1958, 1959, 1965, 1986, 1989

7 Discs

29th May 2006

20th Century Fox



Century Fox have come up trumps with a superb box-set which really
lives up to the branding of ‘ultimate collection’. The
complete cinematic history of The Fly is presented here over
seven discs. All five movies are here including the seldom seen and
never before released on DVD, The Curse of the Fly from 1965.

Price heads the cast of the original The Fly from 1958. But it
is David Hedison who is the doomed scientist whose teleportation
experiments lead to his fatal commingling with a stray bluebottle,
and thus establishing the basic template for the following four
movies. The 1958 film, based on the story by George Langelaan, is a
classic. Much credit must go to director Kurt Neumann who clearly
encourages his cast to play for real what otherwise might have been
just another Fifties monster-mash. The final, downbeat moments of the
movie, though absurd, are tragic and disturbing.

The first
of the sequels – this time in black and white and imaginatively
called Return of the Fly – came only a year after the
first movie’s release and once again starred Vincent Price.
Unfortunately, with Neumann replaced by Edward Bernds as director,
this retread of the same story fails to elevate itself above the more
outrageous elements of the plot and is often unintentionally
hilarious. Nevertheless, it’s still great fun to watch.

Don Sharp,
director of many a British movie, took on 1965’s The Curse
of the Fly
. Without Price this time, Curse isn’t
really a sequel but more a re-telling of the original story. Despite
its attempts to disguise it’s British origins (English star
George Baker adopts an American accent), this is clearly a British
movie. However, this works to the film’s advantage by giving
the theme a whole new ambience with some good, subtle performances in
the early parts of the film. Carole Gray is particularly good as the
girl who has escaped from a mental hospital only to have the
misfortune of getting hitched up with a family of mad scientists.

Cronenberg’s 1986 re-imagining of The Fly is clearly
intended as the centrepiece of this collection, and rightly so.
Despite being horribly dated by the Eighties wardrobe and the
back-combed hair, this is a great movie which is more of a character
piece than might be expected. Despite the make-up and creature
animatronics, there is an almost theatrical feel to the film which
has a tiny cast of three main players and one large and impressive
set. Of course, it’s Jeff Goldblum who holds it altogether with
an excellent performance as the hapless inventor. His slow
metamorphosis in to the Fly is portrayed with some well observed but
subtle body language (with assistance from the make-up department).

With the
success of Cronenberg’s movie, a sequel was inevitable. That
came along in 1989 in the guise of The Fly II starring Eric
Stoltz as Goldblum’s son (Geena Davies having been conveniently
pregnant by Goldblum at the close of the first film). Stoltz is good
but as with Return of the Fly in 1959, it’s a diluted
version of the themes of the previous movie with some extra plot
elements grafted on. However, unlike Return of the Fly, The
Fly II
is a more accomplished work in its own right with some
excellent, and quite gruesome effects work.

by two discs worth of extras (see below) and packaged in a nice
tele-pod box, this collector’s set really can’t be
faulted. Even the lesser films in the collection are worth watching,
though you’ll definitely by all-Flyed-out by the time you’ve
viewed them all.


plenty here to give you a buzz… They include: a commentary
from David Cronenberg on The Fly, several documentaries,
extended and deleted scenes, publicity material, test footage and
George Langelaan’s original story as presented in Playboy
magazine. Not surprisingly virtually all of the extras relate to the
1980s movies. Extras on the earlier movies, particularly the
original, would have been nice but I’m just being greedy. Fox
are to be commended for the huge wealth of extra material that
they’ve made available here.



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