A scientist invents a teleportation device that causes him
to accidentally splice his DNA with that of a common housefly.
The Fly (1958)
Directed by Kurt Neumann
Written by James Clavell
Starring Vincent Price, Patricia Owens, David Hedison,
Herbert Marshall, Kathleen Freeman, Charles Herbert
Based on the short story by George Langelaan
The Fly is quintessential 1950's B-movie horror, though it never quite reaches the level of grotesque horror that the 1986 remake aspired to. I'm sure that in 1958 this film was something to behold, but now it just looks goofy compared to not just later monster movies, but films of the same era. When you look at Vincent Price in House of Wax and then The Fly, it's obvious which film wanted to be a horror movie and which wanted to be tongue-in-cheek.
The film deals mostly with the wife of the scientist who became the fly and her being at the center of a murder investigation. Patricia Owens plays Helene, but I never really buy her performance. I mean, her husband morphed into a manfly and she was forced to crush him in a hydraulic press. Yet, she never seems that broken up about it and even in the end, both she and her brother-in-law (Price) have just moved on with their happy lives despite all this unpleasantness having happened less than a week prior. It really takes you out of the movie, even more so than all the characters being French for some reason.
The manfly costume for David Hedison is nowhere near as frightening as the remake, but that's to be expected. What's really disappointing is that this film never goes to any of the logical places you would expect a film like this to go. We spend most of the film following a subdued Vincent Price as he investigates his brother's murder. I wanted violent murder, or at least some fly-on-fly violence. Instead, I get an extended episode of The Twilight Zone, and not a good one.