Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Kurt Neumann’s – The Fly (1958) Review

Fig,1 - The Fly (1958) Poster Art

The Fly (1958) a film directed by Kurt Neumann which portrays a devastating tale about a brilliant scientist Andre Delambre (David Hedison) and his tragic experiment with his latest invention, The Matter Transporter which when stepped in, transported Andre to one end of the room not knowing a fly was with him in the transporter resulted in a spliced human fly hybrid with Andre having his head and left arm switched with the flies which was a carless and impulsive decision which lead him to his inevitable demise throughout the film.

Fig.2 – Andre Fly Scene

At the beginning, the film pulls you in with murder straight away, Helene Delambre (Patricia Owens) is in a press factory which is quite gloomy and gives the horror like feel. A worker finds her there with a body with its head and left arm flattened by the press machine assuming that she is the murderer in this movie, but by the way the camera is angled through the scene you do not see the bodies face that they assume she’s killed which adds speculation by who or what she has killed or if she killed it to begin with. Here is a quote from Brandt Sponseller that relates to my speculation: “Neumann and writers George Langelaan and James Clavell perpetuate the mystery skillfully. We’re not quite sure what the story is, but we’re given enough information to make guesses. At the same time, we’re not so in the dark that we just become irritated and give up.” As Sponseller stated the directors hid this skillfully with pan transitions and camera angles to keep the audience guessing and on their toes throughout the film.

When the matter transporter is reveled later on in the film to Helena by Andre you can tell she feels the fear of the technology, believing that this technology is to futuristic for this period in time, with Helena’s doubts put aside Andre still persists to push further with the experiments on the transporter. With all this mind it gives of the expression that Andre wants to think of himself as an explore to go down in history and to be remembered, but he wants to do it right and make sure nothing goes wrong but with his impulsive decisions that doesn’t happen. Here is a quote from Steve Biodroskwi: “As an explorer like Columbus, who sacrificed himself for the sake of discovering something that would benefit future generations”.
Fig.3 - Helene has found out the truth about Andre

As the story continues the transformation that has happened to Andre has started to affect his mind where the animal instincts have started to kick in and he starts to lose control of his humanity and his mind dragging down his wife and family with him. Coming to the conclusion where Andre believes there is no way that he can be normal and himself again without the fly that spliced with him being found. This is when it comes to the point where Andre cannot carry on living and being exposed like this and gives his wife the ultimatum to kill him for he cannot do this himself and ends with him being crushed by the press machine at the factory which was displayed at the start of the film.

So in  my view about this film is that for its time I thought it was amazing how they used the cameras to pan through each scene and leave a mystery at each point at the start and throughout the reminiscing stage of Helene’s experience within this ordeal with the hybrid and yet through it all she still loved him knowing he was still Andre on the inside which makes the audience think more of this as a tragic love story then a common 1950’s horror film even with the horror elements still involved with the suspense of the music, gloomy laboratory, human/fly hybrid. And those are the key elements for originality to keep the audience involved. Here is a quote by VARIETY STAFF that sums up my view to a tea and helps with my agreement: “There is an appealing and poignant romance between Owens and Hedison, which adds to the reality of the story, although the flashback technique purposely robs the picture of any doubt about the outcome”.

Fig.1 – Kurt Neumann’s, The Fly, (1958), Poster Art:
Fig.2 – Andre (Hyrbid), Scene from “The Fly” (1958) directed by Kurt Neumann:

Fig.3 – Andre (Hybrid) and Helene, Scene from “The Fly” (1958) directed by Kurt Neumann:

Brandt Sponseller, Classic Horror, Date Created: 07-01-2001, Date Used: 05-10-2011
Steve Biodrowski, Cinefantastique, Date Created: 07-08-2008, Date Used: 05/10/2011
VARIETY STAFF, Rottentomatoes, Date Created: 26-03-2009, Date Used: 05-10-2011

1 comment:

  1. @Phil

    I just want to take this time to say that I am sorry for putting this up so late in this project, I have never written a review before to this depth and i felt overwhelmed and did what you said not to do, hide away and carry on with other things for this unit and I shouldn’t of done that.

    To be honest I was scared and I would appreciate it, if you could spare sometime to give me some feedback and advise to make my other reviews much stronger. I know there’s a doc. on myuca or the group blog that can help but I couldn't seem to find it.