Return of the Fly (1959) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Philippe Delambre, the now-adult son of "The Fly", does some transportation experimentation of his own.

  • Fifteen years after his father's experiments with matter transmission fail, Philippe Delambre and his uncle François attempt to create a matter transmission device on their own. However, their experiments have disastrous results, turning Philippe into a horrible half-man, half-fly creature.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • The movie opens with title and credits shown over a stark white background and one solitary fly cleaning itself. It flies away and we zoom in on a graveside service for Helene Delambre. It is pouring rain and the handful of mourners hold umbrellas. A priest (Francisco Villalobos) conducts last rites at the graveside. Francois Delambre (Vincent Price) remembers his sister-in-law. His nephew, Philippe Delambre (Brett Halsey) stands in the pouring rain grieving for his late mother. Standing outside is Inspector Beauchamp (John Sutton). He was a member of the team investigating the death of Andre and is privy to the terrible family secret. The service concluded, everyone walks slowly away from the flower covered casket. A nosy reporter, Granville (Jack Daly) intrudes on Francois and Philippe as they walk to their car. Granville takes exception to being ignored and presses his inquiry about aspects of Andre's death. Beauchamp notices the hostile exchange and steps up when Philippe grabs the reporter. Beauchamp warns the reporter to cease such tactics. But Granville accuses, "Well, Inspector Beauchamp, you were part of that big cover-up, weren't you? This is going to make nice reading, I promise you!" The reporter storms off and Beauchamp walks over to talk to Francois. Francois and Philippe get into the mid-1950s Chrysler Imperial Limousine, and drive off. Philippe asks his uncle, "Why was mother accused?" Francois refuses to discuss the matter, but Philippe persists. He warns his nephew, "If I tell you, Philippe, it will haunt you for the rest of your life." Philippe replies, "Tell me. I've a right to know." Francois relents and orders the driver to take them to the old foundry of Delambre Freres. Francois escorts his nephew into the basement and is stopped by the night watchman, Gaston (Michael Mark). He asks the two men not to go into the lab, "This place is cursed." He remembers, as he was the one to find Andre's crushed body in the hydraulic press. The cobwebbed lab is a shambles, the same as Andre left it. Philippe observes all the equipment is smashed. He also tells his uncle that his father was doing research in the transmission of molecular structures. Francois tells his nephew that Andre succeeded, "Andre's machine actually disintegrated the molecules of solid matter and then reintegrated them again in a different place. Eventually, Andrew gained such confidence in his machine that he put himself through the disintegration-integration process. He successfully transmitted himself. Then on a tragic second attempt something went wrong. Unwittingly, he found himself in the disintegrator chamber but he was not alone. With him was a fly. The result was a creature with the body of Andre Delambre and the arm and the head of a fly." With Helene's help he used the hydraulic press to destroy all evidence of his head and arm. Philippe tells Francois he wants help to rebuild the equipment and vindicate his father's dream. Francois flatly refuses to help for two reasons: First, the safety of his nephew. And finally, financial. The company is nearly broke. Philippe vows to continue, with or without his uncle's help.

    Philippe enters the Electronic factory to talk to his friend Alan Hinds (David Frankham). He is also known as Ronald Holmes, an unsavory character with a criminal past, something Philippe will discover later to his regret. He invites Alan to pay him the same and start work immediately at his grandfather's house he inherited. They drive out to the mansion. Madame Bonnard (Janine Grandel), the housekeeper, admits Phil and Alan into the house. Cecile Bonnard (Danielle De Metz), the housekeeper's daughter, runs down to see the visitors. Philippe explains they were childhood friends. While tea is being prepared, Phil and Alan go downstairs to the wine cellar. Phil is converting it to a workshop and laboratory. It is a large room with plenty of space for expansion, privacy and the comforts of the main house. The old wine cellar is perfect for their work. While having tea, Phil hears the buzzing of a fly and freezes. He recoils slightly when he sees it crawling over sugar cubes in the tea service. All notice how visibly upset he has become. He admits he has always hated flies.

    Sometime later, they are in the lab. An electrical panel shorts out, an expensive item Phil admits he hasn't the money to replace. Alan agrees to defer salary until the project is a success. Francois stops by the house to see his nephew. He is annoyed and tells Philippe, "I see you've gone ahead against my wishes." Phil asks his uncle for money, knowing Francois will say no. He plays his trump card and expresses his desire to sell his half of the company for cash to anyone. The gambit works and Francois agrees to finance the project, but he intends to supervise all aspect of the project to protect his headstrong nephew. Francois leaves and Phil and Alan drive into town. Phil drops Alan off. Alan immediately takes a taxi to an undertaker's shop. He walks through the entry parlor, through a room full of caskets on display, and into the office of the proprietor. Sitting at the desk, eating a large meal, is Max Barthold (Dan Seymour). The fat man addresses Alan Hinds as "Ronnie", but Alan correct his old business partner, "No Ronnie. Alan Hinds, if you please." Max does not believe Alan has a business matter worth considering, but listens to the scheme. Alan wants Max to shop around for an interested buyer for the disintegrator-integrator. Alan asks for a 50-50 split. Max reminds Alan that he is wanted by the British police, so Alan reminds Max the last partnership deal that went sour ended in murder. When Alan exits the building, Phil drives up by chance and stops. Alan lies and tells Phil he was just visiting an old friend. A plain clothes policeman, Inspector Evans (Pat O'Hara) sees his quarry and follows.

    In the lab, Phil, Alan and Francois make final preparations for their first experiment on the completed machinery. An ashtray will be the first experiment. It is placed in the chamber. The machinery is fired up and the three men don eye protection goggles. In the receiving station the ashtray is perfectly transmitted. Sometime later, they are ready to try a live subject: a guinea pig. The animal is placed in the disintegrator cabinet and the machinery run. Unfortunately the receiving station contains a huge guinea pig--giantism is the problem. Philippe concludes, "Must be in the amplitude control." They check the machine settings and review their notes. They fix the giantism and proceed to the next phase, "Hold the subject in a disembodied state for a time then complete the cycle and bring the subject back." They cycle the machine for disintegration only, then agree to meet the next morning to bring it back. Alan eyes the documentation with lust. He must have a few key diagrams to offer as proof for sale to the highest bidder. A fly buzzing in the lab distracts Philippe. Alan kills the insect then shows Philippe, who recoils in revulsion.

    That evening, Inspector Evans enters the lab. Alan steals into the lab for a little espionage. He grabs a few documents and photographs them. He is unable to get into the storage cabinet. Evans attempts to arrest Ronald Holmes, now calling himself Alan Hinds. A chair thrown against an electrical panel causes confusion and Alan gets the upper hand. Alan disarms Evans and takes his keys. He puts the body in the machine and disintegrates it. Phil enters the lab and finds Alan inside the lab. Phil goes back to bed, but Alan decides he needs to get rid of the body permanently. He spots the car and decides to call Max for help in disposing of the body. Max is not eager to get involved. Alan runs the integration cycle to retrieve the body, but to his shock and horror Evans has the hands and feet of a guinea pig. The little guinea pig has human hands. Alan squishes it under foot, injuring it. To finish the job he drops some electronic equipment on the poor thing. He puts the dead creature in a box and wipes up the blood. He drags the body of Evans out of the lab and places him in the trunk of the policeman's own car. Alan drives away, but is seen clearly by Madame Bonnard from the window. Alan meets up with Max. He set the car to drive itself into a lake and rides back to the house in Max's car. While driving back Alan asks how the sale of the project is proceeding. He hands Max a roll of film.

    In the lab, Phil is waiting for his friend. A series of suspicious lies regarding noises and the blood stain from the guinea pig leaves Philippe unconvinced. Alan is not able to explain the handcuffs. Alan pulls a gun on Phil and demands he open the cabinet. A fight breaks out, but Alan manages to knock Phil out. Alan places Phil in the disintegrator cabinet and then starts the machinery. He deliberately captures a fly and adds it to the cabinet. The machine works and Phil disappears. Uncle Francois drives up and enters the house. He walks down to the lab as Alan grabs a handful of documentation and gets into the car. He shoots Francois and drives off. Madame Bonnard and Cecile help Francois into the house. Cecile helps Francois down to the lab. Police Sirens can be heard approaching. Francois tells Madame Bonnard to hold them off. He fires up the machinery assuming Phil was disintegrated, and re-integrates his nephew. Francois is horrified and Cecile screams. Philippe has returned with the enormous head of a fly. Three police officers rush down to the lab and break down the door. Philippe uses his fly arm to break the glass of the cabinet and makes his escape from the lab. Sgt. Dubois (Richard Flato) telephones the station to report the gunshot wound. He picks up the handcuffs. One of the other policemen chases Phil/Fly and fires at him with his police revolver. He is slowed down by his one fly foot. Sgt. Dubois hears the tiny voice of Philippe calling to Cecile for help. He spots the fly with the tiny human head of Philippe. He is shocked. Phil/Fly manages his escape.

    At the hospital, Francois is wheeled out of surgery to his room. Lt. MacLish (Barry Bernard) arrives and asks to speak to Francois. He confirms the handcuffs found belonged to Evans. A truck pulls up to a warehouse and Phil/Fly gets out. At the hospital, Francois is now awake. Dubois tries to question Francois, but he insists on speaking with Beauchamp. MacLish arrives and gets the same response to his inquiries. Dubois asks why Beauchamp is the only person he will speak to. Dubois asks if the secret involves a fly, then assures Francois he will contact Beauchamp at once.

    Max paces his funeral home. The phone rings. It is Alan/Ronnie and he asks about the money. Max is unhappy, "I must say you've botched things thoroughly. There's no doubt of it. Young Delambre is looking for you." Beauchamp visits Francois in his hospital room. Francois tells him what happened to his nephew and reminds him the fly will be needed if his nephew can be returned to normal. A scraping sound piques Max's attention. He searches each room, but finds nothing. He returns to his office and closes the door. Phil/Fly is waiting for him. He smashes his way into the preparation room and kills the mortician. Francois is returned to the house and taken to a room upstairs to convalesce. Beauchamp asks to be taken to the lab. He searches until he finds the tiny fly with Phil's head. He places it safely in a jar. He tells Francois he caught it and fed it. He asks about lifespan and Francois tells him, "Musca domestica, the common housefly, lifespan about three weeks." Alan/Ronnie drives over to see Max at the funeral parlor. He finds the dead body of Max on a gurney. He runs into the arms of Phil/Fly. Mortally wounded, Alan's body is stuffed into one of the caskets. A policeman (Gregg Martell) hears the commotion and finds Alan's gun. Alan tries to get out of the casket but collapses and dies. Beauchamp stops in to see Francois in his room. He reports that Alan Hinds and Max Barthold are both dead. Beauchamp suspects Phil/Fly will return to the house, and he does through Cecile's bedroom window. Her scream brings Beauchamp to her room. He orders Cecile to get Francois and help him to the lab. Beauchamp helps Phil/Fly to the lab, and then into the cabinet. He carefully retrieves the fly from the glass container and places it in the cabinet. Francois fires up the machine. They hope to untangle the two living creatures and return them to their original state. To their relief, Philippe is himself in the re-integrator cabinet. Cecile and Beauchamp help him out. Philippe and Cecile embrace. Francois hears the buzz of a fly and looks for the tiny insect. We close with a shot of the fly on the stark white background.

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