THE FLY COLLECTION
The 1958 version of THE FLY is the genuine article- a true genre classic, which in many ways exceeds ones expectations for a science fiction movie. Sure, the film does have its detractors, but those individuals generally don’t care for genre movies to begin with. THE FLY was produced in CinemaScope and featured excellent production values, solid acting and an intelligent screenplay from James Clavell, who went onto pen such novels as Shogun and Noble House. Unlike a typical genre movie, THE FLY plays like a mystery for about three-quarters of its running time, and only in its final act does it switch gears to become a potent science fiction/horror story. Almost the entire plot is revealed in a flashback sequence, which shows the events that lead to the death of scientist Andre Delambre (David Hedison- billed here as Al Hedison) and why his loving wife Helene (Patricia Owens) has confessed to killing him. The cast of THE FLY also features Vincent Price as Helene’s supportive brother-in-law François and Herbert Marshall as police Inspector Charas. Look for prolific character actress Kathleen Freeman in a small role as a maid.
RETURN OF THE FLY
Unlike THE FLY, RETURN OF THE FLY was the type of grade "B" programmer that generally played the bottom half of a double feature in the good old days of motion picture entertainment. Without the need to keep the audience guessing, RETURN OF THE FLY doesn’t make an attempt inventive storytelling, going straight to work to tell a story of scientific experimentation gone horribly wrong. Picking up the story some years after the death of scientist Andre Delambre, with his son Philippe (Brett Halsey) finally learning the circumstances of his father’s death from his uncle François (Vincent Price). Deciding that he must vindicate his father, Philippe returns to work on the scientific experiment, which ultimately cost Andre Delambre his life. Unfortunately, Philippe follows in his father’s footsteps a little too closely and has a matter transportation accident similar to the one that befell his father. The plot of RETURN OF THE FLY contains no surprises, but the film does up the ante on gore, shocks and violence.
THE CURSE OF THE FLY
Remaining at the level of a grade "B" programmer, THE CURSE OF THE FLY offers some sci-fi chills thrills and jolts, although the title monster fails to make an appearance. THE CURSE OF THE FLY tells the story of another generation of Delambre family and their attempts to perfect the technology originally developed by Andre Delambre. However, this time out, shades of REBECCA and JANE EYRE emerge, when Martin Delambre (George Baker) brings home a new wife named Patricia (Carole Gray), who comes up against the "ghost" of a first wife, who turns out to be the victim of a failed scientific experiment. Look for Brian Donlevy in the role of driven family patriarch Henri Delambre, whose desire for scientific success drives this third chapter towards its tragic conclusion. The cast of THE CURSE OF THE FLY also includes Yvette Rees, Burt Kwouk, Mary Manson, Michael Graham, Rachel Kempson and Jeremy Wilkins.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made all three films that compromise THE FLY COLLECTION available on DVD in a 2.35:1 widescreen presentations that have been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. Three cheers for Fox, as they have improved upon the presentations on the previously released THE FLY and RETURN OF THE FLY, plus they give THE CURSE OF THE FLY its long overdue DVD debut in this collection. First and foremost, THE FLY boasts better-looking colors and an overall superior appearance to the previous release. Sharpness and detail are all one can expect from the CinemaScope lenses of the period, plus the DeLuxe color is wonderfully vibrant. RETURN OF THE FLY and THE CURSE OF THE FLY are both black and white films that have been given really fine looking transfers. Both boast crisp and nicely defined images, plus deep blacks, stable whites and nicely varied grayscale. Very few signs of age affect the film elements, although THE CURSE OF THE FLY does display the most blemishes (which aren’t all that many). Digital compression artifacts are not a concern anywhere across the set.
THE FLY is presented with a Dolby Digital 4.0 channel soundtrack, which directly ports the film’s fifties style sound mix into one’s home theater. There is some directional dialogue is across the forward soundstage in relation to the characters on screen position. However, the actors’ voices are cleanly reproduced. Surround information is very limited, occurring only during a few key moments. Additionally, there are the expected frequency limitations that one finds in recordings that are over forty years old, although distortion is not a problem, making the track worth amplifying to recreate that fifties movie theater experience. RETURN OF THE FLY and THE CURSE OF THE FLY come with Dolby Digital monaural and re-mixed Dolby Digital Stereo tracks, which decode to standard surround. The remixed tracks are front heavy and generally come across as nicely spread monaural. Spanish language tracks are present across the board, while the original also includes a French language track. English and Spanish subtitles are present on all three films, while French subtitles have been included RETURN OF THE FLY and THE CURSE OF THE FLY.
Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features. Actor David Hedison and historian David Del Valle are on hand for a running Audio Commentary on THE FLY. The remaining supplements are relegated to the fourth disc in the collection entitled The Fly Collection: Disc Of Horrors. Starting things off is a 1997 episode of the television series Biography focusing on actor Vincent Price. Fly Trap: Catching A Classic features a series of interviews, including actors David Hedison and Brett Halsey discussing the production, impact and sequels to THE FLY. Supplements specific to THE FLY include a Theatrical Trailer, Playboy Article, Photo Gallery, plus Lobby Cards And Posters. Supplements specific to RETURN OF THE FLY include a Theatrical Trailer, TV Spots, Photo Gallery, plus Lobby Cards And Posters. Supplements specific to THE CURSE OF THE FLY include a Theatrical Trailer, Pressbook Gallery, Photo Gallery, plus Lobby Cards And Posters.
As I stated above, THE FLY is a true genre classic. RETURN OF THE FLY and THE CURSE OF THE FLY are sauce for the goose and the bonus disc is what makes THE FLY COLLECTION take flight. Recommended to genre fans.
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