Blu-ray Review: The Fly Collection



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Others want to rent helicopters so commuters can get across Manhattan in mere seconds. This need for speed is exactly what sets in motion the science fiction nightmare that is The Fly and four sequels/remakes that kept audience questioning if they need to get somewhere that fast. The Fly Collection gathers these films up like a bowl of potato salad at a summer picnic.

The Fly (1958 – 94 minutes) opens with scientist André Delambre (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea‘s David Hedison) squished in his lab under the hydraulic press. The only suspect is his wife (Five Gates to Hell‘s Patricia Owens), but the cops aren’t completely buying that she killed him because she seems rather incompetent about how you’d use the machinery. The cops aren’t sure what to do, but his brother François (Witchfinder General‘s Vincent Price) coaxes her into telling the story of what happened. Turns out Andre had devised way to transmit solid matter like a phone call. After numerous experiments with various items and creatures, Andre took the chance and became the first man teleported. But what he didn’t realize was a fly got in the box. This leads to a very ugly incident when they are recombined. Can he get himself back together with the proper genetics? The Fly was a shocker as it showed what could go completely wrong if you don’t maintain a high level of hygienic conditions in your laboratory. In a bit of odd trivia, the screenwriter was James who’d go on to write the novel Shōgun. The film was a massive hit even with Vincent Price not having to play the bad guy. Naturally there was more to come.

The Return of the Fly (1959 – 80 minutes) has Phillipe Delambre (Brett Halsey) as an adult now and ready to take over his father’s laboratory. He wants to perfect his father’s teleportation experiment. This leads Uncle Francois (Vincent Price) to want to stop backing his nephew’s pursuits. The kid brings on Alan Hinds (King Rat‘s David Frankham) to be his assistant. While this seems like we’re getting a retread plot, there’s a big kink in the wire when mobsters want to use the technology for evil purposes. Phillipe finds himself being forced to follow in his father’s footsteps when he gets tossed into the transporter with another fly. Will he also get squished in the machinery? The Return of the Fly is a bit more rough than the original in tone. Even odder is that while the first film was made in color, the sequel was shot in black and white. Why? Because color was more expensive in 1959 so Fox saved a few bucks by removing the hues. At least they brought back Vincent Price.

The Curse of the Fly (1965 – 86 minutes) is often forgotten. The film wasn’t even put out on Beta, VHS or laserdisc. Local Creature Double Features didn’t need a third Fly flick. Producer Robert Lippert made the film in England to take advantage of a movie tax the country used to keep production on the island. Patricia Stanley (Devils of Darkness‘ Carole Gray) escapes from an insane asylum in her underwear. She’s rescued by Martin Delambre (I, Claudius’ George Baker) and the two get heavily involved with each other. What she doesn’t quite know is the Martin is working with his father Henri (The Quatermass Xperiment‘s Brian Donlevy) on teleportation. And their failed experiments are lurking around the estate. It’s a Gothic science fiction with low budget you expect from a Robert Lippert production. The film didn’t play and Fox brought an end to the franchise until…

The Fly (1986 – 96 minutes) is what happens when Mel Brooks and David Cronenberg (Videodrome) team up. They didn’t merely remake the film, they took The Fly to the next level. Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) is a scientist exploring transportation. A journalist Veronica “Ronnie” Quaife (Beetlejuice‘s Geena Davis) gets interested in this quirky genius. He agrees to let her exclusively follow his experiments with the promise to not release anything until the time is right. As progress is being made, Brundle makes the mistake of going too far when he steps inside the transporter and doesn’t notice the fly has joined him for the exchange. However instead of immediately sticking a fly head on Goldblum, this time he slowly metamorphizes into this genetically fused creature. It’s as gross and creepy as you’d imagine with a Cronenberg film yet with a touch of humor and heart. The romance between Brundle and Quaife keeps a pull between them as he turns into a strange new bug. The film was a massive hit for the time. Interestingly enough while the first three films were supposed to be based in Montreal, there’s no actual footage made in Canada. For the remake, Cronenberg took the production to Toronto.

The Fly II (1989 – 105 minutes) has Martin (Eric Stoltz) as a genius boy who is growing up fast. The child of Brundle and Quaife is bring raised inside a research facility that’s owned by the company that funded dad’s big projects. Anton Bartok (Exorcist III‘s Lee Richardson) has big plans for Martin as he keeps growing and becoming smarter. He hopes the Martin can fix his father’s transporter experiment. Martin ends up flirting with Beth (The Sure Thing‘s Daphne Zuniga) who hasn’t a clue that the guy hanging out the lab is the experiment and not a researcher like herself. She notices Martin is changing quite a bit after all their early meetings. Bartok is interested in this as he wants to see Martin’s final form. Martin wants to prevent this from happening after he what happened to his father. The Fly II has great monster effects thanks to director Chris Walas and his crew. Walas won an Oscar for Cronenberg’s The Fly. The giant creature in the finale is worth the ticket price.

The Fly Collection gets deep into the whole universe of The Fly. The bonus features go from the original short story to cover every element that made it to the screen. You get a sense of how man’s demand for speed could easily cause a horrible lab accident that could cause a man to fuse with a house fly. Always keep a clean lab or this can happen to you.

The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic for the first three films. The remakes are both 1.85:1 anamorphic. The transfer quality of all five are top notch. You’ll see all the eyes on the fly’s face. The audio is DTS-HD MA mono for the first three films. The remakes both feature 5.1 Surround DTS-HD Master Audio and 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD Master Audio. The audio on Cronenberg’s The Fly will make you cringe. All the movies are subtitled in English.

DISC ONE: THE FLY
Audio Commentary with Author/Film Historian Steve Haberman And Filmmaker/Film Historian Constantine Nasr

Audio Commentary With Actor David Hedison And Film Historian David Del Valle

Biography: Vincent Price (44:03) explains how Vincent Price went from an art collecting to the scariest man in cinema. Price at one point ended up hanging with Orson Welles as part of the Mercury Theater.

Fly Trap: Catching A Classic (11:30) has David Hedison and others talk about the creation and impact of The Fly. There’s footage of Vincent Price complaining about how they shot The Return of the Fly in Black and white after they made the first in color.

Fox Movietone News (0:54) has movie monsters show up to see the premiere of The Fly in San Francisco.

Theatrical Trailer (1:59) has Vincent Price warn the audience to hold onto your seat. He can’t show us anymore from the film because you must see it to believe it. This is a great ad.

DISC TWO: RETURN OF THE FLY
Audio Commentary With Actor David Frankham And Jonathan David Dixon

Audio Commentary With Author/Film Historian Tom Weaver

Audio Commentary With Actor Brett Halsey And Film Historian David Del Valle

Theatrical Trailer (1:38) brings back the buzz. They also let you know the new film is in black and white. The son is getting into his father’s lab.

TV Spot (1:03) promises the most monstrous creation ever made by science.

Still Gallery (1:51) includes posters from around the world, lobby cards and press photos.

DISC THREE: THE CURSE OF THE FLY
Audio Commentary With Author/Film Historian Steve Haberman And Filmmaker/Film Historian Constantine Nasr

Interview With Actress Mary Manson (7:38) has her talk about getting offered the part at a dinner party. The producers liked her profile and cast her on the spot. She found it a very odd part since she had to play a two-face character. She talks about the make up time.

Interview With Continuity Renee Glynee (5:22) has her remember that she forgot that she worked on the film. She does remember working with the actors. She used to work for Hammer.

Theatrical Trailer (1:05) promises the terror of “living hybrid hell monsters.”

TV Spot (1:03) gives us terrors we thought would stop. It’s double billed with Devils of Darkness.

Still Gallery (2:04) includes press photos, newspaper ads and posters.

DISC FOUR: THE FLY

Audio Commentary With Author/Film Historian William Beard

The Meshuggener Scientist (13:26) is an Interview With Executive Producer Mel Brooks. Mel talks about how he didn’t think people would love the film and Jeff Goldblum as much as him. He’s happy he’s wrong. He talks about seeing The Fly originally and how David Cronenberg was approached.

Beauty And The Beast (22:49) interviews Producer Stuart Cornfeld. He speaks of how Beauty and the Beast affected him as a kid. He also speaks of the nightmare of characters who can’t trust their reaction to things. He speaks of bringing the remake concept to Mel Brooks. He and Cronenberg viewed it also as an AIDS film.

A Tragic Opera (9:16) interviews composer Howard Shore. He’s worked with Cronenberg over the decades. He speaks of how the opera informed his musical approach to the score.

David’s Eyes (25:24) is an interview with Cinematographer Mark Irwin. He talks about getting his start doing adult films for adult theater owners before he broke into making low budget indie films. He speaks of shooting films during winter in Canada when they had to figure out how to use the limited amount of sun for the exteriors. He began working with Cronenberg during this period. He’s still working as a cinematographer and shot Descendants 2.

Interview With Casting Director Deirdre Bowen (14:37) has her talk about the script showing up while she was taking care of her newborn baby. She had worked with Cronenberg on Deadzone.

Audio Commentary With Director David Cronenberg

Fear Of The Flesh: The Making Of The Fly (135 minutes) covers all 3 Stages Of The Production – Larva, Pupa And Metamorphosis. This is a vintage documentary as producer Cornfeld walks us through the creation and release of the film with plenty of video from the production. There’s additional 26 minutes of interviews not used in the main piece.

The Brundle Museum Of Natural History (11:51) with Chris Walas and Bob Burns as your tour guides. Bob Burns has stashed away elements at his house.

Deleted Scenes With Storyboard And Script Versions include the Monkey-Cat and the Butterfly Baby alternate ending.

Extended Scenes include Reconciliation and Poetry of the Steak. You can get an indicator to let you know what is extended from the final footage.

Test Footage includes Main Titles, Lighting and Makeup Effects.

Vintage Featurette (6:58) is the old making of film.

Profile On David Cronenberg (4:21) has the man who gave us Videodrome lurking around his set. Jeff Goldblum describes him in odd ways. He does talk for himself about The Fly.

Still Galleries includes Publicity, posters, lobby cards, Behind-The-Scenes, Concept Art and Visual Effects.

Theatrical Trailers includes the trailers, teaser trailer for the film as well as The Fly II and Return of The Fly.

TV Spots are three moments that scared the people at home so they’d come to the cineplex.

George Langelaan’s Short Story

Charles Edward Pouge’s Original Screenplay

David Cronenberg’s Screenplay Rewrite

Magazine Articles With Photos And Video from American Cinematographer.

Trivia Track pops up with interesting info as you’re watching the film.

Two Easter Eggs are for you to find.

DISC FIVE: THE FLY II

Fly In The Ointment (8:12) interviews producer Stuart Cornfeld. The studio wanted a sequel. He talks about how they changed the direction after developing it for a while. Then the studio changed it back. Cornfield split the movie. You normally don’t see this in a movie’s bonus feature.

Original Visions (14:06) interviews Screenwriter Mick Garris. He was working on Amazing Stories when he got the offer for Fly II and Hocus Pocus. He was a publicist before this so he got John Landis, John Carpenter and David Cronenberg to do a show about horror film to give away to stations and promote their upcoming movies.

Version 2.0 (22:13) interviews screenwriter Ken Wheat. His big break came on working with George Lucas on an Ewok project. He came on to write the version studio executive Scott Rudin wanted.

Big And Gothic (18:34) interviews composer Christopher Young. He talks about going to UCLA film school and going to Corman University to get into the industry.

Pretty Fly For A Fly Guy (17:45) interviews Special Effects Artist Tom Sullivan. he was a major fan of Cronenberg so he didn’t want to let things down in the sequel.

Interview With Cinematographer Robin Vidgeon (15:20) has him mention he landed the gig after finishing up Hellraiser.

Interview With Director Chris Walas (80:19) has him talk about getting involved in a sequel and how excited he was that after winning the Oscar for The Fly‘s effects, they wanted him to be the director. He talks about the issues when the studio wanted a teen flick.

Interview With Producer Steven-Charles Jaffe (35:16) has him talking about taking over the production. He talks of getting involved in a special effects heavy film.

Audio Commentary With Director Chris Walas And Film Historian Bob Burns

Transformations: Looking Back At The Fly II (48:31) has director Walas talk about having to appease the powers that be when they insisted that certain elements made the original a hit.

The Fly Papers: The Buzz On Hollywood’s Scariest Insect (57:38) is a documentary that’s narrated by Leonard Nimoy (Spock on Star Trek). The film covers all five films. This appears to have been a special that aired on AMC when The Fly II came out.

Video Production Journal (18:04) is a Behind-The-Scenes Look at the Special Effects. It’s home video of the effects being worked out.

Composer’s Master Class (12:42) is Christopher Young discussing what he was trying to do with the music. He wants to play up the tragic elements of the story.

Storyboard To Film Comparisons (6:59) has an optional commentary By Director Chris Walas.

Vintage Featurette (5:10) sets up the sequel.

Extended Press Kit Interviews With Eric Stoltz (3:35), Daphne Zuniga (3:31), and Chris Walas (2:41) has them talk a bit more.

Alternate Ending (1:10) won’t be spoiled by me.

Deleted Scene (1:28) has a hamburger stand scene that involves a bunch of kids getting sprayed.

Teaser Trailer (0:43) has us fear a woman’s pregnancy using only a monitor on the screen.

Theatrical Trailer (1:11) has a lot of flash cuts. The film was released just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Still Gallery (7:15) includes promo photos, special effect shots and a poster.

Storyboard Gallery (4:51) has the shots mapped out.

Scream Factory presents The Fly Collection. Starring: Vincent Price, Richard Hedison, Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, Eric Stoltz and Daphne Zuniga. Rated: R. Boxset Contents: 5 movies on 5 Blu-rays. Released: December 10, 2019.

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