The Fly (1958) Poster

(1958)

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8/10
The ONLY Fly movie you must see--with a terrific ending to boot
MartinHafer12 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Okay, up front you ought to know that I absolutely hated the remake of this film starring Jeff Goldbloom. I felt the remake had zero subtlety or charm and was just a special effects-laden and grotesque movie. If you care, look for my review of this film to see just how much I hated it (and my hatred of this film is INTENSE). Probably so much of why I hated the disgusting remake was because the original film was everything the remake was not--it was charming, low budget, effective and campy fun.

The film is about a scientist who has a basement lab. He's working on a device to teleport things from one place to another (kind of like a Star Trek transporter). It works great, but when he makes the trip himself, a fly buzzes into the chamber and the DNA of him and the fly become fused--producing a human-sized creature with a giant fly head and arm (it's so coooool when you finally see him without a sheet draped over his head, as he was during so much of the movie to avoid scaring his wife). Attempts to find the fly-sized creature with a human head and arm are totally unsuccessful, so eventual the fated scientist shoves himself into a press and squishes himself.

The police suspect that this was just a murder, and they want to charge the scientist's wife. All looks bleak until the very final scene (one of the most memorable ones in screen history) when the detective hears a screaming fly calling for help--just before it is devoured by a spider. You see a little human head and hear him screeching in a high pitched voice "HELP ME!". What a cool scene.

The film also stars Vincent Price, who actually plays a normal person, not the bug-man. However, he does return for a sequel and you can guess what happens to Vincent in that one! This is great campy fun--a not to be missed film for horror movie fans.
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8/10
A slick 1950s sci-fi
TheLittleSongbird5 May 2010
I haven't yet seen the David Croenberg remake, though I have heard it is superior, but this was still very good and certainly worth seeing. Even with some inconsistencies in the story and one or two cheesy moments, The Fly is a slick 1950s sci-fi. Unlike some people I actually found the "help me help me" bit quite creepy, maybe predictable for those who have seen it umpteen times, but the image of a half-human/fly being trapped in a cobweb and screaming those words quite unsettled me, and after seeing the film it is that scene that I remember most.

The production values are very good and look very nice still, and the music is suitably chilling. The script has some nice touches too, and the acting is fine. David Hedison does a very good job as eccentric scientist Andre Delambre, and Vincent Price, one of the main reasons why I wanted to see this film as I am a big fan of his, is great as Francois, the brother who has histrionics about family curses. Overall, definitely worth seeing, not absolutely outstanding mind, but I do recommend it. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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Still Effective After All These Years
Michael_Elliott8 October 2009
Fly, The (1958)

*** (out of 4)

Still effective sci-fi from Fox has a wife (Patricia Owens) calling her brother-in-law (Vincent Price) and confessing to killing her scientist husband (Al Hedison). At first the wife won't tell the motive behind the killing but she eventually opens up about an experiment he was working on that went horribly wrong and crossed parts of his body, including his head, with that of a fly. It's funny but this is a film I didn't care too much for as a child but this latest viewing, my first in over a decade, really had me entertained and caught up in the story, which is a lot more of a thinking man's drama than all out monster movie. I think the film works so well because it's easy to get caught up in the personal drama of a wife desperately trying to save her husband from a horrible fate that gets worse and worse with each passing moment. I think the film does a great job in the opening segment at building up the suspense of what led up to the murder. When the flashbacks start up we're already drawn into the story and we actually care as to what happens and how it plays out. Hedison is very good in his moments at playing the husband but he's even better when it comes time for him to act without words and his face hidden under a wrap. Owens is also very good in her role even thought here are a few moments where she goes a tad bit over the top. Price is great as usual and Herbert Marshall does a very good job in the role of the Inspector. The special effects in the film aren't anything overly ground breaking but they're effective for what they are. The sound effects are another major plus especially one scene with a cat's meow. Then, of course, we have that legendary ending which has to be one of the greatest in film history.
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8/10
A stark and tragic sci-fi/horror fable from the 1950s
Leofwine_draca17 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
While all the other horror and science fiction films of the late '50s made do with their black and white status, THE FLY was made in full colour, a factor which immediately distinguished it from the other films of the time. This film richly deserves the classic status it has attained, being a piece of original science fiction which has a tragic love story at its heart. The scenes in which Andre, with his half-fly body, scrawls "love you" to his wife are truly moving, and even caused me to shed a tear or two at their poignancy. Along with this are the standard sci-fi trappings of electronic lights flashing, buzzing machinery, and an impossible concept which remains scarily believable when it is explained during the film's course.

The cast is all good, from Al Hedison as the nice guy scientist who becomes doomed, to Patricia Owens as his lovelorn wife who is forced to accept the unbelievable; hers is a dramatic portrayal of helplessness. Vincent Price is on hand for horror buffs in a supporting role, and he is on the side of good this time around. Although he doesn't have much to do except look horrified at the events which unfold, his presence distinguishes the film and raises it a notch. Like Peter Cushing, Price had the uncanny power to uplift the quality of every film he was in, no matter how bad or good it was.

THE FLY proves that you don't need any gruesome gore scenes or murders to make a good horror film. In this respect it comes across as a very old-fashioned sort of film, which is no bad thing in my mind. The special effects are all excellent, and the half-fly half-man creature is brilliant, looking if not exactly convincing, then at least very fantastical. The film was such a success that it spawned two direct sequels, RETURN OF THE FLY in 1959 and CURSE OF THE FLY in 1965, as well as numerous other imitations such as THE PROJECTED MAN. David Cronenberg directed a remake of the film in 1986, again called THE FLY, but he bypassed the tragic moments for excess gore and graphic special effects (which I'm not complaining about, just commenting on). A sequel to that film, called simply THE FLY II, was also made, again emphasising the gory disintegration of the film's hero, but lacking any depth of characterisation.
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7/10
better than most 50s B-movie horrors
SnoopyStyle18 June 2015
In a Montreal machine shop, scientist Andre Delambre (Al Hedison) is found crush to death with his wife Helene (Patricia Owens) at the controls. She calls to confess to his brother Francois (Vincent Price). With the head crushed, Francois identifies the body with a long scar on his leg. Helene's confession seems suspicious and Andre's basement lab is trashed. Helene seems obsessed with flies and Francois pretends to have captured a white-headed fly. Helene recounts the story to him and Inspector Charas. Andre had succeeded in making a teleportation device.

This is much better than a simple 50's B-movie. The story is actually quite compelling. The acting is relatively good. Vincent Price is playing it straight. The production looks good. The directions are a little stiff which is the style of the day. It is still the story that is so great and the reveal is absolutely iconic.
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7/10
"Don't Tell Me to Buzz Off!"
Hitchcoc23 March 2006
Yes it is full of holes. The whole business of conservation of matter comes into play. Even if such a machine could be built, why did the exchange involve so much fly material and so little human. Remember, the parts were true to their original form. Forget that because that would ruin the movie. As it is, we have this poor man, Al Hedison (later David on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea), who makes this wonderful machine for transporting matter (beam me up Scottie). He gets into it, not knowing there's a fly in there. What about the bacteria on the wall (this could have been called "The Stroptococcus." Oh, well, the thing happens and we have two beings created. A little fly with a a man's head and fly's body, and a gigantic fly head with a man's body. The brain thing is a little confusing, although it is addressed in the fact that the giant fly man is slowly losing his wits. Of course, what must be done is to catch the fly and put the two entities back together. With their luck, they might have created a little man and a gigantic housefly. So much of the movie is about the despair of trying to get this to happen. Eventually, the wife is seen as a murderer for killing her husband in a giant machine press. He story is a little hard to swallow. That's why the final scene with Vincent Price looking down at the spider web is so important. She needs to get off the hook.

Several viewers have pointed out that last scene. I, too, had nightmares when I first watched this at our little movie theater in 1958. That shrill whiny voice, the man with the little vocal chords who had aged as a fly would age, waiting for that enormous spider to suck out his bodily fluids--well, talk about your nightmares. It's sure a lot scarier than showing up at your graduation without any pants. I love these movies. If I sound disrespectful, I'm not. They were a part of my childhood. See this if you never have.
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10/10
One of My Favorite Classic Movies of the 50's
claudio_carvalho29 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
In Montreal, the industrial François Delambre (Vincent Price) is called late night by his sister-in-law Helene Delambre (Patricia Owens). She tells him that she has just killed her beloved husband Andre Delambre (Al Hedison), using the press of their plant to press his head and left hand. François calls his acquaintance, Inspector Charas (Herbert Marshall), and later the reluctant Helene is convinced to tell them what happened. She explains that François had invented a matter transportation apparatus, and while experimenting with himself, a fly entered the chamber, exchanging one hand and the head with him after the transference.

"The Fly" is one of my favorite classic movies of the 50's. The story is great, blending romance, sci-fi and horror, and the narrative, through flashback, keeps the mystery alive until the last scene, when the fly with white head is finally found in a spider web screaming for help. I like very much the dialog when Inspector Charas smashes the spider and the fly with a stone, and François tells him that he is as killer as Helene is, since he killed a man-fly and Helene a fly-man. My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): "A Mosca da Cabeça Branca" ("The Fly of the White Head")
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5/10
You've got to catch the fly to cure the fly.
mark.waltz6 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Not quite the classic that I expected, I found myself rather bored at times with this inventive but often painfully slow moving science fiction/horror film. It surrounds the flashback to Patricia Owens explaining to brother in law Vincent Price why she killed her husband, an act she claims was not murder. His death, in a metal crusher, leads to her being put under observation for being insane, and that leads her to tell her story to Price and police inspector Herbert Marshall. Through flashbacks, the experiments of he'd husband, David Hedison, are examined, and his alterations lead to a strange transformation that is shockingly ugly, but takes nearly a third of the film to be revealed. When it does out of nowhere come out, more questions come up than answers.

Why this has a cult following is not surprising, but the fact that the mystery takes this long to get off the ground makes the film painfully slow at times. There are a few sequences that have gotten classic scene status, but those don't come until the film's climax. That means that Price and Marshall are off screen for much of the film, turning their parts into near cameos. Veteran Disney villain Betty Lou Gerson plays Owen's stern nurse, with veteran character actress Kathleen Freeman the confused maid trying to help Owens find the white headed fly. Charles Herbert plays Hedison and Owen's son, unaware of what is going on concerning his father. The conclusion, one of the famous scenes, comes out of nowhere, and really in retrospect of all that's happened, seems to be totally out of place, and changes the whole mood of the film up until then. This is a real curiosity to me, more because I don't understand how this got a cult following.
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7/10
"Don't worry Andre, I'll find that fly!"
classicsoncall6 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
It's funny how faulty one's memory can be about a film seen for the first time almost fifty years ago. With today's viewing, I'm pleased to honor it with my vote for best horror film made in color that should have been done in black and white. That's how I remember it, along with Vincent Price's other classics of the era - 1959's "The Bat" and "House on Haunted Hill". Those WERE in glorious B&W and I couldn't think of them in any other way.

Say, did you catch that great, almost subliminal fly buzzing in the opening credits set to music? That was a neat touch setting the stage for the horror to follow. And horror there was, although interspersed with comic elements that oozed their way through, unintentional though they might have been. Like when Helene Delambre (Patricia Owens) gets hysterical at the housekeeper (Kathleen Freeman) and demands - "I told you to find that fly"! There's also the double entendre moment near the end when Francois (Price) demands of Inspector Charas (Herbert Marshall) a way to redeem his sister-in-law of murder. His response - "There is, show me the fly"!

No need to get into the nuts and bolts of the story here, enough reviewers on this board have done that already. However I haven't read about anyone making the connection between Andre Delambre's (Al/David Hedison) teleportation machine and the beam me up chamber 'Star Trek' would utilize less than a decade later. I don't recall any reconstructed cellular mishaps on that show, although I could be wrong about that. Now there would have been a story.

So you have that great fly head making up the creature costume, along with the claw-arm that goes into histrionic fits whenever Helene is around. Goes to show what can be done with the power of suggestion over huge and expensive special effects. The multiple view image of Helen through the fly eyes was also a neat touch. Makes me wonder though how a fly ever manages to find anything when an object is all over the place. Have to think about that.

If you can't get enough of pictures like these, I've already mentioned a couple of Vincent Price's classics earlier. For a more direct knock off of "The Fly", you only need look again to the following year, 1959, when Roger Corman did a nifty little creature feature called "The Wasp Woman", proving once again that beauty is only skin deep. Had the producers gone the extra mile, they could have staged a wedding film between The Fly and The Wasp Woman. The sequels alone would have kept them busy as bees.
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7/10
A 1950s Sci-Fi Classic
gavin69422 March 2015
A scientist (David Hedison) has a horrific accident when he tries to use his newly invented teleportation device.

The creators of this film made an interesting decision: casting Vincent Price in a supporting role rather than the lead. Of course, if he was the lead, he would have his face covered and relatively few lines to speak. So maybe that was the clincher.

This film really embraces the 1950s science fiction boom, with the giant computer and invention. Is this a "mad scientist"? Not in the least. Although he is not a particularly logical or well-reasoned scientist. Who tests something on the family cat before using something smaller, like a dead fish? And who tests things on themselves before others? Foolish.
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8/10
Don't "fly" away while watching this.
lee_eisenberg13 October 2005
Neat, if hokey, "The Fly" does teach us an important lesson about being careful when performing experiments. The plot of course has Montreal scientist Andre Delambre (Al/David Hedison) discovering how to transport matter at light speed, and then transporting himself with a fly, thereby getting its head and claw. Patricia Owens, as Andre's confused wife Helene, truly gives one the impression of someone sinking into desperation. Vincent Price, as Andre's brother Francois, has the same sinister aura that he has in most of his movies, although here he's a good guy. All in all, this is a pretty neat movie. And who could forget that famous line "Help me...help me!"? The 1986 remake was also pretty good.
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6/10
The Fly
jboothmillard9 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
When I heard of this original version starring Vincent Price, I assumed it was him that would turn into the creature of the title, and even though it wasn't, I still had to see it. Basically, François Delambre (Price) is called late by his sister-in-law Helene Delambre (Patricia Owens), who appears to have murdered her husband Andre (Licence to Kill's David Hedison). His head and left hand were crushed in a plant press, and François and his acquaintance Insp. Charas (Herbert Marshall) need to know why she did it, and so begins a flashback as Helene tells them what happened. In the flashback, Andre had invented a scientific breakthrough, creating a "teleporter" that disintegrate and reintegrates things from one place to another. He was perfecting the machine to not only send objects without alternations, but living things, and of course it was when he tried to do it to himself that things went wrong. He managed to transport himself, and a common house fly, and the machine of course got confused, and replaced his head and left hand with that of the fly. Covered up and unable to speak, he types on the typewriter and tells his wife that they need to find the fly, recognisable with a white head and white leg, to turn him back to normal. Of course when Helene, son Philippe (Charles Herbert) and maid Emma (Kathleen Freeman) fail to catch it, and Andre's hideous face is revealed, he gives up completely, and sees no choice but to destroy the machine, and have Helene destroy him, which explains the murder. Returning to the present time, all believe Helene is mad, and Insp. Charas will only be convinced if François can find the recognisable fly, and when they do, it is too late, the human headed screaming fly is eaten by a spider (disturbing to watch) and crushed by a rock. Also starring Betty Lou Gerson as Nurse Andersone, Eugene Borden as Dr. Ejoute and Torben Meyer as Gaston. Obviously this classic doesn't compare to the special effects ladened remake from David Cronenberg, but the original does have enough moments and almost as much tension to keep you gripped, and of course the famous squeaky voiced shrieking "Help me!", a watchable classic horror. Good!
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8/10
A nifty 50's sci-fi/horror classic
Woodyanders10 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Brilliant, hearty, but obsessive scientist Andre Delambre (an excellent performance by David Hedison) creates a teleportation device. Things go awry when his genes are crossed with those of a common fly, thereby resulting in a grotesque humanoid insect monster. Andre's loyal and loving wife Helene (superbly played by the lovely Patricia Owens) desperately tries to help him out, but his humanity starts to fade as the days wear on. Director Kurt Neumann, working from an absorbing and intelligent script by James Clavell, relates the arresting, if wildly implausible story at a steady pace, maintains an admirably serious and sincere tone throughout, and elicits uniformly fine acting from a first-rate cast. Hedison and Owens are outstanding in the leads; they receive sound support from the ever-suave Vincent Price as Andre's concerned brother Francois, Herbert Marshall as the smooth Inspector Charas, comic actress Kathleen Freeman in a nifty change-of-pace straight part as housekeeper Emma, and Charles Herbert as Andre's sweet son Philippe. The vibrant color cinematography by Karl Struss makes exquisite use of the widescreen format. Paul Sawtell's lush, rousing orchestral score really hits the shuddery spot. The special effects are quite good and convincing. The revelation of the fly head atop Andre's body still packs a punch today; ditto the now legendary ending scene with Andre's head on a fly's body pathetically screaming "Help me!" while trapped in a spider's web. Moreover, this film gains considerable dramatic power from the fact that at the plot's core is a genuinely tragic and poignant love story. Although a bit slow and talky by modern standards, this picture overall is still worthy of its classic status.
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3/10
See The Re-Make Instead
ccthemovieman-118 March 2006
Here's one case where the re-make is far, far better than the original. This also is another case of a vastly overrated science-fiction film of the '50s. Most sci-fi films of that period, including this one, have such primitive special effects that they destroy any credibility of presenting a scary story.

In this particular film, the main drawback is not the dated effects but the sheer boredom of the story. It's too slow. A fly moves a lot faster than this flick.

One odd thing about the cast. The two stars of the film were "no-names" (Al Hedison and Patricia Owens) and the two supporting cast members were big names (Vincent Price and Herbert Marshall).

One plus for the film that you certainly didn't see in the re-make is they give God His due realizing that human beings are not supposed to "play God" and they state just that. Of course, that was edited out in the 1986 version. However, if you are looking for a straight horror/sci-fi thriller, watch that '86 re-make with Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. It is far better than this snoozer.
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6/10
Only Half a Man.
rmax3048235 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is the original "The Fly." I never did see David Cronenberg's remake except for a few snippets, but those snippets convinced me that Cronenberg was following his usual impulse to make the viewer's skin crawl. Some of us don't really need that. If we want our skins to crawl all we have to do is get out of bed in the morning. (I'll except Cronenberg's "Dead Ringers" from those generalization, a truly spooky movie without a pander in it.) As the original, this 1959 version stands tall. They actually seem to have intended to make a horror/science fiction movie rather than a comedy, and yet they've achieved both.

It's a horrifying story of a Montreal scientist, Al Hedison, who invents a teleportation machine that deconstructs objects and sends their elements at the speed of light to a glass box where they are reassembled in their original form. Even the champagne retains its chill. There are, of course, always a few small problems to be ironed out. The printing on a cheap ash tray comes out backward. The pet cat, Dandelot, gets lost somewhere between the transmitter and the receiver. "Where is she now?" asks the desperate wife, Patricia Owens. "Somewhere out in space. A stream of cat atoms," Hedison replies wonderingly. The fact that Dandelot has been thoroughly disassembled doesn't stop her atomic stream from going MEOWWW as it sails off into the ether. (I warned you this was funny.) The general idea is that there are some things man was never meant to know. This used to be called hubris. The story of blundering into the unknown and coming up with unexpected consequences seems to have been especially common in the 19th century when theology was coming to grips with scientific breakthroughs like Darwinism. The theme had a resurgence in the SF movies of the 1950s, following the atomic bomb but "Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus" is still the holotype.

The movie resonates with all sorts of familiar ideas and images. When Hedison's teleporter transmits the words "Made in Japan" backwards, he wordlessly walks away from his wife to sit at his desk and work on the problem. Just when they were planning a romantic evening together too. Hedison was never more than just half a man from the beginning. At any rate the scene reminded me of the opening of James Joyce's "Ulysses," when the atheist Buck Mulligan mocks the Catholic mass by intoning ritualistic mumbo jumbo over his bowl of shaving cream, claiming he's transforming it into the body and blood of the Savior. Looking down puzzled at the untransformed shaving cream, he says, "Oops. A bit of trouble with those white corpuscles." Hedison has the head and one arm of a fly, and the fly part is slowly fighting the rest of him for dominance. At one point he's trying to type a note to his wife with his human hand and the fly hand grasps the other's wrist and begins struggling with it, and all we can see is Dr. Strangelove and his gloved hand, which insists on saluting Hitler and strangling its owner.

It is, however, a reasonably well-done, if not exactly expert, horror film. We want Hedison to get himself together again but his supporters can never seem to find that fly with the "white head." At the end, after Hedison is safely cleaned and pressed, his brother (Vincent Price) and the skeptical police inspector (Herbert Marshall) stumble upon the fly with Hedison's head and arm. The "thing" is caught in a web and about to be eaten by a spider. "HELP ME! HELP ME!" it cries in a terrified yet comically tinny voice before Marshall comes unglued and smashes spider and fly with a rock. This scene, with Price and Marshall bent over, peering at the fly in the web, was subject to innumerable retakes because the two actors kept cracking up with laughter and ruining the shot. It really IS kind of funny.
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8/10
Horror masterpiece, today unanimously deemed a classic cult movie
ma-cortes16 October 2007
This classic horror film from 20th Century Fox presents in Cinemascope, the last world in excitement, the last world in thrills.It's a shocking horror movie, campy and very intelligent. It concerns about Andre Dalambre(Al or David Hedison), an obstinate scientific whose flesh is genetically intermixed, turned in the housefly with the head of a man and the man with the head of the fly, via his experimental transportation device who accidentally gets anatomically confused with a fly. Furthermore, his hapless wife(Patricia Owens) suffering misfortunes her husband,the little boy(Charles Herbert), his brother Francois Dalambre( Vincent Price) and a Police Inspector (Herbert Marshall)investigating the weird events .

This is the terror-topper first introduced in the public in the Playboy Magazine and with a splendid screenplay by James Clavell. Both gruesome and touching script is narrated for various flashbacks. This is the best work of Sci-Fi from the 50s , director Kurt Neumann and cameraman Karl Struss, both shoot: ¨Rocket K-1, She-devil and Kronos¨. The director displays the thoughtful provocation and intellectual sense that characterizes all of Kurt Neumann'work.¨The Fly¨ is a perfect example of his work and highlights the dangers of attempting to control and exploit nature. As says the film publicity, for your own good we won't let you see it alone.. unless you sign a waiver in our lobby absolving the management for the unpredictable effects of ¨The Fly¨on your nervous system ! .

Its's spawned by several inferior sequels and followed by a known remake : ¨Return the fly¨(1959, Edward L Bernds),¨Curse the Fly¨(1965, Don Sharp), ¨The Fly¨(1986,David Cronemberg) and ¨The Fly 2¨(1988, Chris Wallas).
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8/10
Fly high.
dbdumonteil10 August 2001
George Langelaan is an absolutely original writer,whose obsessions are time and death.Although English,he used to write in French , he's been living in France for a long time.Richard Matheson might be his American equivalent."The fly" is a "long" short story which Neumann and his scenarist James Clavell respected faithfully.Some might regret the sheet thrown on the hero's head once "it" happened.But by showing something too soon and too much,you end up destroying imagination,that's the main flaw of many a contemporary horror movie,brimming with make-up and special effects. And James Clavell deserves congratulations for having avoided the de rigueur happy end -particularly when a family,complete with child,is involved- at the time .Nothing in the -good,however-remake can equal the fly with a human head caught up in the cobweb.This sequence will haunt you long after you have seen the movie.
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8/10
Thizzzz izzzz exzzzzellent zzzztuff!
Coventry24 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Never thought that a movie involving people chasing a fly for half of the time could be so fascinating! "The Fly" is a genuine horror / sci-fi classic and fundamental viewing for everyone who was ever interested in either of these (or both, of course) genres. The whole premise of this milestone is silly and incredibly grotesque, yet very disturbing and it's brought to an even higher quality-level by the top-class performances of a devoted cast. Hedinson stars as the brilliant scientist Andre Delambre who discovered a method to transfer matter from one capsule to another and – convinced of his safety – he uses himself as a guinea pig to test if it works with humans, too. Terror begins when an ordinary housefly accidentally makes the transfer with him and the two beings exchange heads and a limb. Slowly going mad, Hedison has to beg his wife Helene to destroy what's left of him and his invention, because it's too dangerous for the world. One of the reasons why this film is so compelling is because of the ingenious structure. The story opens with Hedinson's brother (another great role for Vincent Price) receiving a call from a hysterical Helene who claims to have killed her husband and, for a long time, we're left in the dark whether she committed an act of madness…or a favor to her husband. "The Fly" contains several classic scenes (in one way or another, everybody must know about the "spider-web" finale by now) and the special effects are more than satisfying. Great film! Terrific entertainment!!
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Fifty-Years Later, and It's Still Fun
dougdoepke18 May 2011
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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8/10
It'd be funny if life wasn't so sacred.
hitchcockthelegend21 March 2020
The Fly is directed by Kurt Neumann and adapted to screenplay by James Clavell from the short story written by George Langelaan. It stars David Hedison, Patricia Owens, Vincent Price, Herbert Marshall, Kathleen Freeman and Betty Lou Gerson. Music is by Paul Sawtell and cinematography by Karl Struss.

When science goes berserk, The Fly finds Hedison as scientist Andre Delambre, who after successfully inventing the ability to transmit matter from one place to another - falls prey to a cruel slice of horrific fate...

Kurt Neumann would sadly pass away shortly after The Fly was released. Itself a terrible shame, it's doubly sad that he didn't get to see his film become a cult favourite with longevity assured. It's a film that smartly blends sci-fi with horror, and even managing to be fun into the bargain.

It's sometimes by modern observers accused of being too slow, but really it's a lesson in fine story telling. For at the heart of the tragic tale is a bountiful love story, the loyalty of a great wife in full effect. Throw in Andre's stoic pursuit of a science to benefit mankind, and this is a film that needs time to lay the story foundations.

Once we get to the horrors, and the surviving characters of the flashback structure play out this fateful tale, it simultaneously grips and fascinates. The effects work of course now looks a bit creaky, but those who first sampled them many decades ago have never ever forgotten the impact of the critical sequences.

Two pretty poor sequels would follow, which in turn would see a brilliant remake by David Cronenberg some 28 years later. Neumann's film is still a great piece of 1950s sci-fi, clinically adapted from a genius piece of short story writing. Loop holes exist, of course, but who cares, dive in and be haunted by what transpires on the screen. 8/10
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8/10
The Fly
Scarecrow-8816 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Returning to THE FLY for the first time in a while, I'm fascinated with the film's structure in story-telling. How the film introduces us to a distraught wife of a man killed under a press, his head and hand crushed. We are, at the off-set, told the tragic end of a scientist, yet I found myself completely gripped in the film anyway. Quite an achievement, I think. The science of the story might not hold up to scrutiny, and the costumed fly head and arm may seem less realistic by way of modern cinematic means, but there's still this rather shocking, unnerving quality THE FLY has that I totally bought into. Inspector Charas(Herbert Marshall)is investigating the case of why Helene Delambre(Patricia Owens)would purposely cause a press to smash her husband's body. At first unwilling to talk, Helene is finally coerced into telling the true story by her brother-in-law, François(Vincent Price), as to why she committed such an act of violence. Her brilliant scientist husband, Andre(David Hedison)had developed a transport device which could teleport an object from one place to another by disintegrating the atoms, with them reintegrating back together..such a method of travel would be of such importance and benefit mankind in so many different ways. But, in using the machine to transport himself from one machine to another, a common fly enters the chamber with him, causing horrifying results. I was amazed at how invested I was in the film, obviously knowing that only tragedy would result as Helene and her son, Philippe(Charles Herbert)try desperately to find the fly which had Andre's human head and arm. And, I could see why François and Inspector Charas would find the story so hard to fathom. While perhaps unconvincing unlike in it's heyday, the reveal of the fly head still packs a wallop(..that is if you are gripped by the story and care about the plight of the loving couple, the complications that result from tampering with the laws of nature), and further more the POV shot through the eye sight of Andre as Helene screams in horror is as effective as ever. Top notch cast with Price receiving lesser billing(..he still displays a range of emotions thanks to such a unsettling series of events, his character admitting his being in love with Helene), but still benefactor of being a part of yet another classic sci-fi horror film. Price's role here is for Helene's moral support during such a traumatic moment, having to bear the burden of Andre's loss, a decent and good man who fell victim to experimenting with the unexplored..engaging in a science dealing with the very atoms that make everything what they are is obviously a dangerous path to take if something were to go wrong. And, THE FLY shows the aftermath of man's desire to explore the seemingly impossible. The scene where the fly is caught in the web of a spider drawing in to eat it really remains rather unsettling, but rescues poor Helene about to be sent off to the loony bin. HELP ME!HELP ME!
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10/10
Wonderful Sci-Fi Classic
LeonLouisRicci6 October 2014
It was Not Only Youngsters who were Terrified by this Slick Fifties Sci-Fi-Horror Film, The New York Times (no less) Called this the Scariest Movie Since The Thing (1951). Legendary in Status and One of those that Stands Apart from Most of the Era's Cheapies, it is a Technicolor, Cinemascope Production with Some Attention to Detail.

The Cast is Lead by Second Tier Actors Al (David) Hedison and the Beautiful Kathy Owens and Backed Up by Vincent Price and Herbert Marshall. But the Real Star of the Movie is an Insect or to be More Accurate the Two Cross-Gens, The Fly (two legged) and The Fly (six legged).

It is a Great Looking Movie with a Good Mad-Lab and the Makeup for Both Flys is so Horrifying (for the time) that the Film Remained in the Consciousness of Baby Boomers who saw it at the Theatre or Drive-In, for Years and it is One of those that, as Adults, is Touted as "Scared me to death.", "Had nightmares for years.", and Other such Hyperbole.

Viewed Today it is So Familiar and has been such an Icon of the Cinema Fantastique, that Most Modern Fans have Seen it or have Seen Parts of it, or have been Aware of the Shock Ending and Often Referenced Final Scenes that it is Probably Not going to have the Impact that it Obviously had in 1958.

Overall, a Must See for Fans of Sci-Fi and Horror, Classic Cinema, the 1950's, Cult Movies, Bug Movies, Vincent Price, and Anyone who Loves the Joy of Fantastic Cinema.

Note...David Cronenberg remade this in 1986 and is a modern wonder in its own right and is one of the Director's best, and best known Movies.
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7/10
Excellent piece of 50's horror/sci-fi.
poolandrews30 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The Fly starts as a night watchman at a factory discovers the dead body of scientist Andre Delambre (David Hedison) with his head & arm having been crushed in a large industrial hydraulic press, he also sees Andre's wife Helene (Patricia Owens) running away. Helene phones Andre's brother François (Vincent Price) & openly admits to killing Andre, unsure of what to do François phones Inspector Charas (Herbert Marshall). Together they find Andre's body & Helene becomes the obvious suspect, however while she admits to killing Andre she says she didn't murder him. If found guilty Helene would hang so François manages to convince her to tell him & Charas the truth, the horrible truth of a scientific experiment gone hideously wrong...

Produced & directed by Kurt Neumann The Fly is easily one of the greatest sci-fi horror films of the fifties that stands up remarkably well even today when viewed in the cynical age in which we live during 2008. The script by James Clavell was based on a short story by George Langelaan which first appeared in a 1957 edition of Playboy of all places, The Fly has a very solid & often intelligent script that works but boy there are some errors & plot holes which are difficult to overlook at times. Probably the most basic is that both Andre & the Fly swap heads with a tiny little fly buzzing around with David Hedison's head & Hedison being left with a giant Fly head which is alright in principal but why does the Fly head retain all of Andre's memories, thoughts & intelligence? Surely besides being stuck with a Fly head the Fly's brain would have been inside it. Still if you can overlook this then there's a really fine film here. I suppose the moral message The Fly tries to put across is that technology is developing too quickly & there's a heavy handy speech in here which seems somewhat forced. The film has a really nice narrative, it starts off as a pure mystery with Andre's body being found & through a lengthy flashback the horrible truth is revealed. The first seventy odd minutes of The Fly is really gripping & intriguing stuff with some nice drama & character driven moments too, one could say the film loses some impact when the Fly creature is revealed because it's a bit of a let down in appearance. The ending is difficult to rate, on the one hand the basic concept is sound & works but in execution the special effects are poor & the filmmakers seem far too determined to have a happy ending with everyone standing around playing croquet in their garden! (apparently forced onto the production by Fox studio executives who wanted a happy ending...)

Director Neumann tragically committed suicide a month after it's premiere & just one week before it went on general release which is a shame since The Fly was a big box-office success & surely he would have had a chance to make it really big in Hollywood. He directs the The Fly well enough, the colour photography is a little garish at times but the film looks nice enough & he keeps the monster under wraps & hidden until the end & thus prolonging the tension. Of course a lot of sci-fi & horror films from the 50's were all about mutant monsters & giant bugs but there's more to The Fly than just that, it's very well thought out & constructed. The Fly was remade by Canadian director David Cronenberg during the mid 80's & one has to say it's the better film although the two are very different & Cronenberg's Fly presents a far more realistic, sombre, powerful & dramatic interpretation of the source material in what is easily one of the best horror films ever made in my opinion.

With a supposed budget of about $700,000 The Fly is well made although I doubt it will impress many modern audiences. The acting is pretty good although like a lot of fifties sci-fi films a little wooden at times, genre favourite Vincent Price turns in a nice performance.

The Fly is a classic fifties sci-fi horror film that stands up really well even today although David Cronenberg's remake is far superior, I liked it a lot & apart from a few questionable plot holes & lapses in scientific logic it's a great film. Vincent Price returned for the sequel Return of the Fly (1959) & a further sequel Curse of the Fly (1965) was also made, surprisingly both were shot in black and white & therefore one would assume were cheap cash-ins. It doesn't finish there either folks since Fox are making yet another remake called The Fly (2008) although is it a remake of this fifties original or Cronenberg's eighties remake?
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7/10
THE FLY (Kurt Neumann, 1958) ***
Bunuel197611 October 2007
I had watched this as a kid during an all-night horror marathon on Italian TV – though I missed out on the sequel, RETURN OF THE FLY (1959), which was part of the same program (and will only now catch up with it all these many years later!).

The original may deserve its status as a sci-fi/horror classic but David Cronenberg's ultra-visceral 1986 remake makes it look quaint nowadays and, even at the time, it must have seemed one of the genre's sillier examples; in fact, one would be hard-pressed to keep a straight face throughout (particularly during the family's extended search for the 'white-headed' fly). Still, it's clearly well done (nicely shot in color by genre veteran Karl Struss and boasting an intelligent script by, of all people, James Clavell!) – with an interesting flashback structure that undeniably helps augment the suspense factor, as well as Canadian settings which may not be so unusual for a horror film of its era (though the strain on the actors having to fake a French accent throughout is apparent!) and yet prove to be entirely gratuitous in the long run.

The cumbersome laboratory equipment and artless design of the all-important teleporting device date the film somewhat as well. However, the make-up (of both 'species' of human fly) is admirably grotesque and its "look" is withheld from the audience long enough for major effect – while the plot's latter stages (detailing the agonized yet completely rational interaction between David Hedison's mutated scientist and devoted wife Patricia Owens) is genuinely affecting and, really, is what gives the film its raison d'etre; even so, Hedison gives up rather too easily on finding a cure and his transporting himself fully clothed seems risible today…this is in direct opposition to the admittedly absorbing but incredibly disgusting 'body horror' experience of Cronenberg's remake (though still the superior version of the two all things considered).

Vincent Price and Herbert Marshall lend distinguished support – the former as Hedison's brother who's secretly in love with his wife (a role the horror icon would reprise in the next installment of "The Fly Trilogy"), the latter as the elderly and reasonably sympathetic Police Inspector on the case (Hedison and Owens had together engineered the former's 'release' from his precarious physical and mental condition, for which she has been charged with murder). For the record, I found Paul Sawtell's music score to be too bombastic at times and, tragically, director Kurt Neumann did not enjoy the fruits of his biggest box-office success as he took his own life before THE FLY went into general release (apparently as a result of his wife's own recent demise)!
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8/10
"It'd be funny if life wasn't so sacred."
utgard1427 June 2015
A scientist working on a matter transporter decides to try his machine out on himself. Little does he know a fly has flown into the transporter with him. This causes him to turn into a freakish man-fly creature. In order to reverse the change he needs the fly that flew into the transporter. So he turns to his wife for help in finding it.

A compelling, suspenseful sci-fi film directed by Kurt Neumann with a script by James Clavell. Despite what many people go into this thinking, Vincent Price does not play the main character in this. He plays the brother of the man who turns himself into a fly-thing, but he's only a supporting character. Price would reprise his role in a sequel to this film. The man-fly scientist this time is played by David Hedison, billed at the time by his first name of Al. Hedison is no Price but he enjoyed a long and steady career from the '50s through the '00s. The female lead is lovely Patricia Owens. This was the biggest role of her career and she makes the most of it. It's through her character's flashbacks that the story of The Fly is told. Really the whole movie rests on her shoulders as Hedison spends a significant amount of time with his head covered or in the fly mask. Venerable Herbert Marshall and child actor Charles Herbert also appear.

The special effects are fun, although they may be laughed at today by the 'too cool for school' crowd. Yes it requires a suspension of disbelief but, come on, it's a monster movie not a National Geographic documentary. Have some fun with it. There are some amazing scenes in this, from the opening at the factory to the revelation scene to that memorable ending. It's easily director Neumann's best work. A true classic that everyone who loves '50s science fiction should see at least once. Followed by a couple of watchable sequels and a 1986 remake by David Cronenberg that is considered by many to be something of a classic itself.
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