After her husband Andre Delambre is crushed to death in a mechanical press, his wife recounts to his brother Francois Delambre and police Inspector Charas the events of the previous few months. They were very much in love and with their little boy, a very happy family. Andre was experimenting with teleportation - transporting objects from one point to another by breaking the object down to the atomic level and then reassembling it in a receiver a distance away. The system had some glitches - it seemed to work with inanimate object but his cat disappeared when he tried teleporting it. He thinks he's solved all of the problems with his invention and decides to try and teleport himself. When a fly enters the teleportation device with him, disaster strikes. Written by
The teleportation that causes Andre and the fly to switch atoms is never seen. See more »
When Philippe shows Vincent Price the web where the Fly is trapped, he clearly points to a small white object on one side of the web, which is supposed to represent the Fly; while on the opposite side of the web is a large, brown toy spider. In the very next shot -a reverse angle close-up- The hand-puppet spider is almost literally on top of the Fly. See more »
No need to recap the plot. As I recall, this sci-fi epic played at our uptown theater, where prestige pictures normally played. Usually, we teenagers had to go to a drive-in to catch these 50's monster movies. But this one was produced by big-budget TCF and in Technicolor, unlike the usual Roger Corman low-budget b&w's. Plus, it got promoted more heavily than the usual under-the-radar sci-fi. I suspect big-budget MGM's success with Forbidden Planet (1956) had something to do with TCF's decision to join the swim.
On the whole, it's a good entry from that period, more carefully thought out than most, with a name cast, well almost. Patricia Owens (the wife) may not be a household name, but she does do a heckuva job in putting the material over. She's the pivotal character, and it's her range of reactions that almost make the premise believable. Plus, it's a very cleverly structured screenplay, hooking us right away and then explaining the mystery through flashback. On the downside is the rather bland Hedison. Seeing him now, after so many years, he doesn't seem the driven-genius type, his casting likely a gesture to commercialism.
A lot of folks find the climax amusing. And while the special effects are not very good, the idea itself is pretty effective as tragic outcome. On the whole, the movie may not reach the sustained intensity of the similar Incredible Shrinking Man (1957). Nonetheless, I still think my teenage fifty-cents was well spent.
(In passing-- I'm still wondering how our scientist gets a fly's head, but not its brain. After all, he does continue to reason. Oh well, no one watches these epics for their logic, then or now.)
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