The Return of the Fly

Overview

This sequel to Kurt Neumann's The Fly 1958 is peculiar, to say the least. Producer/director Neumann had passed away during the summer of 1958, and the studio needed a sequel. The resulting film, Return of the Fly, was directed by Edward L. Bernds, a filmmaker and former sound man at Columbia Pictures most closely associated with the Three Stooges, but who had lately moved successfully into popular science fiction, with movies such as World Without End, Space Master X-7, and Queen of Outer Space to his credit -- ...
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Overview

This sequel to Kurt Neumann's The Fly 1958 is peculiar, to say the least. Producer/director Neumann had passed away during the summer of 1958, and the studio needed a sequel. The resulting film, Return of the Fly, was directed by Edward L. Bernds, a filmmaker and former sound man at Columbia Pictures most closely associated with the Three Stooges, but who had lately moved successfully into popular science fiction, with movies such as World Without End, Space Master X-7, and Queen of Outer Space to his credit -- not that this last, in particular, seemed to qualify him for anything but tongue-in-cheek satire. Curse of the Fly was shot in CinemaScope but in black-and-white, an unusual combination that is usually associated with artier movies, as a compromise for discriminating directors who can't avoid the widescreen format but want to present something serious; in this particular case, however, it was purely a budgetary decision. Vincent Price is the nominal star as Francois Delambre, the brother of Andre Delambre, who died as a result of his experiments with a matter transmitting device in The Fly. It is now a dozen years later, and Andre's son, Philippe Brett Halsey, has just laid his mother to rest, having witnessed the final years of her life blighted by the memory of the horror of Andre's death. He convinces Francois to tell him what happened and of the device that destroyed his parents' happy life together. Philippe vows to perfect the matter transmitter, so that all of the heartache and sacrifice by his parents will not have been in vain. He employs as his assistant a scientist friend, Alan Hinds David Frankham, who, unbeknownst to him, has shady business connections and a dark secret in his own past. Alan conspires to steal the secret of the matter transmitter, but first he must dispose of a detective who has come to arrest him for an earlier crime, and then eliminate Philippe, who doesn't know what Alan has done, only that he's hiding something. Thus, the same disaster that befell Philippe's father now occurs again, to him -- his body parts are transposed with those of a house-fly. The human-sized fly, even nastier looking than the monster in the original film, goes on a rampage, trying to catch Alan and get revenge for what has happened to him, using what faculties he has. Meanwhile, Francois gets help from the surviving detective on his brother's case, who knows the truth, and the two try to trap the monster alive and also find the fly-sized creature with Philippe's head and features, so they can try and unscramble the atoms of both.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
The makers of Return of the Fly had a problem; the original movie was so popular, that not doing a sequel would seem a foolish waste of an opportunity. But producer/director Kurt Neumann, who had made The Fly -- and who had been largely responsible for making it work so well overall -- had passed away during the summer of 1958. Additionally, what could be done with a sequel to that film? Everyone attending would already know what the monster in the story looked like, having seen the original. There would be no way of sustaining the suspense, or moving a plot line forward by hiding the appearance of the monster, as Neumann had done in the original film, nor would there be any "sense-of-wonder" to be found in the notion of the matter transmitter. Even worse, Return of the Fly was to be shot in black-and-white, so the proposed film wouldn't even have the allure of color to attract audiences. Out of sheer expediency, Return of the Fly was done as a crime-thriller as much as a sci-fi movie, its plot involving criminals and using a manhunt to keep most of its story moving forward. Given that decision, and the limitations of time and budget, it's a surprisingly enjoyable film, without actually being an especially "good" movie. It is far less suspenseful than its predecessor (it lacks a certain "buzz," you might say), but easy enough to appreciate in its quick pacing and relatively uninvolving, superficial nature. Only Vincent Price seems to really be trying hard among the cast and he seems ready to pass out from the exertion of not cracking up over his more dramatic and absurd lines of dialogue. Dan Seymour is also somewhat memorable as an unscrupulous mortician and receiver of stolen goods, who gets more than he bargained for from his nefarious activities. The special effects are decent; one scene, involving a man whose limbs are transposed with those of a laboratory rat, is expecially nasty, while the shots of the fly-sized creature with Philippe's head are ridiculous and not remotely as effective as their equivalents in the first movie. The appearance of the man-sized fly is perhaps even scarier than the design used in the original film, with an oversized head and gruesome detail in the "face." Incidentally, the producers felt compelled to show the fly-monster in advance when promoting this movie, as opposed to the way they kept the appearance of the monster in the first film a secret in the publicity; it is a still of Return of the Fly's monster, rather than the monster from The Fly, that is usually printed in modern articles about and mentions of the original film.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/1/1998
  • UPC: 086162119132
  • Original Release: 1959
  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Vincent Price Francois Delambre
Brett Halsey Philippe Delambre
John Sutton Inspector Charas
David Frankham Alan Hinds, Scientist
Dan Seymour Max Berthold Underworld Fixer
Danielle de Metz Cecile Bonnard
Janine Grandel Mme. Bonnard
Richard Flato Sgt. Dubois
Barry Bernard Lt. Maclish
Pat O'Hara Detective Evans
Jack Daly Granville
Michael Mark Gaston
Gregg Martell
Florence Storm Nun
Technical Credits
Edward Bernds Director, Screenwriter
Brydon Baker Cinematographer
Bernard Glasser Producer
Joseph Kish Set Decoration/Design
Hal Lierley Makeup
John Mansbridge Art Director
Richard Meyer Editor
Byron Roberts Asst. Director
Paul Sawtell Score Composer
Walter Scott Set Decoration/Design
Bert Shefter Score Composer
Lyle Wheeler Art Director
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