movie truly memorable - is the fact that Freddy is not a predictable villain and the girl is not always sympathetic. The Collector is more than just a thriller in the way it shows the relationship between a prisoner and her jailer. All Freddie wants from Miranda is to get to know him and to love him and he is happy to fulfill her every desire only denying returning her freedom. The most memorable scene in the movie is the dialog between Miranda and Freddy after he had read Miranda's favorite book, "Catcher in the Rye" and they discuss it and the discussion turns into a very heated argument about the social and cultural differences between two completely different worlds they belong and why Freddie's of this world would hardly have a chance with girls like Miranda.

Not widely known, the film is a real treasure and I highly recommend it. My only problem is the musical score by Maurice Jarre - it simply does not work very well in this movie and that surprised me knowing how effective Jarre's score was in "Les Yeux sans visage" (1960) aka "Eyes Without Face".

I was so impressed with the movie that I checked out Fowles' novel (it was his first published book) from the public library and I will read it in the next few days
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Freddy is an invisible man in the sense that nobody ever sees him. In fact, the only time he gets noticed is when he is being made fun of. Freddy gets his enjoyment in life from collecting and studying butterflies, and he must have killed a thousand specimens in this enterprise. His first love is Miranda Grey, a girl he's studied for years, but one who's never seen him despite riding the bus together all through high-school. When Freddy wins a large sum of money in the lottery, he quits his job as a bank clerk and is now able to devote himself full time to collecting; however, what he has in mind is Miranda. If only she could get to know him surely his feelings of love would be reciprocated. And so with careful planning he purchases a remote old house in the country, kidnaps the girl, and sets her up in a locked room completely furnished to her tastes. "They'll come looking for me!" she threatens. "They are," says Freddy, "but no one's looking for me." Freddy's newfound wealth has given him an opportunity to turn adolescent fantasy to reality, and now the beautiful "untouchable" girl of his dreams only has eyes for him. If he gets caught, at least he'll have had that in his miserable existence. What Freddy really hoped to achieve by force, was to get Miranda to love him of her own free will. He fails to see the contradiction. And though Freddy succumbs to the reality that we all want things that we can never have, he knows that if given the power, we all "take what we can get." Based on the Novel "The Collector" by John Fowles.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2006
One of the best psychological thrillers I've ever seen. It is with great subtle mastery Terence Stamp's hero tightens the noose around Miranda's neck, destroying her world slowly by becoming more and more violent as he sees that his idea of making her his toy is failing. I loved the eloquence of the scene where he tears apart the book she loves - "The Catcher in the Rye", and then the picture of Picasso - these are things that she admires and wants to share with him, yet he rejects anything new, unknown, contradicting to his narrow-minded world where he wants total superiority and dominance over his female slave, toy and prisoner.

What makes the film so impressive and terrifying is the absurdity and grotesque of his constant declarations of love and respect for Miranda, while in fact he loves and respects only the doll of his dreams, HIS IDEA OF HER, but not a real woman. Certainly, eventually he gets deceived that instead of a doll, she is a human being with her own personality that he cannot control. So he gets rid of such a bad toy.

He admits it at the end, now looking for someone "ordinary".

I wonder if there is any coincidence that she was giving him this book, as the movie starts with him catching the butterflies in the meadow.

A great horror.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2009
YOU REMEMBER A MOVIE WITH ALL OF ITS NUANCES HOPING THAT SOME DAY TO BE ABLE TO HAVE IT IN YOUR COLLECTION TO WATCH AGAIN. THE MOVIE FINALLY COMES OUT AND YOU FIND THAT SOME CORPORATION HAS BUTCHERED THE FILM THAT YOU REMEMBER. Time and time again this happens to the classic movies that were watched by millions of people. We the public "Who are plunking our hard earned cash to purchase THESE MEMORIES", not only deserve to watch the entire movie that we remember but, maybe with additional features like deleted scenes and comentary but, not with detractions. I don't understand why they do it. Colombia and Sony did it with this film. MGM and others, do it with many other classics that I remember. WHY?? This is a disservice to the art of the movie and to the public that is paying good money for a memory. Only to be ripped off!! I only wish they knew that these efforts to butcher a movie is not appreciated. I feel like they are playing a cruel joke and wish something could be done about it
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