Oct 31, 2014

Review: Return of the Fly (1959)

With a surprisng amount of depth, The Fly rose above its B-movie roots to be a more than competent movie. With some pretty serious implications and some slightly horrifying elements, it's just as good a movie as David Cronenberg's version. Just in a different way. Sadly, director Kurt Neumann died only a month after the premiere and never saw his movie become the hit that it did.

No doubt that it's too much to hope for Return of the Fly matching its predecessor from just a year earlier. At the very least it was nice to be able to look forward to Vincent Price back as Francois Delambre. The man is like silk onscreen and would probably never look out of place in any kind of role. Ever. He probably should've been the one cast as Genghis Khan, not John Wayne. They say hindsight is 20/20 though.


Genre: drama, horror, sci-fi
Directed by: Edward Bernds
Produced by: Bernard Glasser
Written by: Edward Bernds
Music by: Paul Sawtell, Bert Shefter
Running time: 80 minutes
Production company: Associated Producers
Distributed by: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Centfox, Fox Films, etc.
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $225,000
Box office: N/A

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Vincent Price, Brett Halsey, David Frankham, John Sutton, Dan Seymour, Danielle De Metz, Jack Daly, Janine Grandel, Michael Mark, Richard Flato



It's fifteen years after the death of Andre Delambre by what has been called a suicide. His wife has finally joined him in death after having been haunted by the event ever since. Their son Phillipe (Brett Halsey) however is determined to resume his father's work and complete it for him. His uncle Francois (Vincent Price) is completely against it and refuses any sort of help. This forces Andre to go it alone with an employee he hires from Delambre Frere, Alan Hines (David Frankham).


It would appear that Return of the Fly pits Andre vs. his uncle Francois. But that's before the real antagonist makes his appearance. It doesn't exactly make for the most entertaining film, especially if you compare it to the original. (Spoilers) You could say that Return of the Fly is more of a traditional monster movie as a result, with people meeting their unfortunate ends by silly man-fly attacks. (End Spoilers)

Brett Halsey as Andre isn't exactly that great to watch. The main reason for that is not being very adept at conveying emotion. There aren't many moments to really express any emotion anyhow, but he doesn't do a good job when he has the chance. As a character, Andre doesn't really have a lot going for him to make you root for him. Even with a flimsy would-be relationship with a woman he's known since childhood (Danielle De Metz).

Since the title is Return of the Fly, it's not really a surprise that we're going to have someone transforming into a man/fly hybrid with a fly/man hybrid also being created due to the mixing of atoms. Unfortunately there's no suspenseful reveal and there's no real effort at creating any kind of emotional response to the plight of the victim either.

The costume for the fly is maybe not as bad as I thought it would be, but it's not on par with the original either. I miss those moving mandibles too much and the design of the head as a whole really does just look like a man wearing a giant fly head. (Spoilers) The fly monster is given a couple of moments to be spooky such as standing behind a door to kill an unsuspecting victim, but not much else besides that. (End Spoilers)

What does look really bad though is the fly-man which has the human. The effect has aged very badly and the dialogue given to this creature is perhaps familiar, but comes off as completely comical. Compared to the way in which the fly/man was utilized in the original, we're missing all of the chilling effect that we had before.

Return of the Fly is maybe not as bad as I expected it to be, but it's way less engaging and far less impactful. It's clear that this is just a simple cash grab with Vincent Price brought along for the ride. There's no fight for humanity and no reason to really watch any of the fights in this film. It's a passable movie to kill some time and see Vincent Price, but not much else.



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