When Worlds Collide [Import]
Winner of the 1951 Academy Award for Best Special Effects, this science fiction extravaganza set a new standard for the realistic depiction of cinematic disasters. Of course, it's a quaint curiosity by today's technological standards, but as produced by visual effects pioneer George Pal, this story of Earth's collision with a runaway star is still a dazzling example of screen sci-fi from the '50s, when special effects were entering a new stage of advancement. Despite scientists' warnings about the star's destructive potential, government officials refuse to take action that could cause international panic, but a consortium of private industrialists prepare for the worst by building a gigantic spaceship--an ark for humanity to begin life anew on a distant planet. Who will be chosen to go, and who left behind? As earthquakes roar and massive tidal waves devastate entire cities, the huge rocket prepares for take-off from its miles-long launching ramp--ready to abandon the shattered Earth! Although it's more enjoyable now as a cinematic museum piece, When Worlds Collide remains a milestone of its kind, leading the way for many more screen disasters that followed this movie's still-worthy example. --Jeff Shannon
Top Customer Reviews
Astronomers in South Africa--one played by Hayden Rorke, who went on the play Dr. Bellows in 'I Dream of Jeannie'--discover a star is on a collision course with Earth. Along with associates in America, most notably Larry Keating, in the role of Dr. Hendron, they try to convince a skeptical world that doomsday is just around the corner.
Unable to convince the world of the coming calamity, they set to work in building a rocket of salavation--to fly to what they believe is a habitable planet circling the star eventually named Zyra (the planet, they name Bellus). The rocket building is funded by a meglomaniac wheelchair-bound millionaire name Sydney Stantion--played wonderfully wicked by character actor John Hoyt. You also have Frank Cady, looking very young yet still very bald, who went on to greater fame in Green Acres.
As doomsday draws nearer, the rest of the world becomes convinced of what is to happen. As Hendon put it early in the movie, "Even a layman will be able to see the danger."
I didn't really find Richard Derr convincing as ladies' man Dave Randall. He was just a little too much Howdy Doody in the face to pull it off. The lovely Barbara Rush play Dr. Hendon's daughter, Joyce, and Randall's eventual love interest. By the way...a little Trek trivia here...Barbara Rush was the real-life wife of actor Jeffrey Hunter, who played Captain Christopher Pike in the original Star Trek pilot in 1964 (ultimately played by Shatner, of course).
The story does manage to build some tension, but the film is more genre than epic. There are some nice scenes, such as the U.N. scene (they must have spent some money on that) and closeups of the rocket. Unfortunately, the effects fall apart upon landing on Bellus.Read more ›
The filmmakers here have actually used a rather novel approach to filming the book by Edwin Balmer by loosely basing their tale on "Noah's Ark", and have used it as the stories springboard by which a small number of individuals along with assorted cattle will be the ones to escape the World Wide holocaust when it is discovered that the Earth is due to collide with a fast approaching asteriod from far out in space. The assumption is made that a newly discovered planet called Zyra could sustain human life so all efforts are directed towards constructing a spaceship or "human ark" that will be able to travel to this new world.Read more ›
The DVD version is very excellent, the movie color is outstanding, the special effects don't mess up a bit, and the sound is terrific. If you like disaster movies, give this movie a try. I recemend it.
Most recent customer reviews
If you love classic Sci-Fi movies this is right up there. Really good movie.Published 4 months ago by Debra
Faster paced than the book (of the same name). More personal drama for the leads as well. Still, this is one of my favourite "end of the world" flicks. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Hale & Hardy
this 1951, in technicolour, film is a fine classic produced by George Pal. There is science, astronomers, engineers, meteor...
Nope, not a meteor. Read more
Written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and recorded as a 1965 hit single by The Animals.
The star named Bellus is about to engage The Earth dispatching all of humanity... Read more
I haven't purchased this, but DVDs usually (not always) are better quality than what you copy onto VHS from TV, so I look forward to eventually buying. Read morePublished on July 3 2004 by SonoranArizonan
There are a handful of 1950's sci-fi movies that have a big reputation - When Worlds Collide, The Thing From Another World, Forbidden Planet, and The Day the Earth Stood Still. Read morePublished on June 19 2004 by K. Gittins
Well the fact is this movie is outdated. It's matte paints look like matte paintings, done very cheaply. Read morePublished on May 20 2004
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