-

Jump to content



DVD & Blu-ray Deals

Sale!
  • Today's Best Blu-ray Deals See the latest Blu-ray deals & price drops See The Best Deals

  • Search Reviews


    #

    DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

    • Maleficent Blu-ray Review
      Today, 02:17 PM
      An alternative point of view retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, Robert Stromberg’s Maleficent might not quite have the enchantment and delicate mag... Read More
    • The Vincent Price Collection II Blu-ray Review
      Today, 11:38 AM
      Just in time for Halloween, Scream Factory follows up its excellent and entertaining box set The Vincent Price Collection with a box set of seven more films... Read More
    • The Lieutenant Wore Skirts DVD Review
      Today, 03:40 AM
      After scoring a hit recreating his Tony-winning Broadway role in the movie version of The Seven-Year Itch (though its popularity was probably more ascribed t... Read More
    • Edge of Tomorrow Blu-ray Review
      Oct 21 2014 06:33 PM
      No, you’re not caught in a time loop. This is indeed a third – almost entirely different – HTF review of Doug Liman’s sci-fi action film starring Tom Cruise... Read More

    Hardware Reviews


    * * * * -

    The Fly (1958) Blu-ray Review

    Blu-ray Fox

    Sep 10 2013 01:29 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
    Kurt Neumann’s iconic sci-fi/horror classic The Fly is that rare thing: a 1950s horror film which only has a few moments of camp sensibility when seen today. The story is admirably played straight by the actors, and their earnest performances help give the film a dignity and strength that more than make up for some lapses in logic and some shoddy plotting.

    Title Info:

    • Studio: Fox
    • Distributed By: N/A
    • Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    • Audio: English 4.0 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 1.0 DD (Mono), French 1.0 DD (Mono)
    • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
    • Rating: Not Rated
    • Run Time: 1 Hr. 34 Min.
    • Package Includes: Blu-ray
    • Case Type: keep case
    • Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
    • Region: A
    • Release Date: 09/10/2013
    • MSRP: $24.99

    The Production Rating: 3.5/5

    Told in flashback, Helene Delambre (Patricia Owens) relates the story of how her scientist-husband Andre (Al/David Hedison) while experimenting with a revolutionary disintegration/integration chamber became the victim of a horrific accident in which the atoms of his head and arm became swapped with those of a fly turning him into a mutant monster whose sensibility is slowly being consumed by the instincts of the fly. Listening to her story with undisguised disbelief are Inspector Charas (Herbert Marshall) and Andre’s brother François (Vincent Price). Only the fly with the head and arm of Andre can prove her story, and it has unfortunately escaped from the laboratory.

    Telling the story in flashback (as was done in the George Langelaan’s short story adapted for the screen by James Clavell) dissipates some additional suspense that story might have contained if it had been told chronologically (we know Andre’s outcome within the first few minutes of the movie). Of course, presenting the story in that way would have meant much less screen time for the film’s two most famous players Vincent Price and Herbert Marshall, but that “will he or won’t he survive?” question is lost completely. Kurt Neumann is a journeyman director who doesn’t use the Cinemascope screen with much originality (there is one elegant sweeping camera move upward looking down on François as he enters a bedroom but then everything else is shot very straightforwardly), but he certainly has the shock scenes delivered nicely when the time for them comes. It’s seventy-three minutes in before we get our first full look at the man/fly, and it’s worth the wait with Ben Nye’s terrific make-up creation and David Hedison’s superb pantomime performance combining for a marvelous shock sequence (the point of view shot of the screaming Helene seen from the fly’s perspective is the film’s most memorable single image). The climactic encounter with the fly/man is less adept and is the aspect of the film that plays less well today (and actors Price and Marshall allegedly had a difficult time filming the scene even then between gales of hysterical laughter).

    Both Al (later David) Hedison and Patricia Owens make a believable, sincere couple in love and desperate to return to their once-happy life. Hedison’s mime work after the transformation is really touching and most authentic as the fly begins to overtake his own sensibilities, and Owens, sometimes near hysteria and other times stalwart and determined, couldn’t be worthier of him (she does make one little slip that should have been looped: taking place in French-speaking Canada, she calls her son Philippe “Phillip” at one point but never again). Vincent Price is the steadfast brother in love with his sibling’s wife but not acting on it, and Herbert Marshall is the epitome of restraint as the doubting inspector. The brilliant Kathleen Freeman is wasted in the role of the maid while Betty Lou Gerson (Cruella De Vil herself) is a concerned nurse, and Charles Herbert is fine as the loving son.

    Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA

    The film’s Cinemascope aspect ratio of 2.35:1 is faithfully replicated in this 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Sharpness is excellent throughout, and color is rich with flesh tones that are right if a trifle thickly hued. Contrast is usually spot-on though there are a couple of early scenes where contrast seems a bit milky damaging black levels. The film has been divided into 24 chapters.

    Audio Rating: 4.5/5

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 4.0 sound mix replicates Fox’s early stereo separations superbly. The directionalized dialogue is a treat (and is always completely discernible), and Paul Sawtell’s music gets a lush and ample placement through the soundstage. There is one sensationally creepy ambient effect: when the family cat gets used unsuccessfully as a guinea pig in the matter transfer experiment, its scattering atoms meow in separate speakers for a really terrific impact.

    Special Features: 3/5

    Audio Commentary: film historian David Del Valle and star David Hedison have a very amiable chat as they watch the movie with Valle asking intelligent questions and Hedison scouring his memory to come up with answers. Fans will find this a real treat.

    Biography: Vincent Price (44:03, SD): the excellent episode of the series Biography featuring the life and work of Vincent Price was already used on the Laura Blu-ray release, but here it is again for those who missed it.

    Fly Trap: Catching a Classic (11:30, SD), film historians Steve Haverman, David Glut, David Del Valle, and star David Hedison are among those who discuss the film’s terrific impact leading to the two additional sequels with clips offered for all three films.

    Movietone News (0:54, SD): brief clips of the world premiere held in San Francisco.

    Theatrical Trailer (1:59, SD)

    Overall Rating: 3.5/5

    The 1958 version of The Fly was among the very first horror films I can ever remember seeing (waiting in a long line with my mother in Atlanta while my father attended a trade show), so it holds a special place in my heart. Fans should be delighted with the video and audio quality of this Blu-ray release.

    Reviewed by: Matt Hough
    Support HTF when you buy this title:

    • Everett Stallings and RolandL like this


    17 Comments

    Photo
    moviebuff75
    Sep 10 2013 02:57 PM

    Would this make a good double-feature with "The Haunting"? I'm trying to find another film to show with that one.

    A better double-feature with "The Haunting" would either be "The Innocents" (if you want two movies from the same releasing era) or one of Robert Wise's films from his Val Lewton period, especially "The Curse of the Cat People."   That is, if you don't mind showing DVDs at the Skydome Cinema.  Is "The Uninvited" coming to BluRay?  If so, that would be a good choice.

    I like saying this film has "lapses in logic" as if it shouldn't!

    I like saying this film has "lapses in logic" as if it shouldn't!

    Why does Dracula go to London?  Why isn't everyone a vampire?

    A better double-feature with "The Haunting" would either be "The Innocents" (if you want two movies from the same releasing era) or one of Robert Wise's films from his Val Lewton period, especially "The Curse of the Cat People."   That is, if you don't mind showing DVDs at the Skydome Cinema.  Is "The Uninvited" coming to BluRay?  If so, that would be a good choice.

     

    I agree with these suggestions, particularly The Innocents. The Uninvited comes from Criterion in October.

    Glad to hear it has the original directional dialog.

    Photo
    Johnny Angell
    Sep 11 2013 06:22 PM

    Would this make a good double-feature with "The Haunting"? I'm trying to find another film to show with that one.

    I don't think it'd be a bad pairing.  Show The Fly first, 

    Spoiler

    Photo
    Johnny Angell
    Sep 11 2013 06:33 PM

    The climactic encounter with the fly/man is less adept and is the aspect of the film that plays less well today (and actors Price and Marshall allegedly had a difficult time filming the scene even then between gales of hysterical laughter).

     

    Spoiler

     

    I do agree it is less adept, but I found it still effective.  I've just watched the film and I wanted to shout at the screen, 

    Spoiler

     

    I found the film to be better than I remembered it.  It has been more years than I can remember since I've seen it.  It's not often a film exceeds my recollections of it.

    Would this make a good double-feature with "The Haunting"? I'm trying to find another film to show with that one.


    My double feature pick with The Haunting is The Uninvited.
      • Rob_Ray likes this
    Photo
    Robert Crawford
    Sep 12 2013 08:25 AM

    My double feature pick with The Haunting is The Uninvited.

    Me too!

      • ahollis likes this

    Me too!

    Me three!

      • ahollis likes this
    Photo
    Jacksmyname
    Sep 13 2013 10:45 AM

    Me three!

    Me four!

    As good as the music score sounds, it was one of many that was recorded during the music strike and had to be done outside the US. It would have sounded superior if it had been recorded on Fox's stage one.

    Everything you said it was. Thanks. 😊

    Currently on sale for $9.99 @ BestBuy.com

    Caps-a-holic has some comparisons of the UK Blu-ray to the DE DVD. Looks like more picture info on the top of the Blu-ray but the sides and bottom are cropped.

    Photo
    Lromero1396
    Oct 02 2013 11:38 AM

    I just ordered this and am looking forward to revisiting this film. Despite the severely flawed flashback concept, it's still a nice little chiller with an all too real moral. I wish that Fox had released The Innocents as well this month, since that true classic of the horror genre is long overdue. I hope Twilight Time doesn't get a hold of that one as it should reach the largest audience possible via Fox or Criterion.