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The Collector (1965 film)

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Title: The Collector (1965 film)  
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Subject: 1965 Cannes Film Festival, William Wyler, 38th Academy Awards, Mona Washbourne, Lepidopterist
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The Collector (1965 film)

The Collector
Australian theatrical release poster
Directed by William Wyler
Produced by Jud Kinberg
John Kohn
Written by Stanley Mann
John Kohn
John Fowles (novel)
Starring Terence Stamp
Samantha Eggar
Mona Washbourne
Music by Maurice Jarre
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
June 17, 1965 (1965-06-17)
Running time
119 minutes
Language English
Box office $3,500,000 (rentals)[1]

The Collector is a 1965 American psychological thriller film based on the 1963 novel The Collector by John Fowles and filmed at various locations in England. The film was adapted by Stanley Mann and John Kohn and was directed by William Wyler, who turned down The Sound of Music to do it. It starred Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar.


Frederick Clegg (Terence Stamp) is a lonely, unbalanced young man who stalks, kidnaps, and imprisons a pretty, young art student, Miranda Grey (Samantha Eggar). One day after following her in his van, Frederick kidnaps and chloroforms Miranda, locking her in the windowless stone cellar that he has prepared with a bed, some furnishings, and an electric heater. When Frederick proclaims his love for Miranda, she fakes appendicitis as a ploy to escape, but is caught. Many weeks go by, and Miranda realizes just how unstable Frederick is, and that she will never leave alive. While being taken from the house to the cellar in the rain, she seizes a nearby shovel and strikes Frederick in the head with it. Frederick is wounded, but he manages to pull her back into the cellar, breaking the heater during their struggles. Miranda remains locked in the cold cellar, soaking wet. Frederick returns three days later to find Miranda terribly ill, and he goes into town to get medicine. When Frederick returns, he finds Miranda dead. In a voice over, he says it was Miranda's fault for not trying to get to know him and for losing his respect, and that his only mistake was choosing a woman who was much too clever and of a different social background. The final scene shows Frederick back behind the wheel of his van, stalking a young nurse.




In his autobiography, Stamp confessed surprise as being chosen for the role,) expecting Anthony Perkins or John Hurt to play Clegg. Having been chosen, he assumed (as had most others) Julie Christie — regarded at that time as the best young actress of the era — would be given the role of Miranda, but Wyler chose Eggar because he thought it would introduce the correct air of sexual tension and awkwardness between the two protagonists. Wyler also knew Eggar had turned Stamp down when they both were studying together at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art.

Wyler gave Stamp private instructions to stay in character and give Eggar the cold shoulder during the filming. This created tension on the set between the two actors, and Eggar confirms it.[2]


The screenplay was written by Stanley Mann and John Kohn, based on the novel by John Fowles. However Terry Southern did an uncredited script revision for Wyler after the producers became unhappy with the book's original darker ending; they wanted Miranda to escape. Southern's "happier" ending was rejected by Wyler.


The opening kidnap scenes were shot in Mount Vernon, Hampstead, London. The film's ending was filmed in Forest Row, East Sussex.


The original cut of The Collector ran for three hours.[3] Because of pressure from his producers, Wyler was forced to cut the film heavily. This resulted in the complete removal of 35 minutes of prologue material starring Kenneth More. Wyler said: "Some of the finest footage I ever shot wound up on the cutting room floor, including Kenneth's part." [4]


The film was nominated at 38th Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Director, and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.

Stamp won the Best Actor Award and Eggar won the Best Actress Award at the 1965 Cannes Film Festival.[5]


  1. ^ This figure consists of anticipated rentals accruing distributors in North America. See "Top Grossers of 1965", Variety, 5 January 1966 p 36
  2. ^ ;
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^

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