Return of the Fly


1h 20m 1959
Return of the Fly

Brief Synopsis

Attempting to duplicate his father's work on matter transmission, a scientist turns himself into a monster.

Film Details

Genre
Horror
Sequel
Sci-Fi
Release Date
Aug 1959
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Associated Producers, Inc.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Fly" by George Langelaan in Playboy (Jun 1957).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

In Montreal, Canada, at the funeral of his sister-in-law, Helene DeLambre, François DeLambre muses how Helene was destroyed by memories of a dreadful horror that had occurred years earlier. When an inquisitive journalist raises the specter of Helene's past, police Inspector Beecham, who investigated the death of André DeLambre, Helene's husband, silences the man. Upset by the journalist's queries, André's son Philippe asks François to retell the story of his father's death. Taking Philippe to the old family foundry, François shows his nephew André's ravaged laboratory and warns that his father's demise was a result of venturing into an area of knowledge in which man was not meant to go. François explains that André, who while researching the transmission of molecular structure in space through disintegration and reintegration of matter, was in the process of transmitting himself when a fly entered the chamber, transforming him into a man with the head and arm of a fly. With Helene's help, André destroyed himself by smashing his head and arm in a machine press. François' revelation only deepens Philippe's resolve to vindicate his father's experiments, and after hiring scientist Alan Hinds as his assistant, Philippe establishes a new lab at his late grandfather's mansion outside Montreal. After retrieving his father's papers, Philippe is distracted by the ominous buzzing of a fly. Three weeks later, Philippe is running out of money when François visits to voice his disapproval. When Philippe threatens to sell his half interest in the family factory to finance his research, François relents and agrees to back the project. Later, in Montreal, Alan visits Max Berthold, a well-known fence of stolen property who uses a mortuary as a front to conduct illicit business. Max, who knows that Alan is escaped British fugitive Ronald Holmes, agrees to sell the plans for the disintegrator-reintegrator, which Alan intends to steal. Inspector Evans, a British police officer on Alan's trail, follows to the mortuary, and later, Philippe drives past and spots Alan leaving the place. Sometime later, after successfully transmitting an ashtray and a guinea pig, Philippe decides to attempt a delayed reintegration, leaving a disintegrated rat in the chamber over night. That night, Alan sneaks back into the lab to photograph Philippe's diagrams. When Inspector Evans comes to arrest him, Alan throws him into the chamber and flicks the switch, causing him to disintegrate. When Alan reintegrates the inspector, he has the hands and face of the rat, and the inspector's head is now attached to the rat. Repulsed, Alan crushes the squealing rat, then drags the inspector's body to his car and drives it off a cliff. Upon returning to the lab, Alan is startled by Philippe, who inquires about the blood stain on the floor. When Philippe questions Alan's statements and produces the inspector's discarded handcuffs, the two struggle. Alan soon overpowers Philippe, knocks him unconscious and locks him in the chamber. Recalling Philippe's phobia of flies, Alan tosses an insect into the machine and then disintegrates them both. As Alan grabs the diagrams and runs out the back, François arrives, alerted by housekeeper Mme. Bonnard and her beautiful daughter Cecile. François tries to stop Alan, but Alan shoots him and drives off. After dressing François' wounds, Mme. Bonnard and Cecile help him down into the lab. Hearing police sirens wailing in the distance, François instructs Mme. Bonnard to delay the officers. Once in the lab, François throws the switch, and Philippe reappears, crowned with the head of a fly. While Sgt. Dubois pursues Philippe into the woods, a tiny fly bearing Philippe's head calls for help. After collapsing, François is transported to the hospital for treatment, and when he awakens, he demands to see Beecham. Beecham then arrives, and after François apprises him of the situation, Beecham volunteers to return to the lab and search for the fly. Philippe, meanwhile, stalks and kills Max at the mortuary while Beecham finds the squalling fly and places it safely in a jar. At the mortuary, Alan finds Max's body laid out on a slab, and Philippe then slips from the shadows, strangles him and stuffs his body into a casket. Soon after, François returns home to the news that Beecham has found the fly, but nevertheless worries that Philippe may no longer possess a human mind or consciousness. After Philippe appears, terrifying Cecile, Beecham leads him into the lab and places him in the chamber with the fly, and François then switches on the machine, miraculously restoring Philippe to his former self.

Film Details

Genre
Horror
Sequel
Sci-Fi
Release Date
Aug 1959
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Associated Producers, Inc.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Fly" by George Langelaan in Playboy (Jun 1957).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

Return of the Fly


Following the smash success of The Fly (1958), one of the most grotesque major studio monster films of its era, it was a natural for 20th Century Fox to commission a sequel. The studio threw more money at the production (around $275,000) but decided to shoot the film in black-and-white versus the blazing color of the first film (but still in the studio's trademark CinemaScope) and brought back only one of the stars, Vincent Price, as concerned uncle François of the tragic Delambre family.

As any monster movie fan knows, the original film dealt with the grisly consequences of scientist Andre Delambre's experiments in teleportation, which wound up swapping part of his body with a fly that slips into the chamber at just the wrong moment. That film was based on a short story published in Playboy by George Langelaan and adapted by none other than James "Shogun" Clavell, but this time both directing and writing duties for the story of Andre's son Philippe were handed over to Edward Bernds, a longtime Hollywood veteran who started off as a sound technician at the dawn of the sound era and became a trusted colleague on several Frank Capra productions. The same year The Fly was released, Bernds had moved from directing numerous short subjects and a handful of Blondie comedies to tackling a very different sci-fi film: the Zsa Zsa Gabor vehicle Queen of Outer Space, which was perfectly in line with his comfortable segue into drive-in filmmaking alongside World Without End (1956) and High School Hellcats (1958).

Bringing Price back was no mean feat given the actor's very busy schedule in 1959, which also saw him appearing in The Big Circus, The Bat, and two legendary films for William Castle, House on Haunted Hill and The Tingler. Of course, Price would go on to launch into a string of AIP productions the following year featuring his popular cycle of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations for Roger Corman, which would permanently cement his horror icon status. On several occasions the witty Price commented that this sequel to The Fly should have been titled The Zipper and stated that he was excited by the original screenplay, which was stripped down by the time it went before the cameras for the independent production company Associated Producers with Fox distributing. Return of the Fly would ultimately go out to audiences as a Fox double feature on 1600 screens with another AP title, The Alligator People (1959), which was also a CinemaScope black-and-white monster offering.

Despite his issues with the script revisions (including heavy cuts to the family relationships and more emotional moments), Price soldiered on. As he remarked in Joel Eisner's The Price of Fear, "It was not a bad film, in fact, it was quite exciting. When I first read the script, I was very excited about the possibilities as it was one of those rare cases when the sequel proved to be better than the original. Unfortunately, the producers, in obvious bad judgment, proceeded to put in a lot of gimmicks in the belief that films need gimmicks to be popular. I also thought it was ridiculous to shoot it in black and white."

One other significant character from the original film was intended to come back in the original screenplay, the character of Inspector Charas played by Herbert Marshall, but instead the part became John Sutton's Inspector Beacham in the final version. Neither the cast nor director knew why Marshall wasn't asked to return but speculated it may have been due to financial issues.

The main new cast member here is young Brett Halsey, a Fox contract player who had starred in Bernds' High School Hellcats and also appeared in another 1959 Fox film, the much-loved melodrama The Best of Everything, and would also appear in Return to Peyton Place (1961). He and Price would team up again for one segment of the three-story Nathaniel Hawthorne horror anthology, Twice-Told Tales (1963), which was marketed to cash in on Price's Poe series. Like many American actors of his generation, Halsey would find success going to Italy for a string of unexpected projects including two films for Mario Bava, Roy Colt and Winchester Jack (1970) and Four Times That Night (1971), and after a long stint in television, a trio of films for Lucio Fulci, The Devil's Honey (1986), Touch of Death (1988), and Demonia (1990), or four if you count the cannibalized footage of him used in A Cat in the Brain (1990).

Of course, once Halsey is affected by his trip through the teleportation machine, the creature was actually played by someone else: Ed Wolff, a circus giant previously seen as the robot in The Phantom Creeps (1939) and the title character in The Colossus of New York (1958). As Bernds recalled, "He had very low endurance. With that head on and that heavy costume, we had to be very careful with him; we were afraid he'd have a heart attack and die! When we required him to run or anything, we'd have to give him several minutes to rest up."

Despite middling reviews and toned-down monster mayhem (apart from a memorably twisted vignette involving a guinea pig), Return of the Fly was a financial success and spawned a third film in the series, the stylish British production Curse of the Fly (1965) directed by Don Sharp. After that the property would remain dormant until David Cronenberg gave it a drastic overhaul for his successful, Oscar-winning version of The Fly (1986). Oddly enough, that film would be followed by a sequel of its own, The Fly II (1989), which followed the lead of Return of the Fly by inflicting new teleportation horrors on the son of the original film's ill-fated fly-human hybrid--but without Vincent Price around this time to help him get through the ordeal.

By Nathaniel Thompson
Return Of The Fly

Return of the Fly

Following the smash success of The Fly (1958), one of the most grotesque major studio monster films of its era, it was a natural for 20th Century Fox to commission a sequel. The studio threw more money at the production (around $275,000) but decided to shoot the film in black-and-white versus the blazing color of the first film (but still in the studio's trademark CinemaScope) and brought back only one of the stars, Vincent Price, as concerned uncle François of the tragic Delambre family. As any monster movie fan knows, the original film dealt with the grisly consequences of scientist Andre Delambre's experiments in teleportation, which wound up swapping part of his body with a fly that slips into the chamber at just the wrong moment. That film was based on a short story published in Playboy by George Langelaan and adapted by none other than James "Shogun" Clavell, but this time both directing and writing duties for the story of Andre's son Philippe were handed over to Edward Bernds, a longtime Hollywood veteran who started off as a sound technician at the dawn of the sound era and became a trusted colleague on several Frank Capra productions. The same year The Fly was released, Bernds had moved from directing numerous short subjects and a handful of Blondie comedies to tackling a very different sci-fi film: the Zsa Zsa Gabor vehicle Queen of Outer Space, which was perfectly in line with his comfortable segue into drive-in filmmaking alongside World Without End (1956) and High School Hellcats (1958). Bringing Price back was no mean feat given the actor's very busy schedule in 1959, which also saw him appearing in The Big Circus, The Bat, and two legendary films for William Castle, House on Haunted Hill and The Tingler. Of course, Price would go on to launch into a string of AIP productions the following year featuring his popular cycle of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations for Roger Corman, which would permanently cement his horror icon status. On several occasions the witty Price commented that this sequel to The Fly should have been titled The Zipper and stated that he was excited by the original screenplay, which was stripped down by the time it went before the cameras for the independent production company Associated Producers with Fox distributing. Return of the Fly would ultimately go out to audiences as a Fox double feature on 1600 screens with another AP title, The Alligator People (1959), which was also a CinemaScope black-and-white monster offering. Despite his issues with the script revisions (including heavy cuts to the family relationships and more emotional moments), Price soldiered on. As he remarked in Joel Eisner's The Price of Fear, "It was not a bad film, in fact, it was quite exciting. When I first read the script, I was very excited about the possibilities as it was one of those rare cases when the sequel proved to be better than the original. Unfortunately, the producers, in obvious bad judgment, proceeded to put in a lot of gimmicks in the belief that films need gimmicks to be popular. I also thought it was ridiculous to shoot it in black and white." One other significant character from the original film was intended to come back in the original screenplay, the character of Inspector Charas played by Herbert Marshall, but instead the part became John Sutton's Inspector Beacham in the final version. Neither the cast nor director knew why Marshall wasn't asked to return but speculated it may have been due to financial issues. The main new cast member here is young Brett Halsey, a Fox contract player who had starred in Bernds' High School Hellcats and also appeared in another 1959 Fox film, the much-loved melodrama The Best of Everything, and would also appear in Return to Peyton Place (1961). He and Price would team up again for one segment of the three-story Nathaniel Hawthorne horror anthology, Twice-Told Tales (1963), which was marketed to cash in on Price's Poe series. Like many American actors of his generation, Halsey would find success going to Italy for a string of unexpected projects including two films for Mario Bava, Roy Colt and Winchester Jack (1970) and Four Times That Night (1971), and after a long stint in television, a trio of films for Lucio Fulci, The Devil's Honey (1986), Touch of Death (1988), and Demonia (1990), or four if you count the cannibalized footage of him used in A Cat in the Brain (1990). Of course, once Halsey is affected by his trip through the teleportation machine, the creature was actually played by someone else: Ed Wolff, a circus giant previously seen as the robot in The Phantom Creeps (1939) and the title character in The Colossus of New York (1958). As Bernds recalled, "He had very low endurance. With that head on and that heavy costume, we had to be very careful with him; we were afraid he'd have a heart attack and die! When we required him to run or anything, we'd have to give him several minutes to rest up." Despite middling reviews and toned-down monster mayhem (apart from a memorably twisted vignette involving a guinea pig), Return of the Fly was a financial success and spawned a third film in the series, the stylish British production Curse of the Fly (1965) directed by Don Sharp. After that the property would remain dormant until David Cronenberg gave it a drastic overhaul for his successful, Oscar-winning version of The Fly (1986). Oddly enough, that film would be followed by a sequel of its own, The Fly II (1989), which followed the lead of Return of the Fly by inflicting new teleportation horrors on the son of the original film's ill-fated fly-human hybrid--but without Vincent Price around this time to help him get through the ordeal. By Nathaniel Thompson

Quotes

Trivia

The script was written specifically to use the standing sets from Fly, The (1958).

Notes

This film was a sequel to the 1958 Twentieth Century-Fox film The Fly. In that film, David Hedison appeared as "François'" brother "Andre." Modern sources add Ed Woff as "The Fly" and Florence Strom as a nun. For additional information about sequels and remakes related to the George Langelaan short story, please for The Fly.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1959

Sequel to "The Fly" (1958)

Released in USA on video.

CinemaScope

Released in United States 1959