The Fly (1958)

THE FLY (1958)
Article #1682 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-22-2005
Posting Date: 3-21-2006
Directed by Kurt Neumann
Featuring David Hedison, Patricia Owens, Vincent Price

When a woman with a fly obsession admits to having crushed her husband to death in a steel press, her brother-in-law and the inspector on the case both try to get the full story of what happened. It turns out that the husband had been dabbling in experiments with matter transmission, and that something went horribly wrong….

Though this movie has a good reputation, it rarely makes lists of the best science fiction movies of the period for some reason. Actually, I can somewhat understand this; one of the odd things about this movie is that some of the most memorable scenes unintentionally walk a thin line between the horrific and the comic (the scene where Delambre tries to control his arm and the scene in the web come to mind), and how you react to them may be dependent on your mood at the time. I have a strong affection for this one myself; I love the mystery elements that play into the first thirty minutes of the film, I really like all the characters and care what happens to them, and some moments are incredibly powerful (the aforementioned scene with the arm and his last scrawled message on the blackboard are quite powerful). David Hedison does a wonderful job in a part that at certain times only allows him to communicate his feelings via one arm and body language, and Patricia Owens is solid throughout. Vincent Price and Herbert Marshall also do well, though Price is oddly cast here in a role that largely keeps him on the periphery of the plot. The weakest moment in the movie to these eyes is the one where Price and Marshall conjure up a false story to save Helene from being arrested and/or committed; it’s too contrived and even a touch too light-hearted for the movie.

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