The Fly is a 1958 American Deluxe Color science fiction-horror film in CinemaScope produced and directed by Kurt Neumann. The screenplay was written by James Clavell (his first), from the short story of the same name by George Langelaan. The film starred Vincent Price and David Hedison. It was released in 1958 on a double bill with Space Master X-7.
It tells a story of a scientist who mutates into a grotesque human fly after one accidentally flew into his transportation machine and mixes their atoms. It was followed by two sequels, Return of the Fly and Curse of the Fly. It was remade in 1986 as a film of the same name by director David Cronenberg.
In Montreal, Canada, scientist Andre Delambre (David Hedison) is found dead with his head and arm crushed in a hydraulic press. Although his wife Helene (Patricia Owens) confesses to the crime, she refuses to provide a motive, and begins acting strangely. In particular, she is obsessed with flies, including a supposedly white-headed fly. Andre's brother, Francois (Vincent Price), lies and says he caught the white-headed fly; and, thinking he knows the truth, Helene explains the circumstances surrounding Andre's death.
In flashback, Andre, Helene, and their son Philippe (Charles Herbert) are a happy family. Andre has been working on a matter transporter device called the disintegrator-integrator. He initially tests it only on small inanimate objects, but he eventually proceeds to living creatures, including the family's pet cat (which fails to reintegrate, but can be heard meowing somewhere) and a guinea pig. After he is satisfied that these tests are succeeding, he builds a man-sized pair of chambers. One day, Helene, worried because Andre has not come up from the basement lab for a couple of days, goes down to find Andre with a black cloth over his head and a strange deformity on his left hand. Communicating with typed notes only, Andre tells Helene that he tried to transport himself but that a fly was caught in the chamber with him, which resulted in the mixing of their atoms. Now, he has the head and left arm of a fly; and the fly has his miniature head and left arm, though he keeps his mind.
Andre needs Helene to capture the fly so he can reverse the process. Although she expends great effort in her search, she cannot find it and Andre's will begins to fade as the fly's instincts take over his brain. Time is running out, and while Andre can still think like a human, he smashes the equipment, burns his notes, and leads Helene to the factory. When they arrive, he sets the hydraulic press and motions for Helene to push the button. She activates the press twice - once to crush his head and once to crush his left arm.
Upon hearing this confession, the chief detective on the case, Inspector Charas (Herbert Marshall), deems Helene insane and guilty of murder. As they are about to haul her away, Philippe tells Francois he's seen the fly trapped in a web in the back garden. Francois convinces the inspector to come and see for himself. The two men see the fly, trapped in the web, with both Andre's head and arm. It screams "Help me! Help me!" as a large brown spider advances on it. Just as the spider is about to devour the creature, Charas crushes them both with a rock.
Knowing that nobody would believe the truth, he and Francois decide to declare Andre's death a suicide and Helens behaviour afterwards the ractoion of a deeply shocked person, who hasn´t digested what her husband did so that Helene isn't convicted of murder. In the end, Helene, Francois and Philippe resume their daily lives, with Francois explaining to Philippe that Andre died doing the most dangerous act for humanity, but also the most important: "the search for the truth" and warns him of the dangers of going that path. After hearing that Philippe decides to become like him.
- David Hedison as Andre Delambre (billed as Al Hedison)
- Patricia Owens as Helene Delambre
- Vincent Price as François Delambre
- Herbert Marshall as Inspector Charas
- Kathleen Freeman as Emma
- Betty Lou Gerson as Nurse Andersone
- Charles Herbert as Philippe Delambre
It was the most successful movie of 20th Century Fox in that year and the most successful production of Kurt Neumann, who died shortly after its premier. It also turned Vincent Price into a major horror star.