Sometimes, there are characters in genre pictures that are so darned righteous and awesome, you can’t stop thinking about them or their amazing feats long after the movie is over. This column is dedicated to those cinematic bad-asses that keep us coming back for more. And here’s one that, most likely, is going to appear in this column several times in the near future. Let’s give it up for Vincent Price as François Delambre in THE FLY and RETURN OF THE FLY.
Earlier this week, I experienced a viewing of these two great creature features and, as always, anytime I see Price on screen, I have such an ever-growing affinity for him both as a person and a performer. In the 1958 original FLY, he plays François Delambre, the brother of brilliant scientist Andre Delambre who has secretly been perfecting his pods for teleportation. When he gets a frantic call at the opening of the picture from his sister-in-law, Helene, confessing that she’d murdered Andrew, François gives her the benefit of the doubt and offers to help in any way possible.
You see, François actually was in love with Helene, but she instead fell for his brother and, despite his desires for this woman, he always respected their relationship, even after his brother’s death. Once she regales the tale of how Andre turned himself into a giant human fly, François is one of the few people that believes her, as far-fetched as it all sounds. There’s a tiny fly out there with a white head that their son Phillippe, at one point, caught and Helene’s convinced that fly would’ve been the only thing that could’ve saved Andre. This all leads to the shocking conclusion where they discover the fly-human hybrid with Andre’s face trapped in a spider’s web, moments away from being devoured.
In the second film, 15 years have passed and his beloved sister-in-law, Helene, has died. Despite François’ concerns and warnings, Phillippe decides to continue his father’s research, which of course leads to history repeating itself. Even when the shit hits the fan and the sequel’s baddie Alan Hinds tries to steal the Delambre’s work after turning Phillippe into a human fly, François steps up to protect his nephew and even takes a bullet for him!
He thankfully survives and Phillippe is restored to his normal self in the finale, but that’s the last we see of François Delambre and Vincent Price in THE FLY franchise as the third film, THE CURSE OF THE FLY, goes even further ahead down the family tree.
Still – Price and his character of François Delambre is the best thing about these original FLY movies and for that, he’s more than earned this hashtag.