Review of “Return of the Fly” (1959)

trailer from YouTube

This is the black-and-white sequel to last week’s movie The Fly. We borrowed it too from our local library—and in the same collection, no less. Here, Philippe, the now-adult son of the unfortunate Andre Delambre from the first film, can’t leave well enough alone.

Plot:

The film opens with the funeral of Helene Delambre, the widow of Andre and the mother of Philippe (Brett Halsey). The voiceover is spoken by François Delambre (Vincent Price), Andre’s brother. A pushy reporter (Jack Daly) asks insulting questions about Andre Delambre’s death. Infuriated, Philippe grabs the man, but further violence is deterred by Inspector Beauchamp (John Sutton), who tells the reporter to cease such tactics.

“Inspector Beauchamp, you were part of that big cover-up, weren’t you? This is going to make nice reading, I promise you!” the report threatens and stomps off.

Later, in the car, Philippe asks his uncle François, “Why was Mother accused?”

François is reluctant, but after his nephew’s insistence, asks the driver to take them to the old foundry, Delambre Frères, and shows him the old lab. He explains to him his father’s work and the accident that made him half-human, half-fly, which led to his tragic, horrific death.

Philippe has been doing some research in the same field as his father. In fact, he has a lab set up in his grandfather’s mansion, which he plans to share with a prospective assistant, Alan Hinds (David Frankham). He also has a sweetheart, Cecile (Danielle De Metz), the daughter of the live-in maid.

Francois tells Philippe he will not help him with his experiments. He’s concerned about his nephew’s safety, and the business is nearly broke. After Philippe threatens to sell his interest, François agrees to stay and observe. He’s not pleased this former employee, Hinds, is now working with his nephew. Neither man knows Hinds’ secrets. To begin with, Hinds is not his real name. Returning to England might earn him a hanging, but that doesn’t mean he can’t do business in Montreal—with the right people.

Thoughts:

This is, in many ways, a rare bird, a sequel that surpasses the original. Like Andre and Helene in the original, Philippe is sympathetic. When we meet him, he is burying his mother. He’s also got a touch of youthful arrogance: His father was careless. He’ll be careful. At the same time, he wants to carry on his father’s work to vindicate it.

The viewer is aware of the Hinds’ intrigue—and ruthlessness—long before the characters are. They find out when lives are in peril. Philippe (understandably) can’t stand flies.

The movie wouldn’t be complete without some gore. A guinea pig suffers under an oppressive heel. They must have been fresh out of cats. Philippe, the victim of industrial espionage and a cruel trick, takes his vengeance out on those who hurt sought to destroy him.

While I enjoyed much of this film, I did not like (or believe) the forced, artificial ending. Nevertheless, this flick is worth a watch, but I would caution against having young children watch it because of the animal killing depicted. I didn’t particularly care for it myself.

Unfortunately, I could not find it available for free download.

Title: Return of the Fly (1959)

Directed by
Edward Bernds…(as Edward L. Bernds)

Writing Credits
Edward Bernds…(screenplay) (as Edward L. Bernds)
George Langelaan…(short story “The Fly”)

Cast (in credits order)
Vincent Price…Francois Delambre
Brett Halsey…Philippe Delambre
David Frankham…Ronald Holmes, alias Alan Hinds
John Sutton…Insp. Beecham
Dan Seymour…Max Barthold
Danielle De Metz…Cecile Bonnard

Released: 1959
Length: 1 hour, 20 minutes


Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

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