Plot: Consumed by his work, scientist 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 him to push on 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, an unlikely prospect. As such, he tests the device out on himself, but after a freak twist of fate his life is changed, possibly forever.
Entertainment Value: The Fly is a horror classic, a movie that builds some effective tension and atmosphere, then delivers a wild, memorable finale. I have read that some find the movie to be overly slow, but I don’t agree with that criticism. The pace is quite deliberate at times, but that is used to bolster the mood and crank up the tension, so to me, it is worth the time investment. I also don’t think the pace is much slower than most genre films from this period, so unless you have no attention span, you should be just fine here. The tone is a blend of horror and sci/fi, with a potent blast of mystery thrown in as well. The narrative is unfurled in effective fashion right from the start, with good character development and ever increasing tension, until the terrific finale sends us home with a smile. I think this one is just pure sci/fi horror fun. David Cronenberg’s remake might have a higher profile, but this original remains a genre classic and earns a high recommendation.
The cast of The Fly is small, but talented and I would think most viewers would be drawn here by Vincent Price’s presence. Price does what he would later do for countless genre movies, lend a degree of gravitas and respect to a rather silly concept, making the movie seem more dignified. I mean, not many actors can describe a human with the head of a fly and make it seem believable, but Price does so here and delivers a sincere effort that elevates the entire picture. But Patricia Owens isn’t about to outshone and she comes through with a great performance of her own. I love how intense she is and how she makes use of the tilted stereotype elements of the role. The movie also stars Herbert Marshall and David Hedison, while genre veteran Kurt Neumann would serve as the film’s director. I should also mention the special effects, which look quite cool, even if they’re not given much screen time here. Even so, the bursts of b movie monster vibes add a lot of fun to The Fly.