Reviewed by: Brett Willis
|Featuring:||David Hedison, Patricia Owens, Vincent Price, Herbert Marshall|
Movies in this series: “The Return of the Fly” (1959), “The Curse of the Fly” (1965) | Remake: “The Fly” (1986) | Sequel of Remake (or is it Remake of Sequel?): “The Fly II” (1989)
Hundreds of Sci-fi film monsters from the ’50s until now have been products of (and thereby played on our fears of) science-run-amok: nuclear testing, transplants etc. The monster in this, one of the most enduring films of its type, is based on an unusual premise-a failed experiment in teleportation (matter transmission).
Helene Delambre (Patricia Owens) has killed her husband Andre (Al Hedison, known later in his career as David Hedison) by crushing his head and arm in a 50-ton press. Andre’s brother Francois (horror specialist Vincent Price) and a police inspector fail to get any explanation from Helene—until Francois lies to her, telling her that he’s caught the “special fly” with a white head and arm. At that point she breaks down and tells the whole story (shown in flashback).
The only offensive elements are the mild horror/violence and the ethical questions raised by the possibility of a partial body exchange between two beings-meaningless questions (at least in this context), because teleportation technology is imaginary. Andre, supposedly a top scientist, engages in some sloppy research technique: as soon as a mirror-image reversal problem with teleporting inanimate objects has been solved, he scoops up his son’s pet cat and uses her as his first living test subject (with disastrous results); later, having promised his wife that he’ll do no more animal experiments for the time being, he teleports himself instead! Andre pays lip service to God having given him and other scientists the ability to discover nature’s wonders; later, there’s a good deal of praying for God’s help to undo what’s been done.
This film is definitely not for young children. But although the original “Fly” series was considered big-budget and strong medicine in its day, it’s tame compared to the special-effects-laden remakes.