Directed by: Kurt Neuman
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Runtime: 94 Minutes
There were many Sci-Fi horror films in the 50’s, some mediocre and some quite significant. “The Fly” is a classic of it’s time that today can be quite haunting. Starring Patricia Owens, Vincent Price and David Hedison, “The Fly” is classic horror that has a frightening thought-provoking concept and although it may not scare the wits out of you, it has plenty of nostalgia value and a few classic scares. “The Fly” gives a big message of technology advancement and acts like the film’ philosophy that may make film buffs water at the mouth in fascination.
Helene Delambre (Patricia Owens) is discovered late at night in the factory owned by her husband Andre (David Hedison). Helene stands beside a huge metal press, which has crushed the head and arm of her husband. Held for murder, the near-catatonic Helene refuses to tell anyone--not even Andre's brother Francois (Vincent Price)--why she did it. Francois cannot help but notice that Helene reacts in mortal terror when a tiny flies zips through the room. Nor can he disregard the statement made by Helene's son Philippe (Charles Herbert) that the fly has a curious white head and leg. The film dives in to a flashback scene of the events leading up to the opening scene and explores Andre’s experiments.
The casting was perfect and we see Vincent Price in a non- horrifying role. Price is in the story quite a lot and does not fail to amuse. Patricia Owens took on the role of Andre’s wife like an angel and did a beautiful job. The two as we can see live in a dream reality of happiness, with a beautiful relationship, a son they love and a beautiful home. This gleeful fantasy-reality spirals down the drain during the flashback and gives the film a glorious contrast of love-gone-wrong. The cast is considerably small so it was important every character was ‘A’ character per-se. They all reflected on one another and the cute Herbert was great.
The film has an ideology of technological advancement in the world and has a morel message. It teaches you not to mess with science, and most of all, not to ‘play God’, similar to the nature of “Frankenstein”. This little philosophy is what gives “The Fly” such thought-provoking energy, which has made it stand the test of time. It can be considered quite dated, but I would say it has aged nicely as it gives a perfect feeling of 50’s science fiction-horror nostalgia, reminding you of the monster movies of yesteryear.
I think the biggest complaint people have about the film is how roughly only 45 minutes of the film is in the flashback sequence. I shall not explain the exact order, but I think it was reasonably edited out. The interesting thing about it is it is something that you can watch a second time and see things a little differently, like the opening scene or something in the flashback. Obviously, the idea is absurd and the man-sized fly head looks silly, but it adds to the great nostalgic feeling to the film. Some may not find it scary, but you must admit it looks quite freaky. The unmasking reminds me of “The Phantom of the opera (1925) because of the quick reaction it gives. I feel it is still quite horrific and shocking even today.
“The Fly” went on to have a sequel and a later remake in the 80’s from David Cronenberg. Cronenberg’s version of this tale has more extremity, thrilling and deeper, making it the stronger of the two for sure. However, because of this film’s vintage sets, classic actors and even ending with a traditional happy ending; it has great nostalgia making it a superb piece of Sci-Fi horror and a minor classic.
My Rating: 8/10