For Reel

The Fly (1958)
June 23, 2015, 3:21 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Kurt Neumann
4 Stars
The FlyAt about the midway point of The Fly, Andre Delambre (David Hedison) attempts to teleport his cat from one side of his laboratory to the other. The cat successfully disintegrates into nothing but it never materializes in the receiver. In a touch as haunting as it is humorous, a disembodied “meow” echoes through the air, now a lost collection of feline atoms floating in the universe. It leads to the most telling line in the picture in which Delambre muses, “It’d be funny if life weren’t so sacred.” It’s this precarious balance that makes The Fly so memorable. The image of a man’s head on a fly body waiting to be consumed by an approaching spider is as viscerally horrifying as any in the cinema, and yet one can’t disregard the spider web that looks like a cheap imitation from a Halloween store or the misguided distortion of Hedison’s screams for help. Beyond the grotesqueness, however, the most lingering moments of the picture are those in which a family tries desperately to trap the fly that will restore the man back to himself. The common irritant in the ideal household is now its everything, the only key to the family’s survival. James Clavell’s screenplay brilliantly considers the ethics of shock cinema, the stakes involved in creating a monster.

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