Friday, June 5, 2015

The Fly (1958)

This is one of those movies that I’d heard about back when I was a kid. But I had never seen the 1950s version. Yeah I’d seen the 80s version when I was in junior high and was promptly traumatized. So maybe that viewing kept me from seeking out the original (kinda like what happened during the Trauma of the Planet of the Apes incident). But I finally got brave and decided to watch it. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Vincent Price wasn’t the mad scientist in this one.

Andre Delambre (David Hedison) is a driven scientist who dreams of achieving something truly groundbreaking for all humanity. His wife Helene (Patricia Owens) supports his efforts, but is sad that it comes at the expense of spending time with her or their son Philippe (Charles Herbert). She often confides with Francois (Vincent Price), Andre’s brother, who is still carrying a torch for her.

Andre eventually creates a working prototype for a device that can transport matter from one location to another instantly. It works fine with inanimate objects, but he runs into some difficulties when he tests it on living creatures. Eventually he perfects the experiment and tests it on himself… yeah, it doesn’t go well. Helene is now faced with a disturbing revelation that her husband may not be the man he used to be. You could blame the failure on Andre, or the bossa nova, but I think we all know it was the fault of The Fly.

Good Points:
  • The film works as a mystery suspense film building up to the horror of Andre’s revelation
  • Patricia Owens does a very good job in the main role
  • There is something just plain disturbing about that scene with the web

Bad Points:
  • Those looking for a horror film will be disappointed
  • Those looking for Price in his usual wicked self will be disappointed
  • The impact of the costume at the end my not work for modern viewers

My expectations were just completely wrong with this one. I always assumed it was a horror movie focusing on the mad scientist. Instead it is a suspenseful mystery focusing on Helene and her actions to help her husband. It makes for an interesting film (even though I knew how the whole thing ended). Solid acting and a nice build up made this an entertaining watch.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals: 3
Sound: 3
Acting: 4
Script: 4
Music: 3
Direction: 3
Entertainment: 3
Total:  3

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.


  1. I enjoyed this movie as a kid and can re-watch it pleasure today. For all the more graphic gloop and fx of the remake, I'm fonder of the original. The murder investigation was a good way to kick off and resolve the story. The Return of the Fly is OK too, but suffers the usual sequel-itis.

    1. Yeah, I was surprised how well much of a mystery film this turned out to be. I really liked that aspect of it. Especially how it starts with the security guard inspecting the strange sounds in the machine room.

  2. Yeah, I agree, I probably favor the original as well. Cronenberg's version may be more popular today, I don't know, but certainly went overboard with the gore. Both versions have different takes of the story. The original Blob and the 80's Blob are similar with that regard too. Both are worth seeing, but I favor the original.

    1. Well Cronenberg is Cronenberg, and especially in that era, he loved his body horror with an extra helping of gore and goo. I really dig the Cronenberg film. And I think he did a smart thing in not simply regurgitating the original story, but going in his own direction with it. It keeps both films on equal territory in my opinion. I wish more remakes were approached in this manner (I'm looking at you remake of "Poltergeist"!)