Sunday, January 25, 2015

#1,623. Return of the Fly (1959)

Directed By: Edward L. Bernds

Starring: Vincent Price, Brett Halsey, David Frankham

Tag line: "All new and more horrific than before!"

Trivia: The script was written specifically to use the standing sets from The Fly

Taking a page out of Universal’s Frankenstein series, Return of the Fly, a sequel to the 1958 classic The Fly, features a son who follows in his father’s footsteps, continuing an experiment that would have best been left alone.

Fifteen years after the untimely death of his father, Philippe Delambre (Brett Halsey) lays his mother to rest as well. Hoping he can shed some light on his family’s tumultuous past, Philippe implores his uncle, Francois (Vincent Price), to tell him what really happened to his father. Against his better judgment, Francois takes the young man to the remains of Andre Delambre’s laboratory, showing him the transporter chambers and explaining to Philippe how a tragic accident caused Andre to turn into a human fly. Anxious to prove to the world that his father was on the right track, Philippe decides to continue his research, aided at all times by his friend Alan (David Frankham), a British scientist who’s as eager as Philippe is to duplicate Andre Delambre’s experiments.

Unfortunately, Alan (whose real name is Ronald Holmes) has plans of his own for the transportation technology, and makes arrangements to sell the blueprints for the device, as well as all the research, to the highest bidder. When Philippe discovers what Alan is up to, the two men get into a fight, during which Philippe is knocked unconscious and placed in one of the transporter chambers. Hoping to make a quick exit, Alan switches the machine on, causing Philippe to disappear. Soon after, Francois, who was contacted by Philippe’s girlfriend Cecile (Danielle De Metz), shows up on the scene, and, realizing what’s happened, starts up the transporter in order to re-materialize his nephew. To Francois's horror, he finds that history has repeated itself: a fly ended up in the chamber with Philippe, and as a result, he and the insect have exchanged body parts (Philippe’s head, arm, and leg have been replaced with those of the fly)! As Francois works diligently to remedy the situation, Philippe sets out to exact revenge on the man he once called his friend.

Return of the Fly was obviously produced on a much smaller budget than the original; aside from being shot in black and white (The Fly was in color), the special effects aren’t nearly as good this time around (especially the lead character’s “fly-like” features, which are larger and more ungainly). On the plus side, the movie weaves an interesting tale, one that ties in nicely with the events from the first film while also bringing something new to the table (the deceitful Alan adds a bit of intrigue to the proceedings). On the acting front, Vincent Price does an admirable job as the over-protective uncle, and Brett Halsey is convincing as the brilliant but naïve Philippe.

In the end, Return of the Fly may not look as good as its predecessor, but what it lacks in production values, it makes up for in story.

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