Terrence Stamp portrays a shy, socially outcast butterfly collector secretly obsessed with pretty art student Miranda Grey (Samantha Eggar.) Winning a fortune has freed him to leave his job at the bank and buy an isolated rural house with a secret cellar room. On a quiet London street, he ambushes Miranda with a chloroform-soaked cloth and drives away with her in his van. She awakes alone in his soundproof cellar, surrounded by such niceties as new clothes, furniture, and art books. When he enters and shows no inclination to harm her, her fear gives way to outrage. She demands explanation. He tells her that this is now her room. She demands release. He refuses. She bolts for the door. He blocks it. Is it ransome he wants? No. Sex? Oh no, he respects her too much for that. What, then? He loves her. He just wants her to get to know and love him.
Click here to see the rest of this review
Their psychological duelling escalates. In return for certain considerations - art supplies, fresh produce, baths, etc. - she agrees to stay for four weeks, until June 11; and he promises to refrain from undue force. As she marks off the days, she attempts various escapes - flooding his upstairs bath when a neighbor pops in, sneaking a note into the letter he dictates for her mother - but his vigilance prevails. Her mental trickeries - promises of friendship and secrecy, marriage consent, seduction - are thwarted by his mistrust and his disgust at sexual cheapness. Her revulsed response to his cherished butterfly collection and the deaths it has necessitated, and his failure to understand what she sees in the works of Picasso and J.D. Salinger, just deepen his conviction that keeping her here is the only way to keep her at all, since she and her intellectual London friends would otherwise surely reject him. Her release date arrives, but she is not released.
Driven to desperation, she resorts to violence. As he escorts her in the rain from the main house back to her cellar prison, she drops some cosmetic items, and, as he bends to retrieve them, whacks his head with a shovel. Horrified at his blood and pain, she runs; but she slips on the wet grass and loses in her struggle with him. He locks her away as intended, drives himself to a hospital, and is gone for three days. When he returns, she cries with relief. Despite his fury, he still loves her. But the end of his original plan is near.
The review of this Movie prepared by vjm