Violation: The Movie, “The Collector”

Cover of "The Collector"

Cover of The Collector

I stopped reading John Fowles’s absorbing novel, The Collector, once it seemed to be getting philosophically dark; my own philosophy of life is not dark.

The book’s plot concerns an English art student, female, who is held prisoner by an unstable English bank clerk who claims to love her.  Released in 1965 was a William Wyler film version—an intelligent quasi-Hitchcock version starring Terence Stamp as the bank clerk (and collector of dead butterflies) and Samantha Eggar as the student.

As usual, Wyler knew how to direct the film—notwithstanding there is too much of Maurice Jarre‘s music on the soundtrack—and the Stanley Mann-John Kohn screenplay, though dark, is without philosophical despair.  It never reaches a philosophical plateau; but, yes, it is dark.  As John Simon informed us, evil here prospers in the end.  Certain people in society have an appetite for violation.  Those on whom the appetite is turned may not survive.

Stamp and Eggar are just about the only actors in The Collector, and what a job they do!  Eggar, incidentally, later commented that Stamp had a “nasty attitude” toward her.  If this is true, I’m sorry Stamp didn’t believe in gallantry.  Up to a point, the disturbed guy he’s playing does.

Goin’ “Rogue One”

There is stale armed rebellion stuff (the rebellion is justified) in the recent Star Wars pic, Rogue One (2016), but the film is typically pleasantly energetic and photographically flawless, with smart lighting, etc.

To my mind, its jabba-the-hutt creepies do not make Rogue One rich enough.  Felicity Jones, however, provides femininity and okay acting as Jyn Erso, a survivor-warrior; and there’s an enjoyable robot, or droid.

Directed by Gareth Edwards.

 

 

Wyler Presents Rice: “Counsellor at Law”

Cover of "Counsellor-at-Law"

Cover of Counsellor-at-Law

I don’t quite understand what the film Counsellor at Law (1933), derived from a play by Elmer Rice, is about, but it certainly holds the viewer.  This is thanks mostly to director William Wyler and his actors.

John Barrymore carries the film beautifully, with force and despair, and the women here are nigh enthralling.  A successful New York lawyer (Barrymore) becomes imperiled in more ways than one as Wyler’s camera captures the unceasing contacts and interaction in this particular law firm.  Regarding his direction, Wyler said, “No critic ever wrote that [the movie] was just a photographed stage play.”  No, indeed.  The play has been thoroughly cinematized.  Indeed, Wyler’s directing is so astute and sensitive we can forgive the film’s irritatingly pat conclusion.

 

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