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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
Curse of the Fly

Curse of the Fly

Movie

Written by Harry Spalding

Directed by Don Sharp

Released 1965

 

The Delambre family secretly continues experiments in teleportation.

 

Read the full film summary at IMDB or Watch the film itself at dailymotion

 

Notes from the Fly chronology

 

   Curse of the Fly was essentially sold to audiences as a sequel to the first two Fly films, The Fly and Return of the Fly, but it is more of a soft reboot. Return of the Fly is basically ignored (except for a production still of the Phillipe-fly, which is passed off as a photo of the André-fly from the first film). The backstory of The Fly is loosely kept here, altering the Delambre family to have been André with an adult son, Henri (instead of the 10-year old Phillipe), who was able to transform his father back to human (eliminating André's wife-assisted suicide).

    It's hard to say how much time has passed since the events of The Fly. Since André had an adult son at the time in this revised continuity, he was probably older than depicted by David (Al) Hedison in the original film. We don't know how old the adult son, Henri, was then either. In our current film, scientist Henri is an old man, but it is also stated here that both he and his also-scientist son, Martin, suffer from occasional attacks of premature, rapid aging, which aren't really explained, but are presumably a side-effect of using the teleporter themselves, though another of Henri's sons, Albert, does not suffer any ill effects and has presumably also been teleported. Albert appears to be 25-30 years of age.

    The film was made in 1965, with the corresponding fashions and automobiles present, so we may suppose the events of the story take place in about 1965 as well. If so, the film is set 7 years after The Fly.

 

Didja Know?

 

This film again had a lesser budget than the one previous. While the first film had a budget of roughly $400,000, and Return of the Fly an estimated budget of $225,000, this one had a mere $90,000 budget and it shows!

 

This film was shot by a British studio and, like Return of the Fly, was shot in black-and-white. 

 

Despite being part of the Fly franchise, there is no fly creature in this film at all! The closest we get is a photo of the André-fly in Inspector Charas' possession (the aforementioned production still of the Phillipe-fly from Return of the Fly). The story instead is about the Delambre family's continued experimentation with their teleportation device and the less-than-ethical decisions they make to achieve their obsession. André-fly

 

As I will point out at the end of the study, some ideas from this film may have inspired elements of Chris Walas' 1989 The Fly II, sequel to David Cronenberg's reimagining of The Fly in 1986.  

 

 

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this film

 

Patricia Stanley

Martin Delambre (dies in this film)

hotel porter

Tai

Wan

Henri Delambre

Albert Delambre

Albert's girlfriend (mentioned only)

Samuels (dies in this film)

Dill (dies in this film)

André Delambre (mentioned only, presumed deceased)

Inspector Ronet

Madame Fournier

Patricia Stanley's mother and father (mentioned only, deceased)

hotel manager

Inspector Charas

Judith Delambre (Martin's first wife, dies in this film)

nurse (unnamed)

Judge Gerard (mentioned only)

 

Didja Notice?

 

As Patricia Stanley shuts the gates of the psychiatric hospital from which she is escaping, two signs are seen mounted to the brick columns holding the gates. The sign on the right is not legible on screen. The left sign reads, "Maison de Sante Fournier", French for "Fournier House of Health".

 

Martin Delambre drives a 1962 Chevrolet Bel Air station wagon with license plate 882 321 (presumably a Quebec, Canada plate) as the film takes place near Montreal.

 

An Asian couple named Tai and Wan act as servants in the Delambre mansion. Tai is portrayed by British-Chinese actor Burt Kwouk, but Wan was played by Welsh actress Yvette Rees with some bad make-up to make her look Asian!

 

Martin's brother, Albert Delambre, is in London, England throughout the film, where he maintains the Delambres' second teleport unit for sending objects and people across the ocean in their experiments.

 

The father of Martin and Albert Delambre is Henri. It would seem that the writer and producers decided to use the name of André's son as written in the original 1957 short story "The Fly" by George Langelann.

 

Martin tells Patricia that the Delambre home and laboratory are a couple of hours north of Montreal.

 

At 14:15 on the DVD, a photo of a Canadian Mountie is seen on Inspector Ronet's office wall. It may be intended as a photo of himself in days with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, before he became an inspector for the Montreal police.

 

When Martin starts feeling ill during his picnic with Patricia, she takes over driving them back to the hotel. But she presumably does not have a driver license with her since any of her possessions would still be at the Fournier Mental Hospital. 

 

hotel register

    Inspector Ronet tracks Patricia to the hotel, but she has left with Martin by the time he arrives. In the hotel registry, the only home address she provided is "Montreal, Canada". We see the registry page at 18:33 on the DVD. Martin's entry above hers appears to show an address only of Long River, New. "New" may refer to Newfoundland, a province of Canada (now known as Newfoundland and Labrador), but the only town called Long River I can find in Canada is on Prince Edward Island, another province. Neither is what could be called a couple of hours north of Montreal as Martin had stated earlier; Prince Edward Island is over 11 hours drive northeast of Montreal and Newfoundland is not even reachable directly by car...aircraft or boat would be required.

    At 1:20:46 on the DVD, a sign for Spring Hill is seen outside the gates of the Delambre property. I've been unable to find a location called Spring Hill in any area that would correspond with the mansion's location (there is a "Springhill" in Manitoba, Canada, thousands of miles distance).

    Other names and addresses in the register are:

  • Mr. and Mrs. Le Clerc, from 1046 Woodside, Los Angeles. While there is a Woodside Drive in Los Angeles, it does not have a 1046 address on it.

  • The Reverend H.P. Pennington from Lapfield, SAS. SAS likely stands for Saskatchewan, a province of Canada, but I can find no town called Lapfield/Langfield/Longfield or anything similar there.

 

At 26:22 on the DVD, one of the gauges in the Delambre lab is a Cambridge Indicator. This was a gauge used for measuring the thermal conductivity of exhaust gas made by the Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company (existing 1881-1968).

 

When Henri goes through the teleportation process from London to Canada, he arrives in an unconscious condition. This seems to be expected, as Martin and Tai have equipment on hand to revive him, which they do calmly. In the previous two films, living subjects did not arrive in an unconscious state.

 

When Patricia expresses surprise that Henri arrived home so soon after she had been told he was still in London, Henri responds with, "Travel is so much quicker these days. One can get anyplace almost in a flash." He's making a bit of an in-joke between him and his son, as the teleportation process is nearly instantaneous and is accompanied by a bright flash of light from the transmitting and receiving chambers.

 

Inspector Ronet drives a 1962 Chevrolet Bel Air model 1511 with license plate 591151.

 

At 41:00 on the DVD, Henri's lips are moving before we hear words come out of his mouth. It appears that some small bit of dialog was muted after the scene had been shot.

 

    At 43:42 on the DVD, a chess board is set up on a swivel table in Inspector Charas' room when the nurse comes in to tell him he has a phone call from Inspector Ronet. Only a few moves appear to have been made on the board. Who was he playing against and why was the game paused after such few moves?

    It's unknown whether Charas is in an old people's home or just a standard hospital. He wears dark glasses over his eyes for unstated reasons. Possibly, he's had some kind of eye surgery.

 

Inspector Charas is played by Charles Carson. In The Fly, Charas was played by Herbert Marshall.

 

At 46:39 on the DVD, we see that the piano in the Delambre mansion is a C. Bechstein.

 

When Henri and Martin decide they must get rid of the deformed Samuels and Dill by teleporting them to London for termination and disposal by Albert, Martin uses what seems to be chloroform to knock them out by pouring a small amount on a rag and tossing it into a cell. I can't find any evidence that this would be an effective way to knock out a person from the fumes, even in a small, enclosed cell.

 

When Charas shows Ronet the photo of André transformed into a human fly at 55:42 on the DVD, it is actually a publicity still of Phillipe Delambre from Return of the Fly, as mentioned in Didja Know? above.

 

Charas remarks to Ronet that Martin and his father are affected by cold and also by bouts of premature and very rapid aging after the restoration of André. But why would either Henri or Martin be effected by André's addition of fly genetics when Henri was already born and adult at the stated time and Martin born from his father's genes long after? Their aging would seem to have nothing to do with André's inserted fly genes and more (presumably) to their own experimentation with teleportation.

 

When Inspector Ronet wants to know what happened to Martin's first wife Judith, Martin and his father tell him she left him and vanished and he got a Mexican divorce. In the 1960s, a divorce in Mexico was popular among some separating couples because there was less red tape, it was cheaper, and it did not require both spouses to be present. In the 1970s and onward, many Mexican courts stopped accepting divorce petitions from non-residents in accordance with new Mexican federal laws.

 

Tai and Wan take one of the Delambre's cars to escape. It is a 1961 Chevrolet Biscayne with license plate 631 432. When Inspector Ronet sees Tai and Wan fleeing in the vehicle, he soon calls an APB out on them, describing the vehicle as a "1963 blue Chevrolet." But the car seen in the film looks much more like the 1961 Biscayne than the 1963 model.

 

Near the end of the film, as Martin's accelerated aging has him collapsing into the cab of his station wagon, he quaveringly utters the lines made famous in the first two Fly films, "Help me...help me!" 

 

Unanswered Questions

 

What happened to Albert Delambre? Was he ever tracked down in London and held responsible for his complicity in his father's and brother's actions? Or did he turn himself in out of a sense of guilt?

 

Ideas in the film that may have inspired elements of The Fly II

 

Martin Delambre's first name may have been borrowed for the lead character of Martin Brundle in The Fly II, though I propose a different origination for the name in PopApostle's study of that film.

 

In both films, Martin is affected by bouts of very rapid aging, requiring regular injections of serum. In The Fly II, it is revealed the injections were placebos.

 

The fused form of Bartok and Martinfly in The Fly II is foreshadowed in that of Samuels and Dill when it arrives in the London materialization chamber here.

 

Memorable Dialog

three generations of Delambres.mp3
sacrifice.mp3
is that failure.mp3
annoy the police.mp3
when Inspector Charas tells you about the fly.mp3
almost in a flash.mp3
suffering animals.mp3
the curse of the fly.mp3
premature and very rapid aging.mp3
will I become like you?.mp3
small defeats.mp3
we can't put this power in his hands.mp3
he really thinks we're monsters.mp3
help me.mp3

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