Combustible Celluloid
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With: Terence Stamp, Samantha Eggar, Mona Washbourne, Maurice Dallimore
Written by: Stanley Mann, John Kohn, based on a novel by John Fowles
Directed by: William Wyler
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 119
Date: 05/01/1965

The Collector (1965)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

The Butterfly Suspect

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

After winning his third Best Director Oscar for Ben-Hur, and then in his early 60s, director William Wyler finally seemed to relax a bit as he allowed himself a rare venture into Hitchcock territory: the less respectable suspense genre. Terence Stamp stars as slightly twisted office clerk who hits big in the lottery and retreats to an expensive and remote house. He becomes obsessed with a beautiful art student (Samantha Eggar), kidnaps her and locks her in his basement. Wyler focuses the entire film on just the two characters and their psychological toyings with one another. Sometimes the film's psychology gets a little rote -- Stamp collects butterflies as well as people -- but once again, Wyler's skill with performances makes the film constantly riveting. (Ironically, Wyler earned yet another Best Director Oscar nomination, his twelfth and final overall.) The great Terry Southern reportedly worked on the screenplay, without credit.

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