When Worlds Collide

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Overview

One of the more interesting of major studio sci-fi films from the 1950s, When Worlds Collide has held up beautifully over the 50 years since its release. Not only does its plot, involving elements of greed, lust, sacrifice, and generosity, resonate particularly well, but the effects have aged nicely -- they weren't too ambitious, and given the beauty of the print, they look almost completely realistic today within the framework of the film. The movie, a staple of televised sci-fi throughout the 1960s and 1970s, ...
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Overview

One of the more interesting of major studio sci-fi films from the 1950s, When Worlds Collide has held up beautifully over the 50 years since its release. Not only does its plot, involving elements of greed, lust, sacrifice, and generosity, resonate particularly well, but the effects have aged nicely -- they weren't too ambitious, and given the beauty of the print, they look almost completely realistic today within the framework of the film. The movie, a staple of televised sci-fi throughout the 1960s and 1970s, evidently was beautifully preserved by Paramount, because the color on the film-to-video transfer of this DVD, coupled with the extraordinary resolution, make viewing this disc an experience bordering on the breathtaking. The fleshtones, the textures of the clothes, the metal surfaces, even the silky black sky surrounding the observatory in the opening scene, are a delight to the eye, and the special effects look even better: Parts of this movie, such as the scenes involving Larry Keating and Barbara Rush 25 minutes in, Larry Keating, Stephen Chase, and John Hoyt 28 minutes in, the initial planetary upheavals 42 minutes in, and the final shot of Richard Derr and Barbara Rush, look almost like 3-D, and very good 3-D at that. The chaptering is a relatively unambitious 11 markers, which break down the movie effectively, if not in the most inspired manner. The only bonus is the original trailer, accessible through a simple menu, but the movie itself is such a treat, that the disc speaks for itself as a pleasure for sci-fi fans and pop culture buffs.
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Special Features

Standard version; Dolby Digital: English mono; French mono; English subtitles; Interactive menus; Scene selection; Theatrical trailer
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
Even though the acting in this 1951 production is mostly average, the film is nonetheless praiseworthy for its special effects and lickety-split pacing. From the opening scene to the last, the film races along as scientists scramble to cope with the ultimate disaster -- the end of the world. Legendary special-effects guru George Pal dots the sky with an ominous speck that soon burgeons into a great fireball -- a sun-sized body called Bellus -- as it hurtles toward earth. As civilization awaits doom, calendars display only one image -- the number of days remaining before impact. Americans work day and night to construct a rocket ship, a modern Noah's ark, to transport a lucky few to a new planet, Zyra, that will pass Earth just before the collision. The final scenes of the film stretch nerves as the sky reddens and a desperate mob storms the ship. Actors Richard Derr, Barbara Rush, John Hoyt, and Larry Keating play the principal roles with yeomanly competence, but the script is not strong enough to allow them to wax poetic or philosophical. The real star here, besides Bellus, is George Pal. Born in Hungary, Pal migrated to the U.S. after Hitler's rise to power and learned rocketry basics after befriending German immigrant scientists Willey Ley and Wernher von Braun. He used this knowledge to build the film's spaceship, a rocket that fires up in a horizontal position on a ramp. As the rocket gains speed, the ramp rises like a roller coaster. Artist Chesley Bonestell, who illustrated space scenes for scientists and writers and contributed to Life magazine, helped Pal create his special effects.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/25/2001
  • UPC: 097360510645
  • Original Release: 1951
  • Rating:

  • Source: Paramount
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Dolby 5.1 / Mono
  • Sound: Dolby Digital, monaural
  • Language: English, Français
  • Time: 1:22:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Richard Derr Dave Randall
Barbara Rush Joyce Hendron
Peter Hanson Dr. Tony Drake
John Hoyt Sydney Stanton
Larry Keating Dr. Cole Hendron
Judith Ames Julie Cummings
Stephen Chase Dr. Dean George Frey
Frank Cady Harold Ferris
Hayden Rorke Dr. Emery Bronson
Sandro Giglio Dr. Ottinger
Mary Murphy Student
Laura Elliot Stewardess
Kirk Alyn
Charmienne Harker
W. Wallace Kelley
Hassan Khayyam Indian Chairman
Leonard Mudie British UN Representative
Frances Sanford Alice, Secretary
Harry Stanton Dr. Zenta
Robert Sully
Richard Vath Student
Gertrude Astor Traveler
Gene Collins Newsdealer
James Congdon Eddie Garson
Marcel dela Brosse Headwaiter
Estelle Etterre Traveler
Sam Finn Traveler
Ramsay Hill Frenchman
Rudy Lee Mike
Freeman Lusk Rudolph Marston
William Meader Clerk
Joseph Mell Glen Spiro
Gay Nelson Leda
John Ridgely Chief Airport Inspector
James Seay Donovan, Reporter at Airport
Queenie Smith Matron with Cigarette
Stuart Whitman Student
Paul H. Frees Voice Only
Arthur Gilmore Paul
Keith Richards Stanley
Technical Credits
Rudolph Maté Director
Harry Barndollar Special Effects
Sydney Boehm Screenwriter
Sam Comer Set Decoration/Design
Ross Dowd Set Decoration/Design
W. Howard Greene Cinematographer
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Gordon Jennigns Special Effects
Gene Merritt Sound/Sound Designer
Albert Nozaki Art Director
Walter Oberst Sound/Sound Designer
George Pal Producer
Hal Pereira Art Director
Arthur P. Schmidt Editor
John F. Seitz Cinematographer
Leith Stevens Score Composer
Wally Westmore Makeup
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Scene Selection
1. Secrecy [1:11]
2. The Black Box [6:02]
3. Scientific Scorn [1:09]
4. Stanton's Money [6:41]
5. Preparing The Rocket Ship [2:12]
6. Evacuation [4:55]
7. The Hour Of Doom [1:49]
8. Lottery [5:15]
9. A Reason To Go [:07]
10. The Chosen Few [7:19]
11. Journey In A New World [3:58]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Set Up
      audio options: ENGLISH
      audio options: FRENCH
      subtitle options: ENGLISH FOR THE DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING
      subtitle options: NONE
   Theatrical Trailer
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    When special effects collide

    A well done story with beleiveable characters (for 1951). A little heavy handed on the God aspect with choirs singing amen at the end. The special effects were definitely over the top for a movie of this era, but in todays world, makes it a sci-fi classic for any collector.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews