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The Collector (1965)

Unrated | | Drama, Thriller | 17 June 1965 (USA)
A man kidnaps a woman and holds her hostage just for the pleasure of having her there.



(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Mona Washbourne ...
Aunt Annie
Maurice Dallimore ...
The Neighbor


Freddie, a socially withdrawn bank clerk and butterfly collector, decides to expand to collecting human specimens. That's where art student Miranda Grey comes in. Miranda matches wits with Freddie the icy psychopath. Written by A.M.Putnam

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


You won't dare open your mouth, but you'll be screaming for her to escape! See more »


Drama | Thriller


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

17 June 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El coleccionista  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


(flashback sequence)| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


According to John Fowles, the original cut of The Collector ran more than 3 hours. See more »


By the fireplace, Freddie's shirt changes from unbuttoned to buttoned awfully fast. See more »


Freddie Clegg: There'd be a blooming lot more of this sort of thing, if more people had the time and the money.
See more »


Referenced in Serial Mom (1994) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Good but Is Never Truly Gripping or Compelling
31 March 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Director William Wyler's adaptation of a novel by John Fowles concerning a disturbed young man's obsession with a beautiful woman who he eventually kidnaps and places in a basement room. The film is solidly made and acted and while it is interesting to watch, it is never gripping or compelling. It doesn't have any of the sordid messiness that the material requires and would have given it the edge it needs. Wyler's solid direction is at odds with the material. It's too neat and tidy. Samantha Eggar is a standout despite the fact that the ending feels like a cop out.

I was interested in seeing "The Collector" only because it was directed by William Wyler who was one of the top directors in Hollywood from the 1930's through the 1950s. "The Collector" is fascinating because the story itself is a bit perverted and falls into the realm of Hitchcock, not Wyler (I kept thinking about Hitchcock's "Psycho" throughout). Why would Wyler, a solid veteran of Hollywood Movie Workhorses, be drawn to a dark film about an egotistical "head-case" who collects butterflies and decides that he wants to collect a beautiful woman he has long admired and keep her to himself? I have not found anything about his reasons but his involvement makes "The Collector" worth a look. Certainly, nothing about the story makes it worthy. What might have seemed daring and cutting edge back in 1965 now seems tame and has been done numerous times and better (the film is like "Misery" with the gender roles reversed). Nothing about what happens between the beautiful Miranda (a painfully beautiful and likable Samantha Eggar) and creepy Freddy (Terence Stamp) is really unique or even very interesting. But "The Collector" does hold your interest. The movie's opening moments are confusing. Wyler's attempts to establish Freddie as a character does not work completely enough to substantiate the act of kidnapping. Once Freddie has kidnapped Miranda and places her in a dungeon like setting, "The Collector" starts to come together. It becomes a character study of a demented, delusional loser who still pines for love and his prisoner's attempt to some how get out of the situation alive. In the scenes between Miranda and Freddie, Wyler's strength shines and Eggar is particularly good. She's lovely to look at and you can certainly understand why Freddie is attracted to her. Eggar's eyes show us how she is trying to assess the situation for an escape while Freddie keeps changing his methods and reasons for holding her captive. Without Eggar or a comparable actress, "The Collector" wouldn't work at all. It is too bad that what limited success the film does achieve falls squarely on Eggar's shoulders because Terence Stamp's Freddie is the reason the film fails to compel. It's not necessarily Stamp's fault. He is a great actor and though he is playing a stiff (or a demented dork), Stamp is never stiff or dull. "The Collector" simply does not establish how we are meant to feel toward Freddie until the very end when a piece of throwaway narration finally lets us know that he is psychotic (probably a sociopath). I doubt the intention by Wyler's was to create this ambiguity. If the film had made Freddie's character clear, then we would feel more peril for Miranda and her situation. As it plays out, we are confused by him and never really know if he is dangerous or just a bit of a lonely nut looking for love. This confusion elicited some seemingly contradictory and expected reactions. Take for example the scene where Miranda is tied up in the bathroom while the neighbor visits Freddie. When Miranda turns the bathtub water on so it overflows I found myself actually not wanting the neighbor to notice. I was actually on Freddie's side for some reason. If Hitchcock had made "The Collector" then I could see him doing something like this. He's the type of director who would have loved to have the audience side with the psycho but he would have made Miranda somehow unlikeable. In Wyler's film, he has not convinced us of Stamp's true nature (the upbeat, chirpy music that underscores many of Stamp's scenes certainly does not help). Therefore, the film feels uncertain and unfocused and it kills any tension.

In the end, it comes down to the direction. As good as Wyler is, material like this is not something that is within his expertise. Perhaps he was, in his late career, trying to do something new. Having been a long time film maker, he might have sensed the changing times and tried to stay relevant. It's a worthy effort. "The Collector" required a director with a vision to create a sense of constant menace. The material should not have been smartened up the way Wyler does it but played for it's pulpy, scary aspects. Hitchcock could have done it. Certainly Polanski could have too and his "Rosemary's Baby" just three years later managed to be lot of what "The Collector" could have been.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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