When Worlds Collide (1951)

Article 2029 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-4-2006
Posting Date: 3-3-2007
Directed by Rudolph Mate
Featuring Richard Derr, Barbara Rush, Peter Hansen

When a wandering star named Bellus is discovered to be on a collision course with the earth, a group of people decide to build a rocket that will take them to safety on the star’s sole planet, Zyra.

This doomsday movie from producer George Pal is generally well received. Certainly, the special effects are top-notch (with the exception being the shot of the Zyra landscape, an effect that Pal wanted to do as a miniature but the film got shipped out before he could). I always find the movie a bit on the disappointing side, though I like it a lot better than some of Pal’s weakest efforts (CONQUEST OF SPACE and ATLANTIS, THE LOST CONTINENT). The problem I have is that the human conflicts and stories that surround the event are pretty cliched; the use of a love triangle is particularly unimaginative, though at least none of the two rivals for Barbara Rush’s character’s hand dies heroically saving the others. Still, there are nice bits; I like the scenes where Riichard Derr’s messenger pretends to know more than he does in order to find out the nature of the message he’s delivering, and I like the scene where one of the rivals almost leaves the other stranded on the top of a flooded house. The movie also features John Hoyt, but sadly, this is one of his few performances I don’t like; his selfish millionaire is a fairly one-note affair, though in all fairness I should point out that it was written that way. Still, the scenes of the flooding of New York and the construction of the rocket ship are fun. Fans of TV sitcoms from the sixties should also recognize Hayden Rorke and Frank Cady in the cast.



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