The Fly on the Wall
“To boldly go where no man has gone before,” says the motto of the starship Enterprise. Though from a later decade, this famous line from the Star Trek series encapsulates the spirit of adventure and passion for knowledge shared by many science and technology enthusiasts throughout the 50s. This decade saw the development of many achievements in man’s quest for knowledge and an understanding of his universe, leading scientists to become more emboldened in their experiments as they mindlessly worked in pursuit of answers.
The 1958 film, The Fly, presents to the viewer two aspects of this desire for knowledge through the hardships of a scientist named Andre Delambre. Blinded by the idea that his discovery of a teleportation device is a ground-breaking achievement that will benefit mankind, Delambre later on becomes careless, resulting in his head and hand transforming into those of a fly. In this way, the film is able to comment on how the well-meaning, passionate desire of scientists to learn more can easily change into mindless self-indulgence and the regard of oneself as godly. Consequently, it can be said that the movie is a form of a morality play, where the protagonist decides between disrupting the forces of nature and tampering with creation, or avoiding the unknown and living a safe, comfortable life.
As a whole, watching the film was definitely an interesting experience, seeing as how it’s not the usual genre that I am attracted to. Though admittedly dragging at the beginning, the film keeps the viewer at the edge of her seat, and pokes at her to begin asking questions and to wonder what the search for knowledge truly means and truly entails. To boldly go where no man has gone before, indeed – and to risk everything just to understand and to get back.