I’ve written a lot in recent months about how terrific the 20th Century Fox Studio Classics Blu-rays have been, what with the releases of Cavalcade and Niagara in particular, but no title in the line thrilled me as much upon its announcement as The Fly (1958). As an avid science fiction and Vincent Price fan, to look at it this release could have very well been tailored specifically for my collection. Fortunately for you, it wasn’t, because personal preferences aside, 20th Century Fox’s Blu-ray release of The Fly boasts a beautiful transfer and a wealth of worthwhile special features that make this purchase a must.
The film itself, of course, is a sci-fi/horror classic, which stars Vincent Price as a man trying to unravel the mystery of his brother’s death, after his brother, a scientist, developed a teleportation machine and inadvertently transformed himself into an unspeakable monster while using the contraption. The practical effects give the film immense charm and the performances are superb, particularly from Price, who had yet to become the horror icon he is today, and David (Al) Hedison, whose physicality in the role of a man-turned-fly is wonderfully nuanced. What’s more, it would be remiss of me not to mention that the film is also one of the few great horror pictures to be remade well. In fact, David Cronenberg’s The Fly (1986) is considered by many I know to exceed the original, which is brilliant in its own right.
The Blu-ray transfer of The Fly is quite stunning with vivid colors, as evidenced by a blood-soaked piece of machinery in the opening, and hardly any noticeable damage or debris. And although the clarity does fluctuate slightly, resulting in the occasionally fuzzy image, this release is absolutely on par with the previous Studio Classics titles I’ve lauded. In this, Fox once again shows that they truly care about the presentation of their catalog and for that I am thankful, because there are few things more disappointing to a cinephile than a poor Blu-ray transfer.
Additionally, Fox presents the film here with a terrific array of supplements including an episode of Biography circa 1997 devoted to the life of Vincent Price, which covers not only his film career and personal life, but also his extensive work in promoting the fine arts. The biography features interviews with Dennis Hopper, Jane Russell, and Price’s daughter, among others. The Blu-ray also includes commentary with star David Hedison and film historian David Del Valle; “Fly Trap: Catching a Classic,” a short featurette about the production and reception of the original Fly trilogy; a snippet from Fox Movietone News that shows a cavalcade of classic movie monsters arriving at the premiere of The Fly; and the terrifically moody trailer for The Fly in which Price emerges from the shadows to challenge viewers to see it, warning us that it’s “far beyond anything your mind could ever conceive.”