The Fly is a 1958 American science-fiction horror film, directed by Kurt Neumann. The screenplay was written by James Clavell (his first), from the short story “The Fly” by George Langelaan. It was followed by two sequels, Return of the Fly and Curse of the Fly.
It was remade under the same title in 1986, and was slated to be remade again in 2006. The latter remake has been delayed.
Scientist Andre Delambre is found dead with his head and arm crushed in a hydraulic press. His wife Helene confesses to the crime. She is obsessed with flies, particularly a white-headed fly. Andre’s brother, Francois, lies and says he caught it. Thinking he knows the truth, Helene tells how it happened. In flashback, Andre, Helene and their son Phillipe are a happy family. Andre has been working on a matter transporter device—the disintegrator-integrator. It works, but not quite perfectly. He refines it, and eventually builds a man-sized pair of chambers. Helene, worried since Andre has not come up from the basement lab for a couple of days, goes down to investigate. Andre lets her in, but has a black cloth over his head. Communicating with typed notes only, Andre tells Helene that he tried to transport himself, but a fly got caught in the chamber, which resulted in mixing their atoms. Now he has the head and arm of a fly, and the fly has his miniature head and arm.
Andre needs Helene to capture the fly so he can reverse the process. She searches, but cannot find it. His will is fading as the fly’s instincts are taking over his brain, which is evidenced by the fly’s arm struggling to gain control of Andre’s body. Eventually, time runs out, and while Andre can still think like a human, he smashes the equipment and burns his notes. He leads Helene to the factory and sets the hydraulic press. Andre motions for Helene to push the button, wanting to be put out of his misery, but as she presses the button, she walks over to Andre to take one last look at him, and he tries to take Helene with him, due to the fly’s attempts to take over his brain. She then pushes Andre away from her, and the press crushes his head, killing him. Helene then proceeds to crush his left arm.
The police, hearing this confession, deem her insane, but guilty of murder. As they are hauling her away, Andre’s son Philippe tells Francois he’s seen the fly trapped in a web in the back garden. Francois convinces the inspector (Herbert Marshall) to come and see for himself. The two men see the fly, trapped in the web, with both Andre’s head and arm, looking somewhat aged and terrified. It screams “Help me! Help me!” as a large brown spider advances on the creature. Just as the fly is about to be devoured by the spider, the inspector smashes them both with a rock, letting the fly finally rest in peace. He and Francois backpedal on the facts such that Andre committed suicide,
as it is noted that the inspector is as guilty as Helene of murder. In the end, Helene, Francois and Phillipe resume their daily lives.