Twentieth Century Fox
“No, Helene and Andre believed in the sacredness of life. They wouldn’t harm anything…not even a fly.”
Scientist Andre Delambre becomes obsessed with his latest creation, a matter transporter. He has varying degrees of success with it. He eventually decides to use a human subject, himself, with tragic consequences. During the transference, his atoms become merged with a fly, which was accidentally let into the machine. He winds up with the fly’s head and one of its arms and the fly winds up with Andre’s head and arm. Eventually, Andre’s wife Helene discovers his secret, and she must make a decision whether to let him continue to live like that or to do the unthinkable and euthanize him to end his suffering.
The Fly is one of those 20th Century science fiction classics that seems to remain in the public conscience as one of the more popular of the genre. Myself, I’m of the generation that was introduced to The Fly by way of David Cronenberg’s 1986 remake, and getting around to watching the 1959 original was delayed due more to my sense of, “Eh, that’s old, so it can’t be any good than this one here” than being able to find it to watch. Even as I got older and developed a way better appreciation for the classics of the genres I love so very much, it took maybe longer than it should have before I finally forced myself to sit down and watch this iteration of The Fly. And let me tell you, I’m glad I did that.
Based on a 1957 short story, and told mainly in flashback, we find a scientist working on a kind of matter transporter device for the benefit of humanity or some crap like that. After success with inanimate object, he then tests a cat, which doesn’t end very well, and then decides the next step would be to test on a human subject, because what does logic have to do with science? He’s then suddenly reclusive, having not come up from the lab for a few days, and when his wife shows up to investigate why, she’s in for the shock of her life. Usually, one would insert an exclamation point at the end of that last sentence, but I’m not a fan of those, so feel free to mentally insert one in there yourself as you read it over. There. Moving on, it seems that, when the mad doctor (because at this point, you’ve got to go ahead and accept the title) tested the teleporter himself, seems there was a house fly that decided to come along for the ride, and now he has the head and one of his hands of a fly, and that fly that came with him has the doctor’s head. Again, go ahead and juxtapose an exclamation point at the end of that one, as well.
Overall, I found this version of The Fly to be rather enjoyable. The acting was decent, something of a bit more serious than your standard B-Movie level of acting. Vincent Price is always enjoyable, and here as the brother to the scientist. This is more like a really good episode of The Twilight Zone made on a better budget at the time, rather than your shock-o-ramma sci-fi schlock. The spider-web scene is one of those highly iconic scenes that have been referenced and parodied to good effect over the years (my favorite being in one of the Tree House Of Horror episodes of The Simpsons back in the day), and is known about even if you haven’t ever seen the entire movie, like I did. And now that I have watched the movie, I can cross it off my list of WATCH THIS NOW BEFORE YOU DIE movies, and urge you all to check it out yourselves if you haven’t already.