Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Alternate Best Actor 1965: Terence Stamp in The Collector

Terence Stamp did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Freddie Clegg in The Collector.

The Collector is a brilliant film about a man who kidnaps a woman and brings her to his secluded and spacious home.

Terence Stamp did not receive an Oscar nomination despite the fact the film did receive a best director nomination as well as a nomination for Samantha Eggar as Miranda Grey the woman whom Stamp's character kidnaps. Stamp though found himself not nominated despite winning Cannes for Best actor. Stamp may have felled victim to the fact that he portrayed a villain although to be fair they were never completely opposed to all kinds of villains, but perhaps this was one of the kinds they did not feel like they could support. Also even though Stamp had been nominated before for Billy Budd he has been nominated in the supporting category for a lead performance, and the academy may have been reluctant to nominate the young Stamp for a leading performance.

Stamp portrays Freddie Clegg a young man who has won a great deal of money suddenly and chooses to use it to buy a secluded estate. He is a lonely man without friends who decided to use his estate that includes a underground living space to kidnap a woman. He decides to kidnap Miranda despite hesitations, but his intents are not the usual for a kidnapper. He has no desires for random, nor does he desire sexual favors, nor does he want to hurt her in anyway, all he wants her for really is company. Freddie is a very different sort of captor to be sure, as the holding her captive is the only thing Freddie does that is wrong. Stamp therefore does not portray Freddie as many may have portrayed him.

Firstly Stamp really never tries to be actively villainous in the role, and early on he tries to be likable. Stamp of course shows absolutely no real charm here, as Freddie has not idea how to be a charming man, but in his first scene with Eggar Stamp actually makes Freddie in a way sympathetic. It is a particularly difficult act of making such a man at all sympathetic but Stamp manages to meet the challenge. Freddie first tells Miranda of his purpose for bringing her to his place, and that he in fact loves her, and has loved her for quite some time. Stamp is amazing here because he shows that this obsession of Freddie's is entirely genuine, and that his claims of no ill will are entirely truthful.

Stamp actually is almost heart breaking in his portrayal of Freddie because he never tries to make him seem at all evil. He makes him a sad lonely person who is not a psychopath but rather he shows that his shyness has created this sort of mental disturbance in him that has brought him to kidnap this woman. Stamp is interesting because even in the presence of her he shows that Freddie's shyness is still overwhelming. His body language is always withdrawn, and he always conveys the difficultly that it takes just for Freddie to look at her in the eye and say something. When he says that he loves her, Stamp creates a struggle within Freddie just to get those words out.

Of course the most important aspect of the film is the relationship between the two and how their dynamic changes through time. While Eggar's Miranda at first shows excitement over Freddie's agreement to let her go after a limited amount of time in captivity, Stamp though portrays Freddie as very much reluctant to really try to connect with Miranda as his shyness really is overwhelming. Stamp shows that he desperately wants Miranda to be the one to connect with him, as he really is unable to connect with him. Stamp in fact makes Freddie so distant that at times he almost seems like a butler to her, even though he happens to be the hone holding her captive.

Now although Stamp does not portray Freddie ever in an obvious fashion, and because of that he is truly chilling when Freddie's refusal to let her leave does come out. There are moments early on in between when he is trying to be the most pleasant man he can be when he does show the mental disturbance of the man that is quite horrifying. Stamp does it so casually that it is especially disconcerting because it will come out right along with just a pleasantry. Stamp in these moments though is precise showing that Freddie has it all extremely well planned out, and as well shows a more frightening side to Freddie because Stamp makes Freddie's self assurance something to be feared.

Although certain in his abilities regarding keeping her in his home, what is equally off putting about him though is the uncertainty he portrays regarding his relationship with Eggar. Stamp is simply amazing in showing the jumble of emotions that Freddie feels in a completely coherent way, as he desperately attempts to connect with but he can't do so with more than words. Even when he asks her to marry her, Stamp portrays it as a desperate plea to find some sort of remedy for his loneliness. Stamp though is incredible because the statement of Freddie he actually ends with is that Freddie does not know what he wants.

In many scenes Miranda tries to persuade Freddie that he could get along with her even outside of this world that he has created for them, but he insists that he would never be able to. It is a sharp desperate self doubt that he holds as a constant, Stamp shows that Freddie himself is pained because he knows that he can never be normal. Freddie contradicts himself, but Stamp makes it work as Freddie never can interact with humans the way he really would like, and one scene in particular Stamp powerfully shows this strange dichotomy.

In one moment after rendering Miranda unconscious Freddie clutches Miranda in a joy of love, which Stamp portrays as Freddie at his happiest finally having what he wants. Soon afterward though Miranda in a desperate act to satiate Freddie offers herself to him. Stamp is chilling as he shows Freddie cruel rejection of her, as her living embrace can never meet the joy he felt in her unconscious one. Stamp is simply stunning in the role because of how perfectly he realizes the insanity behind Freddie's desires. He never has Freddie find what he is looking for leaving him in the state of an uncertain emotional need, but never an understanding. Miranda in the end is apparently not what he wanted after all, and Stamp leaves a exceedingly memorable impression with the simple revelation that Freddie learns nothing at all from his relationship with her. This is a great performance by Stamp as both a humane portrait of a lonely man, but at the same time a convincing portrayal of a man who seems to prefer the dead over the living.


Fritz said...

This was a truly amazing performance!

dshultz said...

Wow. I really must see this then. Still hoping Connery wins.

RatedRStar said...

I loved every minute of the film and of Stamp, even a casual film goer would love it.