This week in Los Angeles, a new opera premiered based on, of all things, the 1986 science fiction movie, The Fly. With a libretto by David Henry Hwang and music by Howard Shore, this opera has brought renewed attention to the 1986 movie upon which it was based.
The original movie was actually based on a short story from Nouvelles de l'Anti-Monde by George Langelaan.
The Fly (1958)
You might think this 1958 movie takes place in France because of the characters' names, but actually it is set in Canada. There's been a murder in a factory. A man's head has been crushed. The culprit is his beautiful wife, Helene (Patricia Owens). When she tells her story to her brother-in-law Francois (Vincent Price), we see the story in flashbacks. A scientist, Andre Delambre (David Hedison) has invented a disintegrater-integrater. He shows it to his wife, but things don't work exactly right — some of the particles are scrambled. He experiments on a cat and it doesn't quite work, but finally, he decides to try it on himself. Unfortunately, a fly has entered the chamber with him and the integrator scrambles the man and the fly so that parts have been switched. He hides himself from his wife and son until he must bring his wife into his confidence. This is a classic and well done with a happy ending for the wife, but not for the fly.
The movie was directed and produced by Kurt Neumann with a screenplay by James Clavell before he wrote that Japanese drivel called Shogun.
Return of the Fly
When you have a hit, what do you do? Just what 20th Century-Fox did. You make a sequel. There's a different director (Edward Bernds, who also wrote the screenplay) and producer (Bernard Glasser) and the only character who returns besides the Fly is Vincent Price. Helene has died and this 1959 black and white movie opens with her funeral. There her son, now a young man, is asking about his father's mysterious death. After 15 years, all the equipment remains. Philippe (Brett Halsey) figures out how to duplicate his father's experiments, but his treacherous friend betrays him and puts him in the teleporter with... of course, a fly. The one has a happy ending for both the fly and the fly boy. The acting isn't great but if you like bad science fiction this is good in a bad way.