The Fly is part monster movie, part tragic romance. Although initially written off as a cheesy B movie, the original 1958 The Fly is deeper than most. I was always curious about the movie, but I only ever saw the most iconic scene at the very end. The Fly refers to a scientist who turns himself into a half-human half-fly hybrid after inventing a way to transport matter. A particularly hilarious Simpsons parody was my only exposure to the concept. The idea came from a French short story, yet the movie takes place in Canada. Despite being released in the 50’s, The Fly is in color.
People may think Vincent Price is the fly, but he’s actually the brother. Even though I already knew the twist, The Fly is presented as an old fashioned murder mystery. Price is François, brother of scientist André who was killed in a hydraulic press. He investigates the case alongside an Inspector played by Robert Marshall. The true star of the picture is Patricia Owens as loving housewife Hélène. They think she’s mad, but her fly obsession is explained in an extended flashback.
Unknown actor David Hedison is the titular fly since his face is covered for most of the movie. The reveal is still pretty shocking with a convincing fly head and arm. Hélène, her housekeeper, and son Philippe desperately search for a fly with a white head that isn’t revealed until the very end. The most disturbing moment is the fly stuck in a spider’s web screaming “Help me!” Things end tragically for the fly, but it’s a happy ending for everyone else. The Fly is an inventive way to tell a monster story.
Followed by: Return of the Fly