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When Worlds Collide

4.2 out of 5 stars 552 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Earth is threatened by a collision with a runaway star. Private industry builds a space ship to take colonists to a new planet to start a new civilization.
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: G
Release Date: 28-MAR-2006
Media Type: DVD

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Derr, Barbara Rush, Peter Hansen, John Hoyt, Larry Keating
  • Directors: Rudolph Maté
  • Writers: Edwin Balmer, Philip Wylie, Sydney Boehm
  • Producers: Cecil B. DeMille, George Pal
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    General Audience
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: September 25, 2001
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (552 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005NG6A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,280 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "When Worlds Collide" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Hart on October 21, 2004
Format: DVD
Based upon the 1933 novel by Edwin Balmer (1883-1959) and Philip Wylie (1902-1971), "When Worlds Collide" was adapted to film in 1951 under the direction of Rudolph Maté (1898-1964) and with a budget of approximately $936,000. (By comparison in the same year, this was only slightly less than the budget used for "The Day the Earth Stood Still", but a small fraction of the $7,000,000 budget spent for "Quo Vadis"). The story begins at a remote observatory where the eminent astronomer, Dr. Emery Bronson (Hayden Rorke, 1910-1987) discovers that a rogue star with its orbiting planet (that he names Bellus and Zyra respectively) may be on a collision course with Earth. In absolute secrecy, Dr. Bronson sends his horrific data to his colleague Dr. Cole Hendron (Larry Keating, 1896-1963) in New York via the leather-jacketed, ace pilot & courier Dave Randall (Richard Derr, 1918-1992). With the assistance of his daughter Joyce Hendron (Barbara Rush), Dr. Hendron analyzes Dr. Bronson's data on the "Differential Analyzer" (an old-fashioned analog computer) and confirms the trajectories of Bellus and Zyra. Dr. Hendron confers with other scientists and world leaders to ask them to build rockets to ferry as many people, animals and plants as possible away from the doomed Earth and to a new home on Zyra. (The similarity to the Judeo-Christian myth of Noah's ark is obvious.) However, the findings fall on deaf ears, except for the aging, wheelchair-bound millionaire Sydney Stanton (John Hoyt, 1905-1991), who agrees to fund the building of a single rocket that can take just over 40 passengers as long as he has a seat.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
When Worlds Collide was (albeit loosely) based on the novel by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer, first published back in 1932. George Pal (who became known as the best producer of SF genre films of the 1950s) produced this film after his highly successful "Destination Moon". The cast was comprised mainly of unknowns, probably to save money, only Barbara Rush and John Hoyt (who played the nasty industrialist Stanton to the hilt). going on to moderately successful film careers. Or you might notice Frank Cady, as Stanton's assistant, who later became well-known in the 1960s TV shows "Petticoat Junction" and "Green Acres", playing the same character in both shows, or a very young Stuart Whitman in a bit part.
The recently released DVD was long overdue, as the film has been restored to what I can only imagine was the original Technicolor clarity and hue of it's theatrical release. As has been pointed out, the film was a product of it's time (for instance, there are only <gasp!> white people on the space Ark). But if you keep in mind when the film was made, and the structure of American society at the time, such details, so politically incorrect today, fall into the irrelevancy they deserve.
Also, I don't think this was Pal's effort to do some kind of nuclear holocaust allegory, as some have suggested. Pal was a deeply religious man, and this was reflected to varying degrees in all of his films, and after seeing this movie many times, I lean more towards it being a truly Biblical "end of the world" story, rather than the more common 1950's "atomic doom" sort, although he was certainly cognizant of this angle (see his version of "The Time Machine"). As usual, Pal got an Oscar for special effects (nearly all of his movies did).
The acting is good in spots, stiff in others.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
So where will you be when the end is nigh? And when I speak of the end, I'm talking about the end of the world, as depicted in producer George Pal's classic science fiction feature When Worlds Collide (1951), which won an Oscar in 1952 for best special effects. Based on the novel written by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie, and directed by Rudolph Maté (D.O.A., The Violent Men), the film features Richard Derr (The Bride Goes Wild) and Barbara Rush (It Came from Outer Space). Also appearing is Larry Keating ("Mister Ed"), John Hoyt (Lost Continent, The Conqueror), Peter Hansen (The Deep Six), Alden Chase (The Blob), Hayden `Dr. Bellows' Rorke ("I Dream of Jeannie"), and Frank Cady (The Bad Seed, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao), probably best known for his role as the amiable general store proprietor Sam Drucker on the television series "Green Acres". Also, keep an ear out for popular voice over/narration artist Paul `The Voice' Frees (Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, The Monolith Monsters, The Time Machine), who's provided voices for such characters as Frances the talking mule, Boris Badenov, Morocco Mole, and the Pillsbury Doughboy, among a great many others.

The film opens with an apocalyptic passage from the Bible (Pal sure loved his scripture), after which we see some astronomers, working out of a South African observatory, busily crunching data and giving us the sense they've discovered something amiss with the universe, or, at least, our little corner of it...they pack up their materials and send them off with a pilot/courier named David Randall (Derr), to be delivered to Professor Cole Hendron (Keating), a scientist/astronomer who resides in the U.S.
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