Curse of the Fly (1965) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Motorist Martin Delambre attempts to keep evidence of his family's bizarre experiments in teleportation hidden from his wife, who is hiding secrets of her own.

  • Remember that scientist that was trying to perfect a matter transportation machine but got fused with a fly when one of the little critters got into the transporter with him? Well, this story is about three of his descendants (a son, Henri Delambre, played by Brian Donlevy and two grandsons). Seems the son wants to continue and perfect the machine while his two sons want to get out of the scientist business and live "normal" lives. The oldest son, Martin, decides to take a wife (who just happens to have escaped from a mental hospital after her parents died). Martin's father is not happy with this intrusion but finally gives in because he understands him son's needs. They all try to be a happy family until humans used in botched experiments are discovered by the new bride and the police nearly discover the lab while looking for Martin's wife. Everyone tries to get out of there via the transporter but things just don't go according to plan .


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • The movie opens at night on the façade of an old building. A window shatters, the shards coming straight at the camera. A woman wearing only bra and panties exits the room through the window. Title and credits follow. The woman makes her way to the front gate of the property. She runs down the street away from the Fournier Mental Hospital. Driving down the road is Martin Delambre (George Baker). He sees the woman run off the road and into the woods so he stops to render assistance. He tosses his sweater to the scantily clad young woman. Patricia Stanley (Carole Gray) inquires as to his direction. When he tells her Montreal, she responds, "Oh, that's where I wanted to go." Pat makes up a story about having to leave in a hurry, away from the unwanted attention of the husband of the woman writer she used to work for. Martin stops at a house and steals some clothes for Pat. Martin agrees to put her up at a hotel until she gets on her feet. He then lends her some money until she gets a job and can repay him. Martin calls his home and the houseboy, Tai (Burt Kwouk) answers the phone. Martin reports that the new equipment will be ready in a week and to tell his father. The maid, Wan (Yvette Rees) approaches Tai to learn what is going on. Tai enters the lab and calls London on a short-wave radio set. In a similarly equipped lab in London, Henri Delambre (Brian Donlevy) is sleeping on a cot and calls to his son, Albert. Albert Delambre (Michael Graham) answers the call. Tai inquires on the health of Henri Delambre, and the senior Delambre responds he is fine. Albert is annoyed that his father lied, "Why don't you tell Martin the truth?" Father replies, "I don't want to worry him. We're so close to success." Albert is concerned and threatens, "If you won't tell him, I will. I won't have anything more to do with the experiment." Albert wants a life of his own, but his father appeals to family history and the promise of a breakthrough. "The teleporter will replace every known means of transportation." Albert reminds his father about the failures: Judith, Samuels and Dill, but Father reminds his son, "Last week, you and Martin teleported me from Quebec to London." Albert reinforces his concern by lifting his father's shirt and exposing a huge radioactive burn on his back, "Do you call that success?"

    Martin and Pat are having dinner. A romance is blossoming between the two, but both are hiding secrets about themselves. A week has flown by and Martin is due to return home. They are on a picnic in the country and Martin impulsively proposes marriage. At a Montreal police station, Madame Fournier (Rachel Kempson) reports the escape of Patricia Stanley to Inspector Ronet (Jeremy Wilkins). Ronet demands to know why she waited so long to report the escape. Fournier explains that they are a private mental institution and that Patricia is not a lunatic, but only suffered a nervous breakdown. Before her concert debut her mother died and she suffered a breakdown. Pat and Martin are preparing to leave the picnic area when he suffers an attack of some type. She drives back to the hotel. She is unable to get a response at his door. Martin has administered an injection, but we see that his condition is serious. The skin on his face is puffy and blotched. He is having trouble breathing. Pat is so concerned she calls for the hotel Porter (Arnold Bell) to open his door. A cash gratuity overcomes his concern about hotel rules, but he knocks on the door rather than use his pass key. Martin, looking normally, answers the door.

    Martin and Pat, now married, pull up to the Delambre house in his Chevrolet station wagon. Tai answers the door and is introduced to Martin's new wife. He registers only mild surprise, then welcomes the new mistress of the house. Ronet checks with the hotel manager (Warren Stanhope) on Patricia Stanley, but gets very little information, except the connection to Martin Delambre. Martin gets Pat settled in their room. He goes to the lab. Wan delivers the suitcases to the bedroom, then quickly departs. Martin calls his brother, Albert, in London. His father interrupts to ask about the equipment. Delambre explains that his passport is not in order and he must return to Canada as soon as Martin can assemble the new equipment. While Pat waits patiently in the bedroom, Martin and Tai assemble the machinery. The lights dim in the bedroom as the teleportation equipment in the lab is brought to full power. The senior Delambre is dressed in a suit. He dons a set of protective goggles for his eyes. Albert closes the glass panels in the casket-like transport chamber. Martin and Tai prepare to receive Delambre. They hold welder's masks. Albert transports his father. The transporter lights the room. Albert reports the disintegration complete. A similar bright flash of light and the senior Delambre appears in the chamber. Martin administers oxygen to his father. It is while checking his father's heart he notices the body bandage. Martin was unaware of the mishap after the last transmission. Delambre explains to Martin that without the new equipment there were radiation burns. Delambre asks his son about the woman's voice he heard on the phone. Martin admits he met a girl in Montreal and married her. Martin tells his father he wants a life of his own, exactly the same words Albert used.

    Ronet returns to his office and informs Madame Fournier he has made an appointment to see ex-inspector Charas to discuss the Delambre family. She does not understand the connection, but Ronet tells her she will understand after Charas explains. The next afternoon Martin tells Pat that his father has arrived from London. Delambre meets his new daughter-in-law and is very friendly. Pat is surprised when she sees the piano in the conservatory room. Tai informs Martin there are people at the gate. Pat helps herself to the piano while Delambre registers unease. She plays with ease as her father-in-law looks on. Wan enters with a tray with an equally uncomfortable look on her face. Wan hurries outside, past three locked doors to the fourth. She looks through the top observation panel and tells the occupant, "Be quiet now. Be quiet, Judith." Wan takes the lunch dish and an arm extends from the bottom trap door and takes her hand. A second hand extends, this one is wrinkled and claw-like. It entwines Wan's wrist and applies a vice-like grip causing Wan to grimace in pain, "You're hurting me. Let go, Judith. You scratched my hand." Martin walks to the gate. Ronet explains that Madame Fournier operates the asylum from which Miss Stanley escaped. Ronet explains that they intend to take her back. Martin explains that, "Miss Stanley and I were married yesterday." After a brief exchange, Martin reluctantly lets them enter the house. Tai enters the room holding the marriage certificate. Fournier and Ronet examine the document and stipulate it is genuine. Fournier tries to instill fear with her pronouncement about Pat's mental illness, but Delambre only replies, "She appears to have made a remarkable recovery since leaving your hands." Tai shows Ronet and Fournier out. Pat runs to the back of the house where the doors are located. She is drawn to a scratching at one of them. She opens the observation panel on the door next to Judith's door. She opens the bolt on the trap door on the bottom of the door, but it slams shut. She peers inside the door at the top and is frightened by the distorted face that looks back at her. Pat screams and runs to the house. She runs straight into Wan who just stares at her. Martin comes along and comforts his wife. Martin explains they are research animals.

    Martin, his father, and Pat have lunch. After Pat leaves, Martin has another attack. His father helps him to a couch and then prepares an injection. He asks his son, "When did this start again?" Delambre tells his son they must proceed and quickly. Albert has become unreliable and Martin's marriage and the authorities snooping about have made him uncomfortable. A nurse (Mia Anderson) wakes Inspector Charas (Charles Carson) and tells him he has a telephone call. The old man is in a hospital bed and is wearing dark glasses. He is told by Ronet that he won't be visiting after all. When informed that Martin and Patricia Stanley are married, Charas replies, "Martin Delambre's married already, has been for years...Her name is Judith."

    A woman sits at the piano, playing with one hand. Judith (Mary Manson) struggles to play. Pat wakes in her room and hears the piano being played downstairs. She walks down to investigate. Judith becomes frustrated when her deformed left hand approaches the keys. Pat enters the room, turns on the lights, and is shocked to see the woman at the piano. Half of her face is a mass of tissue; it runs from forehead to chin covering her left eye. Judith covers her face with her deformed hand. Wan allows Pat to fall to the floor and tells the deformed woman, "Come Judith. It's time to go now." Judith limps across the room and accompanies Wan back to her cell outside. Pat wakes in bed when her husband returns. He tries to convince her it was a bad dream. Wan lies and denies seeing Pat in the conservatory or anyone playing the piano. While Martin comforts his wife, Delambre scolds Wan down in the lab. He tells her, "You will not let Judith out again, except by Mr. Martin's order or mine. Is that understood?" Martin comes into the lab and gets another injection by his father. "We've got to teleport Samuels and Dill to London immediately," he tells his son. Albert's job will be to dispose of the two test subjects. Martin asks about Judith, but his father reminds his son that since he remarried he must make that decision. The two men drug and return Samuels and Dill to the lab for transport, but one escapes.

    Charas does meet with Ronet. He explains the family history to the policeman. Ronet asks if there were any ill effects from the process, "No effect? No deformities?" "None that you can see," is the reply from Charas. Charas explains that Martin and his father are affected by the cold and also, at times, by a premature and very rapid aging. They have to have regular injections of a special serum. The other brother, Albert, is quite normal. The large deformed man attacks Martin in the lab. Delambre grabs a golf club and beats him almost to death. Martin calls his brother in London, but gets no answer. As father and son transport one body, Wan places a picture of Judith on Pat's nightstand. In her drugged state Pat reaches for it, but knocks the picture to the floor breaking the glass. In the lab, another body is transported and Martin again calls Albert in London. Delambre tells Albert he wants him to reintegrate immediately and dispose of the package. Albert reintegrates the combined subjects and is horrified by the writing mass of tissue in the chamber. He runs from the lab and returns with an axe.

    Delambre talks to Ronet on the telephone. He agrees to come to Montreal and discuss the situation. Martin sees his wife and tells her they have to go to the city. Martin confirms that Pat did see Judith and reluctantly admits to Pat that their experimental animals are actually humans and that Judith was one of the subjects. Ronet asks about Judith and is told they got a Mexican divorce. Ronet also asks about Samuels and Dill and is told they were exchange student lab assistants, and they left at the end of their terms. Ronet calls for a search warrant after the Delambres leave the office. At home, Judith finds bits of the broken glass from the picture frame. This confirms in her mind that she was not dreaming or hallucinating. Wan releases Judith from her cell and is attacked by Judith. Judith locks Wan inside the cell and goes to find Pat. Pat confronts Judith at the front door and then runs to the lab. Judith slowly follows, dragging her bandaged foot and leg. Tai opens the door for Pat just as Judith reaches her. Tai and Judith struggle in the lab, Tai knocks her out with a wrench. Tai releases Wan from the cell and they decide to leave. Tai tells Wan that he killed Judith. The two decide to use the teleporter to dispose of Judith's dead body first. As Martin carries Pat back to the house he sees the house lights dim, a sure sign the equipment is being powered up. Once inside the lab, Tai explains to all that Judith got away. Delambre dismisses the staff and tells Martin that Pat must be teleported to London. As Martin disposes of all their notes in the fire, Delambre implores Albert to help. But Albert refuses, "You murdered those men, and you made me a murderer too." Martin gets on the phone to talk to his brother. He pleads for his father. Martin tells his brother that he is sending his father through. Albert pleads, but Martin hangs up. Martin teleports his father, but he doesn't realize Albert has destroyed the London equipment, an axe still in the body of the Samuels/Dill reintegrated tissue in the reintegrater chamber. Tai and Wan depart the house just as Ronet arrives. Martin has placed Pat in the transporter. She wears the eye protecting goggles. Martin tries again and again to raise Albert on the radio. He collapses, but does manage to help Pat out of the teleporter. He again collapses but gets up and drags Pat outside. Ronet enters the lab, looks around, and returns to the conservatory. Martin collapses into the car, pleading for his wife's help. Inside the car, we see he has aged at least 50 years. Ronet gets on the phone and calls for reinforcements and puts out an APB on Tai and Wan. Pat runs into the conservatory to use the phone. Ronet confronts her. She directs the policeman outside to Martin. Ronet looks into the car and sees what is left of Martin: a skull and empty clothes. He returns to Pat and we close with Ronet escorting Pat inside the house, the cast credits, and the question, "Is this the end?"

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