Thursday, December 30, 2010


This year Santa—through the agency of The Wife—brought me The Fly Collection, a DVD boxed set of The Fly (1958) & its sequels Return of the Fly (1959) & Curse of the Fly (1965) plus abundant bonus goodies. I was most excited to get this, especially when it occurred to me that I’d never actually seen the original Fly, even though I’d read & heard about & seen clips & stills from it to the point where it almost seemed like I had.

Now I have. Good flick! So…

Monster-of-the-Week: …this week our honoree is the hapless title character of this classic, a Montreal scientist experimenting with teleportation who transmits himself across his laboratory, not knowing that there’s a fly along for the ride. En route, man & insect swap their heads, plus a forelimb:

Al Hedison (later redubbed David Hedison) plays the poor fellow, & Patricia Owens his devoted wife, who starts chasing flies around the house & garden, trying to retrieve the one carrying a diminutive version of her husband’s melon. Vincent Price plays our hero’s brother, who witnesses something unpleasant in a spider web in the famous finale.

This really is a pretty effective picture, shot in lush color & played with an entirely straight face—a bit of an acting challenge, Vincent Price later claimed. The script, based on George Langelaan’s 1957 Playboy short story, was by James Clavell, & while most of his dialogue is reasonably literate, there are passages of hilarity. My favorite comes after the scientist has disintegrated his pet cat, who has failed to re-integrate. Asked where the cat went, he replies: “Into space…a stream of cat atoms. It would be funny, if life weren’t so sacred.

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