Plot: What’s it about?
In The Fly a scientist is the midst of a breakthrough series of experiments and has become obsessed with completing his work on the issue. Consumed by his work Andre Delambre (David Hedison) forges ahead and takes little time off, especially once his preliminary experiments turn out in his favor. The purpose of these experiments is very unique, as Andre attempts to transfer matter from one place to another in quick fashion and little effort. If Andre can perfect the technique it would change everything from travel to simple everyday activities, which drives Andre to finish it and make it work. As he is able to succeed in the smaller tests he decides to advance to human subjects, but for that he would need a volunteer. He tests the device out on himself, but after a freak twist of fate his life is changed, possibly forever. The events in Return Of The Fly are close to the previous movie, but this time around Andre’s son Phillipe (Brett Halsey) decides to continue the dangerous experiments and enlists his uncle Francois (Vincent Price) to assist him. But much like his father, Phillipe runs into trouble and ends up a mutant because of some treachery. With time running out on the chance for a reversal, can Phillipe manage to turn himself back to normal?
In an appreciated motion, Fox has issued both the classic 1958 version of The Fly along with the sequel that followed, Return Of The Fly. As with most movie series the original is the better film, but the sequel is good and with this double feature you can pick them both up at a reasonable asking price. So whether you like the first film, second film, or both this release makes for an affordable and worthwhile item to add to your collection. I could watch the original movie time and again and never tire of it, thanks to the excellent suspense, which builds the entire movie and never lets up in the least. This is good since it’s a suspense/thriller movie and of course, having Vincent Price around only serves to add even more tension. The visuals are also very cool and this movie proves that you don’t need buckets of blood to craft an effective horror picture. The sequel falls short of the original, but it still makes for an entertaining watch if you like science-fiction horror or Vincent Price. Sure it can be silly at times and the make up isn’t that impressive, but I’m pleased to see it included on this double feature. I recommend this release as a rental to those first time viewers, but fans of this series will want to purchase this double feature without hesitation.
The director of The Fly was Kurt Neumann, who has a wide and varied resume of films to his credit. While it seems that westerns and adventure movies were his knack, Neumann shows no faults with this work on this film which means he must have had some skills in the suspense business. The suspense comes from the actors of course, but also from the fashion in which Neumann arranges the visuals which adds a lot to the atmosphere of the movie. The movement and such is more basic, but the compositions look terrific at all times. If you want to see more of Neumann’s movies I recommend She Devil, Rocketship X-M, and Kronos. Vincent Price (The Raven, Edward Scissorhands) gives a spectacular turn in this film and reprises his role in the follow up as well. The rest of the cast includes David Hedison (Live And Let Die), Patricia Owens (Five Gates To Hell), and Herbert Marshall (I Was A Spy). Retur n Of The Fly was written and directed by Edward Bernds, who directed a movie in every genre you could imagine. In this movie he seems to veer from the original on many issues, but still deliver a watchable movie. If you want to see more of Bernds’ movies I recommend The Three Stooges In Orbit, Dig That Uranium, Reform School Girl. Price returns to the series and plays his usual solid turn, though more campish that the original role. The rest of the cast includes John Sutton (The Bat), Brett Halsey (Beyond Justice), and David Frankham (Tales Of Terror).
Video: How does it look?
The Fly is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is a beautiful visual presentation and while some flaws emerge, I am pleased with this transfer. As with most films this old some debris and wear signs are evident, but not nearly as much as I expected so I am very happy. The colors are vibrant and full, with no smearing in the least and natural, warm flesh tones. I also found no complaints with the contrast, which displays deep, complex shadows and no detail loss I was able to locate. I also want to note that I saw no traces of compression artifacts, this is a wonderful transfer!
Return Of The Fly is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I think it’s humorous that the sequel to a color movie is black & white, but that aside this is a terrific transfer. I think the black & white format works very well for this type of movie and this is a gorgeous visual presentation, much sharper than I expected in fact. The shades are well balanced and I never saw any blooming or overly dark regions, which means detail level is high and natural. As I mentioned the image is very sharp and shows little signs of how old it is, which is also impressive to say the least. The source print looks very clean and I found no instances of compression errors.
Audio: How does it sound?
The Fly uses a 4.0 surround track and while this isn’t a movie to show off your system with, this mix does sound very good and replicated it all very well. There isn’t much in terms of powerful audio at any time really, but some scenes do use audio to raise the suspense a few notches and this mix reflects that well. The sound effects come through loud and clear and again nothing to shake the speakers, but the mix handles it all without trouble. The dialogue is crisp at all times and I found no volume errors, either. This release also contains a 2.0 surround track and a French mono version, as well as English and Spanish subtitles.
Return Of The Fly features a brand new 2.0 surround track that offers a nice audio experience, even though the movie doesn’t call for much audio power. I found little in terms of directional use at all, but when it needed to be there it was so I am not going to be too harsh in my grade. I mean if the movie doesn’t need it, why worry about it at all? This track kicks in when it has to which isn’t often, but enough. I’d rather have a natural sounding track with less power than one that seemed forced or hollow, that’s for sure. All the elements seem clear and distinct, which is all you can expect from a film like this. The dialogue comes through well and never distorts or becomes inconsistent. You’ll also find mono tracks in English and French as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
You’ll find theatrical trailers for both films as well as some bonus trailers for other Fox double features.