WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE


WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE
   Film (1951). Paramount. Dir Rudolph Mate, starring Richard Derr, Barbara Rush, John Hoyt, Larry Keating. Screenplay Sydney Boehm, based on When Worlds Collide (1933) by Philip WYLIE and Edwin BALMER. 83 mins. Colour.
   WWC, which helped spark the 1950s sf-movie boom, was George PAL's 2nd sf production, made after his DESTINATION MOON. 2 wandering planets are approaching Earth; US scientists calculate (though a disbelieving world, led by philistine UK scientists, rejects their conclusions) that the first will pass close by, creating tidal waves and earthquakes, and the second will annihilate Earth by direct impact; only the construction of a space ark (like Noah's) will save a handful of survivors. The spacecraft (launched on an upwards slanting railway line) carries 40 people to one of the two planets, Zyra, which is habitable. A routine love interest, and melodrama about who gets on the ark and who does not, leaves the single-minded thrust of the film surprisingly undamaged; it continues to grip. A low budget meant that the first near-miss sequence was montaged largely (and effectively) from stock shots - though the liners famously afloat in city streets in 2 brief shots are new; Earth's final death is over in an eye-blink, and the new planet is obviously a bright green painting (by Chesley BONESTELL). The religious subtext - Earth wiped out for its sins, and new Adams and Eves in a new Eden - is presented with no great moral conviction.
   PN
   See also: HOLOCAUST AND AFTER.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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