The Fly began life as a short story by George Langelaan. Twentieth Century-Fox snapped up the rights and hired James Clavell to write the script, his first screenplay assignment (Clavell would go on to write the screenplays for The Great Escape, 633 Squadron, The Satan Bug, To Sir, With Love, the latter which he also directed – he also become a very successful novelist, turning out such books as King Rat, Tai-Pan, Shogun, and Noble House, all of which became either films or mini-series). Kurt Neumann was in the director chair. He’d already done a couple of sci-fi films, Rocketship X-M and Kronos. Of course, The Fly was both science fiction and horror.
A top-drawer cast was assembled, including young Al Hedison (who would soon change his name to David), Vincent Price, Herbert Marshall, Patricia Owens, and the child actor, Charles Herbert. It was given the Cinemascope and color treatment (shot by veteran cameraman Karl Struss). And it was a smash hit with audiences everywhere, grossing $3,000,000 on a budget of $700,000, in at time when those figures actually meant something.
In those days, sequels were not all that common, but after the success of the first film, Fox decided to do another Fly picture, Return of the Fly, which was rushed into production and released a year later.
The scores to The Fly and Return of the Fly were written by the team of Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter. Beginning with just the kind of bombastic and memorable music you’d want for a movie called The Fly, Sawtell and Shefter immediately introduce the theme for the happy couple at the film’s center, and it establishes immediately the human element of the story, which is so important for any sci-fi or horror film. From there it’s classic Sawtell and Shefter, with the scary music and the human music balancing out each other and creating a symphony of terror and things gone wrong, all in that unbelievably great Fox stereo sound. It’s one of the great sci-fi/horror scores. Return of the Fly is equally strong as a score and it’s not just a rehash of the first score, which is refreshing.
The Fly and Return of the Fly were both previously released in a box set on Percepto Records (which also contained Curse of the Fly, composed by Shefter alone), which has been long out of print and hard to find. For this reissue, we decided to just present the first two films, since they were made only a year apart and were both composed by Sawtell and Shefter. We’ve done some cleanup work and remastered the sound, combined a couple of shorter cues and removed the “Fox Fanfare” since it obviously wasn’t composed by Sawtell and Shefter. Both scores are complete – The Fly in glorious stereo, and the low budget Return of the Fly in glorious mono. So, turn off the lights and bask in the eerie glow of two classic sci-fi/horror scores by the great team of Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter.
1. Main Title
3. Napaj Ni Edam/Happy Couple/Matchbox
4. The Claw
5. The Morning After
6. Fly’s Madam/Phillip’s Disappointment/Another Experiment
7. Helene’s Discovery
8. Strange Story/Show Me/Help Me
9. End Title
RETURN OF THE FLY:
10. Main Title
11. Amen/To the Foundry
12. How It Happened/Leave Me Alone
13. The House/Cecile
14. Fly Fright/The Heavy
15. The Experiment
16. Goodnight Phil
17. Gone Detective/The Phone Call
18. Rat Monster/Getting Rid of the Car
20. Disintegrated/Francois Shot
21. The Fly
22. Barthold/The Killing
23. Allen Dies/Righting Matters/End Titles