Social misfit and butterfly collector Freddie Clegg (Terence Stamp) prowls the streets of London in his Ford Thames 400E van stalking his childhood fascination, the beautiful art student Miranda Grey (Samantha Eggar). With his trusty bottle of chloroform to hand, he hopes that after keeping her hostage she will grow to love him.
Freddie’s inner monologue – “I knew where she was every minute of the day!”
Freddie looks and waddles around in much the same way as the Penguin in the series Gotham. He’s a former picked on bank clerk who came into some big money but unfortunately has way too much time on his hands.
Miranda is a feisty young lass who gives a good fight in her unfortunate predicament locked away in an ancient windowless stone basement. Trying to play him and find a weaknesses in the unbalanced loners psyche.
It’s a dark premise that the two young leads both give tremendous performances. Two hours might be a tad too long for some with the slow pace but I thoroughly enjoyed watching the story unfold. Read there was actually a 3 hour cut which director William Wyler wasn’t at all happy with chopping right back, completely removing a role by Kenneth More.
William Wyler the director of mega classic Ben Hur apparently turned down making The Sound Of Music for this project. The Collector might be small in comparison to that giant successful film but it did win a host of awards with Oscars Nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Director and Best Writing and Screenplay by Stanley Mann and John Kohn. Plus Samantha Eggar won Best Actress Golden Globe and at the Cannes Film Festival where Terence Stamp joined her, adding Best Actor.
Fun Fact 1 – William Wyler is said to have asked Terence Stamp to ignore Samantha Eggar, giving her the cold shoulder off the set as much as possible without her knowing to add to the tension between the two actors.
Fun Fact 2 – British punk mod band The Jam released a single called The Butterfly Collector with it’s title being said to have been inspired by the film! It features on the B-side to Strange Town
Further Reading Links