The Fly/Return of the Fly/Sawtell and Shefter
August 10, 2012
If one were to put the soundtrack on to “The Fly” and not know what kind of movie it was, this reviewer would have guessed something along the line of a detective/action type film with a strong love interest plot. There are some very tense moments but that dissonant style with the brass is not evident through the majority of the score. It just didn’t project a 50’s Science Fiction to me. When you start listening to “The Return of the Fly” the opening chords immediately identify it as 50’s science fiction film with the hard edge removed and replaced with swirling notes from the string section. This new Kritzerland release is truly a study in contrasts and the films budgets showed that on the screen as well as the film quality. The ‘B’ programmer “The Fly,” with a $700,000 budget quickly got the attention of audiences and became the surprise film of the year for 20th Century Fox who was not known for their science fiction and horror films. It quickly became an ‘A’ picture and made and grossed $3 million dollars. The plot involves breaking down the atomic structure and transporting it elsewhere. The fly in the ointment was the problem and our star turned into a fly that was eventually killed by his wife. Starring David ‘Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea’ Hedison, as research scientist Andre Delambre, Patricia Owens as his wife Helene, and Vincent Price as his brother Francois it is nicely directed by Kurt Neumann. Filmed in Cinemascope enhanced the experience along with 4 track stereo sound. If you’ve not seen the film it is well worth a watch.
The score was quite sparse and features a very nice soap opera style romantic theme that appears bookended around two action/suspense cues for the main title. I’m including the audio track of the main and love theme to give you an idea of what you’re in for. 01 – The Fly It is also prominently featured in “Happy Couple” sounding like it came right out of a Max Steiner songbook complete with the harp line he is so well known for as he wrote it in many times for his wife, a harpist. It appears briefly again with violin and bassoon carrying the melody in “The Claw” after an opening of terror. “The Morning After” is standard underscore. “Fly’s Madam/Phillip’s Disappointment/Another Experiment offering three different styles with the last being the love theme again. “Helene’s Discovery” is tension filled and a good example of how effective music can be for films. It includes a brief return to the love theme twice with some excellent brass work and is the longest of the tracks. “Strange Story/Show Me/Help Me” combines three cues again with contrasting styles. “End Title” begins in patriotic fashion concluding with a typical coda.
If lower budget means more music then the sequel fits the bill with twice the amount of material. In fact the last two tracks are over half of the entire fly score! The “Main Title” with the swirling strings and brass statement give it that science fiction sound without the sharp edge you hear in some titles. I’ve included an audio clip in the main title to give you an idea of the sound. 10 – The Return of the Fly While the theme is somewhat subtle it is there and repeated throughout the score. “To the Foundry” has that Egyptian Mummy sound with a creepy oboe to enhance the track. Unlike “The Fly” this is the traditional mono recording. It is a clean remaster without glitches.
This is a limited edition CD of only 1000 copies so it is better to buy sooner than later. If you bought the Percepto release from 2002 it is pretty much the same except the third film of the series “Curse of the Fly” is included in the set.