Tuesday, 21 September 2010

The Fly (1958) Kurt Neumann

The Fly (1958) directed by Kurt Neumann and based on the short story by George Langelaan is a classic story about a science experiment gone wrong, very wrong. Humble scientist and family man Andre Delambre is the inventor of a teleportation device. After a few failed experiments and possibly sending a cat into space, Andre perfects his machine and decides to test it on himself. Andre is apparently not a very careful scientist as he fails to notice that a Fly is in the pod with him. When he teleports his molecules get all messed up with the fly, and he emerges a hideous hybrid. This makes me wonder why he didn’t also merge with his clothing, o well it’s not important.

We don’t actually see the accident, and we don’t see the fly creatures face until near the end of the movie. He keeps a sheet over his head and only communicates with letters and banning on tables. This is an effective way to build anticipation. I personally couldn’t wait to see the fly head even if it was cheesy as hell. The only way Andre can be turned back is to capture the fly and go through the teleport with it again. He’s wife, son and house maid come close to catching the fly but it escapes somehow. Seriously how hard is it to catch a fly? As a last resort, in order to prevent this mistake happening again, and to stop the fly taking over his mind Andre destroys his work. He then politely asks his wife to brutally murder him using a giant vice to crush his head.  She dose as requested.

Most of the movie is actually told in flashback so we end up back were we started just after Andre’s death. The movie ends with the authorities about to arrest Andre’s wife for murder. However the Fly who caused all the trouble turns up again caught in a spider’s web and about to be eaten. A detective crushes the creature with a rock and Andre’s wife is pardoned. This sequence struck me funny when I first watched it, but I can easily see how in the 50s it might have been fairly disturbing.

I was looking forward to seeing this movie because I am a fan of the David Cronenberg 1986 remake, and had never seen the original. Overall I really enjoyed this movie, I know it’s cheesy and dated but that added to my enjoyment more than it detracted. I also found the story genuinely engaging and suspenseful. Another great thing about this movie is that it rarely resorts to clichĂ©; we never see the creature on a rampage like most monster movies. The theme of science and responsibility is timeless just look at Jurassic Park (1993).
In conclusion this movie is more than a little dated, but very enjoyable if you’re in the right state of mind.

1 comment:

  1. nice observation re. Jurassic Park - the 'science kills' theme is timeless - though actually, it's more accurately 'Playing God kills' - check out the idea of 'Hubris' - all these narratives are cautionary tales re. the dangers of hubris; a good example of hubris in real world stories is the Titanic - the 'ship that couldn't sink' (um - except it did!).