Long before more recent serial killer films, such as Kiss the Girls, The Bone Collector, and the series of Hannibal Lecter films, there was The Collector. Originally released in 1965, the film was directed by William Wyler and based on the novel by John Fowles. The film stars Terence Stamp (Freddie) and Samantha Eggar (Miranda). Nominated for three Academy Awards (Best Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay), the film walked away empty handed, though both leads won honors at the Cannes Film Festival and Eggar also won a Golden Globe for her performance.
After winning a large sum of money, Freddie, a London bank clerk and avid butterfly collector, sets in motion his plan to make his dream come true. Obsessed with Miranda, a young art student who caught his eye, he kidnaps and holds her prisoner in an elaborately furnished room in a remote house with the intentions of them getting to know each other and, ultimately, fall in love. Miranda, though, refuses to eat or speak, so Freddie makes a 'deal' – he'll let her go after a month if she cooperates. However, when the month is up, will Freddie make good on his promise or is she merely a specimen to him?
I remember the first time that I saw Terrence Stamp onscreen – as the menacing General Zod in Superman II. Over the years, however, I've seen very little of Stamp's earlier work, as most of it is rather hard to track down at local video stores. So seeing him in The Collector was a real treat, as this was only his third appearance in film. Though the movie does slow down occasionally, it is mostly a taunt two hours, thanks to the excellent performances of the two leads. Stamp runs the gamut of emotions with his character, while Eggar toys with them, always looking for an escape. Unlike many films recently in the same genre, The Collector offers a look inside both the minds of the killer and the victim, seeing how they react to one anothers' attempts to get what they want.
The Collector is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen and is enhanced for widescreen TVs. With the film being almost forty years old, the transfer is better than I expected. Minor print flaws, such as specks and smaller marks appear infrequently. A fair amount of film grain is present, and is occasionally distracting. Scratches and lines are also present, though rare. Colors can sometimes appear muted, though are, for the most part, natural, with accurate flesh tones.
The Collector is presented in Dolby 2.0 Stereo. The track presents the score and dialogue effectively, though is, as one could expect, a somewhat limited aural experience. Dialogue is clean throughout. Optional subtitles are available in English, French, and Spanish.
Trailers for this film, Panic Room, and Enough are included.
Though priced a bit high, The Collector makes for a great rental for anyone interested in suspense/thriller films or fans of the leads. Fans of the film may want to consider a purchase, as though the disc contains few extras, the audiovisual presentation is quite good, considering the film's age.