The Fly 1958 Blu-ray Review - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Starring: David Hedison, Patricia Owens, Vincent Price, Herbery Marshall, Charles Herbert, Kathleen Freeman
  • Written By: George Langelaan (story), James Clavell
  • Directed By: Kurt Neumann
  • Original Year of Release: 1958
  • Run Time: 94 Minutes
  • Distributor: 20th Century Fox
  • Special Features: See Below
  • Series:

The Fly 1958 Blu-ray Review

A Stream of Cat Atoms

By Robert T. Trate     September 20, 2013
Source: Mania.com

There are those horror films that come and go as barely a blip on the pop culture radar and make no lasting impression. Perhaps it is because of the fantasy involved, transporting matter from one place to another, that allows it to endure. Maybe, just maybe, deep down it’s the romance between our two central characters? Regardless, The Fly (1958) by Kurt Neumann has endured and 55 years later, we celebrate the first Blu-ray release of this classic. 
 
The blu-ray release of The Fly highlights the fantastic colors that director Kurt Neumann brought to the picture. What truly shines is the mask (yes, mask) that David Hedison wore to portray a man that was truly half human and half fly. The mask, itself, is another great example of practical effects done properly. Granted, half the film is a tease, but that final reveal is legendary. The blu-ray transfer of the original Fly, with its colors, also brings up the fact that the sequels were shot in black and white. Though not uncommon in those days, it’s still sad that Fox bothered to give this film’s creepy and strange sequels the low budget treatment. 
 
The Fly is a strange tale, not just because of the transformation of the lead scientist, but the whole film is a mystery. The film opens his death by his wife. All the while their son holds the keys to their salvation. It is only in hindsight that we see this take place. The mystery, for the audience, is the hook of how it all happened. The trailer (seen below) is loaded with spoilers. Then again, how can it not be? Would we just walk into a horror movie without knowing what we would see? Would we watch a train on the railway for hours without the anticipation of a spectacular wreck? No. It is a full 28 minutes of mystery and character development and one hour and thirteen minutes pass before the title character debuts. Today, that would never happen. Even in the remake in 1986, they teased us with some great scares, but we knew Jeff Goldblum’s transformation was coming. Today, the audience wants more and no scares for practically thirty minutes would lose people. Yet, it’s funny that after 55 years, The Fly still scares us. 
 
Being that our main character, Andre (David Hedison,) loses the ability to speak, his wife, Helene (Patricia Owens), won’t speak, and their son (Charles Herbert) knows nothing we have Vincent Price. Price’s Francois is Andre’s caring brother. He needs to know why his brother’s wife may have killed the man she loved so much. Her story, as it unravels, is too spectacular to believe. All the puzzle pieces are there and it is up to Francois and Inspector Charas to put them together. 
 
The one historical item to take note of in the documentary “Fly Trap: Catching a Classic” is that Vincent Price, in 1958, is not synonymous with this type of picture. In fact, Price was seen as more of a character actor than a master of the macabre. Only two years prior, he was in Cecil B. DeMills’ The Ten Commandants. It was The Fly that pushed his career in a whole new direction.
 
The sad part is that all the special features on this blu-ray are the exact same which appeared in 2007,  The Fly Collection. The blu-ray is an incredible transfer, but with the tease of Return of the Fly and the highly regarded The Curse of the Fly discussed in “Fly Trap: Catching a Classic”, the 2007 release is more satisfying. The “Fox Movie Tone News” is fun and a strange look at what went into the film’s original premiere. The “Universal Monsters” even made an appearance at the screening! Ah, the days of old Hollywood.
 
Special Features
 
Commentary with Actor David Hedison and Film Historian David Del Valle
 
Biography: Vincent Price 
 
Fly Trap: Catching a Classic
 
Fox Movietone News (featuring The Fly San Francisco Release)
 

 

Robert Trate writes three columns for Mania: the DVD Shopping Bag, the Toy Maniac, and The Geek Life. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings, Cosplay photos and film criticisms.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 8 of 8
1 
mellowdoux 9/20/2013 10:30:47 AM

 A morsel of mind-melting madness. "The Fly" endures.

I give it two thumbs up.

Two severed thumbs...

CyanideRush 9/20/2013 10:53:09 AM

 Someone else's thumbs. 

Wyldstaar 9/20/2013 9:04:52 PM

Weird that they made a color trailer for a black & white movie.

doublec 9/21/2013 12:34:56 AM

The Fly is actually in color. The sequels were considerably cheaper so they're in black and white.
And while the fly mask certainly is one of the all time best, a mask is makeup, not an optical effect, so i really don't think it can be cited in the jihad against CGI.

wrrlykam 9/21/2013 10:02:28 AM

Neat. Looking forward to the two other Fox classic BDs to hit the UK in November; Fantastic Voyage and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

RobertTrate 9/21/2013 3:42:25 PM

 Wyldstar, it is also strange that all the press photos are in Black and white!

RobertTrate 9/21/2013 3:43:20 PM

 We should have a voyage review coming as we'll!

Wyldstaar 9/21/2013 7:32:33 PM

Now that I think about it, I probably watched The Fly on the crappy B&W television in my room when I was a kid.  The big color TV in the living room was usually being monopolized by my parents.  Plus, as Rob noted, the press materials only reinforced my early memories.

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