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Edward Bernds
Vincent Price, Brett Halsey, John Sutton, David Frankham, Dan Seymour, Danielle De Metz
Writing Credits:
George Langelaan (story), Edward Bernds

15 years after the events of "The Fly," Andre's son does some transportation experimentation of his own.

Box Office:

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA Stereo
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 80 min.

Price: $79.97
Release Date: 9/11/2007

• Audio Commentary with Actor Brett Halsey and Film Historian David Del Valle
• Trailer and TV Spot
• Still Gallery

Available Only as Part of “The Vincent Price Collection II"


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Return Of The Fly: The Vincent Price Collection II [Blu-Ray] (1959)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 5, 2014)

While 1989's The Fly II remains one of filmdom's most despised sequels, I’m unaware of any such animosity toward an earlier spinoff, 1959's Return of the Fly. I don't know if that's because more people like this film than enjoyed the 1989 flick or if it's just due to the fact fewer people are aware of its existence.

In any case, while I found Return to be decidedly less interesting than its predecessor, the contest is a lot closer than the match between the Eighties pictures. In that case, the sequel is radically less compelling than the original, but the discrepancy between the 1958 and 1959 flicks is much smaller.

Actually, Return bears a fair number of similarities to The Fly II. As with the 1989 movie, this one features the son of the original man-fly as the protagonist. The difference is that the later picture's lead grows up as a mutant, whereas this one's Philippe - seen as a 10-year-old boy in the first movie - gets deformed the same way as dear old Dad.

In addition, there's a much greater lapse in time between the events of the first and second films in the 1950s stories. The Fly II starts only a few months after the previous movie's proceedings, although it ends up about five years in the future.

Return, however, jumps ahead roughly 16 years, a figure I base this on the differences in age between Charles Herbert, who played young Philippe in The Fly and Brett Halsey, who takes on the adult role in the sequel.

This fast-forward isn't explained in the film, so we're left to ponder it on our own and think of how much the world of 1975 looks like the environment of 1959. It also seems remarkable how little Philippe's Uncle Francois (again played by Vincent Price) aged in the interim; why, he looks just like he did when the boy was only ten!

Okay, I recognize that it's probably a waste of time to nit-pick these kinds of gaffes in a movie of this sort, but some of these goofs seem awfully sloppy. At least the 1986 and 1989 films took some pains to deal with the issue of contamination during transportation; all runs through the cycle were done nude in those flicks. However, in the Fifties versions, everyone goes through the ringer clothed, which makes me wonder why they didn't turn into half-man/half-slacks creatures. Geez, in the first movie, André actually dispatches a cat while she drinks milk from a bowl; how bizarre could that combination have been? Still, both Fifties films have their plot faults, so I won't penalize either in regard to the other.

Return is less interesting than the original mainly because - as with the 1989 film - it becomes little more than a typical monster movie, though Return attempts a little psychological depth. Philippe remains deathly afraid of flies - something that's used against him by the movie’s villain - but these nuances feel like little more than cheap devices to allow lightning to strike twice. After all, what were the chances the son coincidentally run himself through the transporter right when another fly sneaks into the machine? Pretty slim, I'd think, so the story needs to find a way to force a bug in there with him, and it does so, but in a pretty silly way.

Unlike The Fly II, Return of the Fly isn't a terrible movie, but it's not a very good one either. As it stands, Return presents a dopey but mildly entertaining take on the subject matter.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio C+/ Bonus C+

Return of the Fly appears in its original theatrical aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not flawless, the image held up well after 55 years.

Sharpness looked mostly detailed and crisp. A few minor instances of softness occurred, but the movie usually seemed accurate and well-defined. I saw little evidence of jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge enhancement seemed minimal. Print flaws also were minor for such an old movie. I witnessed the occasional speck but nothing else intrusive interfered.

The film’s low budget left it as a black and white production. I won’t complain too much because the shading looked terrific for the most part. The contrast presented a nicely gray image that seemed very clear and distinct. Black levels looked dark and deep but never were excessively thick, and shadow detail appeared appropriately heavy but not overly opaque. Other than the occasional print defect and a smidgen of softness, this was a terrific prsentation.

Though age-appropriate, I felt less delighted by the erratic DTS-HD MA Stereo 2.0 soundtrack for Return of the Fly. The “stereo” soundscape did little to nothing to spread out the material. It was glorified mono at best, as I couldn’t discern anything to open up the image.

Audio quality was acceptable for a movie from 1959. Speech remained intelligible at all times, but the lines tended to seem a little brittle and thin. Music was similarly lightweight, as the score showed little range; those elements tended to be lackluster. Finally, effects were clean enough, but they also suffered from the absence of dynamics, and some harshness occurred at times. There just wasn’t much punch to be found in this mediocre mix.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD from 2007? Audio appeared similar, as the lossless option didn’t add much to 55-year-old material. Visuals demonstrated improvements, though, as the Blu-ray offered superior definition.

While the 2007 DVD included no extras, the 2014 Blu-ray gives us a few components, and these start with an audio commentary from actor Brett Halsey and film historian David Del Valle. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at cast and crew, story/character areas, aspects of the production and other movie-related thoughts.

As an examination of Return’s production, this track seems like a bit of a dud. Halsey admits he doesn’t remember much about the shoot, and the participants tend to focus on related topics more than Return specifics. This means we get many observations about the rest of Halsey’s career and those of others involved in Return. The chat seems likeable enough but it doesn’t pack as much film-specific info as I’d like.

In addition to the trailer and a TV spot, the set finishes with a still gallery. It presents 18 advertisements and publicity shots. It becomes a short but good collection.

At no point can I call Return of the Fly a terrible movie, as it offers some cheesy entertainment. However, it’s not a good movie either. The Blu-ray presents very good visuals as well as mediocre audio and a decent audio commentary. Return does little for me, but the Blu-ray brings it home well.

Note that this version of Return of the Fly comes only as part of the four-disc “Vincent Price Collection II”. That set also includes House on Haunted Hill, The Comedy of Terrors, The Raven, The Last Man on Earth, The Tomb of Ligeia and Dr. Phibes Rises Again.

To rate this film, visit the 2007 review of RETURN OF THE FLY

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