The Fly (1958)
Directed by: Kurt Neumann. Written by: James Clavell, based on the short story by George Langelaan.
Plot: A science guy (David Hedison) invents a teleportation device for kicks (and for science). Unfortunately, when testing it out, he accidentally teleports himself along with a fly and ends up with a grotesque fly’s head!!!!!. His wife (Patricia Owens) must somehow deal with this.
Review: I really like this movie. It’s one of those things I saw at I think just the right age so that it freaked the hell out of me and has also stuck with me since then.
The movie is extremely... earnest. Almost too much so, but not quite. In fact, it's earnestness (which is, apparently, a word according to my computer) is at such a level that it is appealing to me.
Everything about the movie is totally adorable and at the same time hideous and grotesque!!!!!.
But really, I feel nothing but sympathy for the guy, his wife and the fly itself. Must suck to be that fly, I mean really. Particularly given the nature of the ending. Although, I will admit that he really didn't have to be doing that science thing he was doing. Actually, I thought they were being a little hard on him. As far as bad science stuff goes what he was doing wasn't that bad. Compare him, if you will, to Frankenstein, Moreau, Jeckyll (however the fuck you spell that), Vornoff. They were tampering with God's creations or whatever. The fly guy just didn't like going on planes. So I guess, in this movie, science is bad just coz it's science, which I can kind of get. Being a witch myself, I am not all that down with the science.
Anyway I thought that this movie was fairly clever. At the beginning we are told that the woman murdered her husband by crushing his head in a giant crusher at some factory. The curious part is that after crushing his head, she reset the crusher and then crushed his hand. Why?!.
The rest of the movie is told in flashback, unveiling the sad grotesque story of how he got to be the fly. And it is a sad story. Very sad indeed. It makes my eyes well up just thinking about it.
But anyway, the fly head looked really cool too. I remember after seeing this movie I drew nothing but people with fly heads for, like, a month. I don’t know where the drawings are, otherwise I’d share them with you. Some of them were actually not shitty. Oh fuck, I just had like this wave of flashbacks to this sketchbook I used to have somewhere. It had the fly, Frankenstein's monster and/or bride of frankenstein, creature from the black lagoon, the girl from The Ring and possibly the wolfman. Fuck. I wonder where that book is at. Course, I drew all this shit when I was, I dunno, thirteen or something, so it's probably not at awesome as I remember.
Moving on, this movie is also kind of scary. I mean, it’s just so horrible. It disturbed me anyway. Nothing like the remake, of course, but still. Quite awful.
I dunno. Just generally I thought it was a good movie. Patricia Owens’ performance was pretty good and there is something extremely chilling about it, even though it doesn’t really make sense in terms of science. While condemning science, the writer guy probably didn't, like, learn about it enough to make this movie work scientifically. The idea is there, though, man.
It’s also a really good movie for kids. Scared the hell out of me, sort of. I laughed, but was simultaneously terrified. Go figure.
Favourite Part: The final scene in which Vincent Price (as the guy’s brother) and Herbert Marshall (who plays a detective or something) discover the fly with a tiny human head caught in a web, about to be devoured by a spider, all the while screaming “Help me! Help meeeeeeeeee!!!!” in a high pitched voice, thus proving that the wife’s story was, in fact, the truth. The guys crush the man-fly and spider with a rock and vow never to speak of it again. This is one of the most hilarious scenes in movie history and yet it still haunts my dreams…
Other versions: The Cronenberg "re-imagining" from the eighties, one of the best movies ever.
Sequels: Return of the Fly, which is exactly the same only it ends happily and Curse of the Fly which I didn’t know existed until now.
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