Looking for a man to father a baby, callow children’s author Brenda Thompson (Rita Tushingham) moves to London, where she meets a charming chap (Shane Briant) she thinks is Mr. Right — only to discover that he’s a psychotic serial killer. Will Brenda pay the price for her naïveté? Director Peter Collinson’s suspenseful psychological thriller also stars James Bolam and Katya Wyeth as Brenda’s promiscuous flatmate.
Peter Collinson (1 April 1936 – 16 December 1980) was a British film director probably best known for directing the 1969 movie The Italian Job.
Peter Collinson was born in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire in 1936. His parents, an actress and a musician, separated when he was two years old; he was raised by his grandparents. From ages eight to 14 he attended the Actor’s Orphanage in Chertsey, Surrey where he had the chance to write and act in many plays. Noel Coward, who was president of the orphanage at the time, became his godfather and helped him to obtain jobs in the entertainment industry.
In 1954 he was called up for national service and served two years in Malaya during the Malayan Emergency.
His early television work included time as a floor manager for the BBC and directing for ATV at Elstree studios where he met Michael Klinger who would offer him the director role on his first film, The Penthouse. Collinson also worked with Telefís… read more
Imitating the early style of Nicolas Roeg, Collinson hints at the psychological rifts in both characters through aggressive cross-cutting (creating juxtapositions and associations between scenes) and a jarring, disruptive soundtrack. These techniques all build to that bravura finale, in which a taped confession (presented as a disturbing aural collage) suggests the idea of the film itself as a twisted concoction of its own protagonist's Repulsion-like descent into madness.
Also worth noting how insanely similar to Robert Altman's Images it is, despite it being almost certainly impossible that they could have overlapped. This film was released in July of 1972 while Images premiered a month earlier at Cannes. So it remains an amazing coincidence that both films center on a British children's story author experiencing sexual awakening/strangeness with a domineering male partner.
I love the 70s Hammer stuff because they started letting modernity creep in to tried and true formula. The editing here is really interesting and looks positively Godardian next to anything in their Mummy films, for instance. Collinson had a way with composition and silence that was truly modern. He was really trying something new and the result is something unique in the Hammer catalogue.