When Worlds Collide (1951)

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When Worlds Collide (1951)

Post  BoG on Sat Mar 06, 2010 9:44 pm


Based on the novel (1933) by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer - those fatallistic madmen.
stars: Richard Derr - Barbara Rush - Larry Keating - Peter Hansen - Hayden Rorke
and John Hoyt as the rich bastard in the wheelchair; directed by Rudolph Mate

Many reviewers liken this story to a representation of the nuclear threat, the threat in most of the sci-fi pictures of the fifties, but I never saw it that way. To me, this was simply the cosmic forces of the universe at play, against which mankind has no power; even if this took place 100 years later, mankind still wouldn't be able to do anything about it, advances or not.
I also think that the full magnitude of such a cataclysmic disaster (redundant?) is beyond the ability of human minds to grasp - that the entire Earth, with all its multitude of species just get wiped out that way... just completely wiped away... it's not the same as one of those earthquakes or volcanic eruptions; or even a few A-Bombs going off. Technically, this film should be in the Disaster films section, but it fits in too well with the other fifties (Golden Age) sf films, even if it is beyond the scope of destruction envisioned in the rest.
So, with such mass destruction on an apocalyptic scale, the characters themselves are not written to fully comprehend what is going to happen; hence we have them lighting up money in a restaurant - "money to burn" -ha-ha-ha! Barbara Rush appreciates a good laugh; that Derr - whatta dope.

There's a strong biblical tone, as well, especially at the end, when the first day on a new world has begun; it's an ideal world as so depicted, even if we see it for only a minute. Since there is that biblical feel to it, one might consider the extreme Wrath of God events here - this is very wrathful indeed. But, many would merely regard the events as cosmic chance, the capricious actions of an unfeeling cosmos.
Later filmmakers would try to sort of remake this cosmic accident in films as diverse as Meteor (1979) and Deep Impact (1998); even 2012 (2009). It's interesting that they still haven't matched the full destruction we see here, after all this time. No guts? Well, no guts - no glory, as they say.
When Trivia Collides: early bit part for Stuart Whitman as one of the young workers, seen near the end. The length of the ship which will take survivors into outer space is 400 feet, according to the figures on a chalkboard. Wylie and Balmer would revisit this as a sequel in bookform, in After Worlds Collide (1934). BoG's Score: 8 out of 10

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Re: When Worlds Collide (1951)

Post  BoG on Thu Nov 20, 2014 4:12 pm

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