I figure the first thing that anyone interested in this DVD collection is going to want to know is whether the picture transfer to the original "The Fly" is an improvement over the previous Fox DVD double feature of this movie and its immediate sequel, "The Return of the Fly," released in 2000. The answer is an emphatic, Yes! The 16x9 anamorphic image for this 1958 Cinemascope movie is less grainy, slightly brighter and sharper, and has improved color with more accurate flesh tones. The 4.0 Dolby Digital and Dolby Surround stereo are also an improvement over the previous release. So, if that's important to you, you need to get the upgrade found here.
The transfer to the 1959 sequel appears to be the same one used before, but since that movie is in black & white and the 16x9 anamorphic transfer of the Cinemascope image looked fine before, this is no problem. The second sequel in the collection, 1965's "The Curse of the Fly," is making its DVD debute here and this Cinemascope film is also presented in a fine black & white 16x9 anamorphic transfer, with good sharpness and full gray scale. No one should have any major complaints about the transfers of these movies, and each film has been given enough extras to satisfy all but the most finicky of fans.
The extras, besides a small booklet that's included with the set, are all on a fourth disc in the collection (Each movie is in its own slim case with original ad art on the covers and reproductions of each film's 1-sheet poster inside.) and these include still, ad and poster galleries, original trailers, pressbooks, a new ten-minute featurette on all the movies, and a 1997 A&E Network "Biography" of Vincent Price. There's also a brief Fox Movietone newsreel segment of the original movie's premiere at the San Francisco Fox Theatre on July 16, 1958 that nostalgically captures an era in movie exploitation that's long dead.
The one extra that's included with the original film itself is a rambling, but often amusing and informative "conversational" commentary track between star and "the fly" himself, David "Al" Hedison, and film historian, David Del Valle. The two men often cut each other off, but their talk flows smoothly and keeps up with a movie both are very fond of. Hedison is actually quite amazing in his recall of a film now nearly fifty years old and, he informs us, was shot in just 18 days!
I wasn't too enthusiastic when I pre-ordered this DVD collection. "The Fly" is a good but not a great sci-fi movie -- its ending is classic, but the movie itself is rather talky -- and I wasn't sure if the transfer would be much improved over what I already owned, but I took a chance and now that I've looked at this collection, I'm glad I have it. Another very good job from Fox Home Entertainment. They've been putting out some great DVD reissues of their older titles lately and I hope they keep it up.