The Fly Collection: (The Fly / Return Of The Fly / The Curse Of The Fly)
DVD | Box Set
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Disc 1: THE FLY 1958 Disc 2: THE RETURN OF THE FLY 1959 Disc 3: THE CURSE OF THE FLY 1965 Disc 4: BONUS DISC
A bonafide must-have for classic science fiction fans, The Fly Collection brings together the original 1958 chiller with Return of the Fly and Curse of the Fly, its 1959 and 1965 sequels, respectively, and treats fans to a wealth of terrific supplemental features and improved image quality. Kurt Neumann's The Fly has lost little of its punch in the 50 years since its release; though it lacks the visceral shock of David Cronenberg's 1986 remake, James Clavell's script expands upon the original source material by author George Langelaan with a maturity and depth that was rarely seen in movie science fiction from the period, and the performances by Vincent Price, Herbert Marshall, and David Hedison (billed as Al Hedison) as the ill-fated scientist whose experiments with matter transferal leave him with the human-sized head of a fly (one of the indelible images of '50s sci-fi) are tightly reined and believable. Quickly generated to cash in on The Fly's box office windfall, Return of the Fly is decidedly less solid than its predecessor--it's a basic retread of the original, with Brett Halsey as Hedison's son making the same mistake as his father--but as pure B-movie entertainment, it delivers the goods, and the returning Vincent Price lends his usual air of credibility. The final entry in the Fly franchise, the little-seen Curse of the Fly, makes its U.S. DVD debut with this set; it's pulpy fun at best, but genre veteran Don (Hammer's Kiss of the Vampire) Sharp brings some surprising moments of surrealism to the proceedings, most notably in the hallucinatory opening sequence (Carole Gray flees the grounds of a dark estate clad only in her white undergarments) and its parade of horrific failed genetic experiments.
The Fly Collection offers all three films in single discs (each featuring reproductions of the films' original poster art), as well as a fourth disc, The Disc of Horrors, which provides a barrage of related extras. Image-wise, the look of the films is top-notch; The Fly is a marked improvement over the 2000 DVD release, with the rich DeLuxe colors and vivid detail of the original CinemaScope presentation receiving a marvelous showcase. Even the lesser quality of Return and Curse's black-and-white lensing looks crisp and largely spot-free. Sound is also superior (Fly is Dolby Digital 4.0, and Return and Curse have Dolby Digital monaural and Dolby Digital Stereo options), and Hedison is featured in a commentary on Fly that's filled with production reminiscences. The Disc of Horrors is the real treat in the set; not only is Price's 1997 profile from A&E's Biography series included, but there's also Fly Trap: Catching a Classic, a solid overview of all three films featuring Hedison and Halsey, as well as film historians David Del Valle and Donald F. Glut, among others (some of the pertinent details are also covered in the set's insert booklet). Theatrical trailers for each film (and TV spots for Return and Curse), reproductions of the original pressbooks (which can be viewed in detail), domestic and international lobby cards, promotional photos (the best of which is a shot of Hedison in full fly makeup listening patiently to co-star Patricia Owens), and a 1958 newsreel that covered the first Fly's premiere in San Francisco. -Paul Gaita
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I bought the stand-alone FLY Blu-Ray, and substituted IT for the FLY,
here... and gave away the older FLY.
I'm sounding like an "bug-doctor" eh?
Great collection of Fly flicks!
By now, of course, the basic plot of this film is well known. When a scientist experimenting with the electronic teleportation of matter uses himself as a guinea pig, some of his atoms are inadvertently mixed with those of a housefly that has managed to sneak into the machinery with him, and the result is quite a pesky problem for the scientist, his loving wife, and his milquetoast brother.
Vincent Price delivers one of his best performances ever in THE FLY. More restrained and earnest than in his later wonderful but over-the-top performances of the '60s and 70's, Price is very affecting as Francois Delambre, a meek businessman who, in coping with his brother's hideous accident, must comfort his sister-in-law while staving off the overzealous police. The beautiful Patricia Owens gives a strong performance as Helene Delambre, a woman who finds the inner strength she needs to protect her husband, even though protecting him might also mean destroying him. And David Hedison, as scientist Andre Delambre, and Herbert Marshall, as Inspector Charas, also do quite adequately.
Even after almost 45 years, the special effects in THE FLY hold up quite well. Although the depiction of computers is a bit outdated, the teleporation effects are very convincing. They are just flashy enough to give a sense of technological wonder, but restrained enough to avoid that garish visual hyperbole common to a lot of '50s sci-fi. So, too, with the make-up effect for the human-fly hybrid. It is quite realistic and eerie, and it still manages to shock modern viewers in spite of all the amazing advancements in cinema make-up that have taken place since.
There are, of course, the inevitable comparisons with David Cronenberg's 1986 remake of the film. Cronenberg's version is admittedly more in-tune with modern scientific knowledge. Also, his special effects are more modern and very realistic, and his actors are superb working with a script that is quite literate. But in many ways the original 1958 version is much more engaging, and it has a climax that is, psychologically speaking, much creepier. Cronenberg's film may be a masterpiece of modern sci-fi horror, but the 1958 version of THE FLY is undoubtedly a classic.
This DVD version of THE FLY comes paired with 1959's THE RETURN OF THE FLY. In spite the presence of Price in a reprise of his role in the original film, this sequel is far inferior to the first. The story is weak, the special effects are cheesy, and, with the exception of Price, the acting is sub-par. However, the DVD is very modestly priced, making it worth purchasing just to get original THE FLY.