Rating: **** Threat: Interplanetary collision
Paramount. Written by Sydney Boehm based on the novels When Worlds Collide & After Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie & Edwin Balmer; Photographed by John F. Seitz, W. Howard Greene & Farciot Eduoart (process photography); Special effects by Gordon Jennings & Harry Barndollar; Edited by Arthur Schmidt; Music by Leith Stevens; Produced by George Pal; Directed by Rudolph Maté. B & W, 83 minutes.
Richard Derr (Dave Randall, pilot); Larry Keating (Dr. Cole Hendron, American astronomer); Barbara Rush (Joyce Hendron, his daughter); Peter Hanson (Dr. Anthony Drake, physician and fiancé of Joyce); John Hoyt (Sidney Stanton, crippled millionaire); Frank Cady (Harold Ferris, Stanton's attendant); Hayden Rorke (Dr. Emery Bronson, South African astronomer who discovered the threat); Stephen Chase (Dr. Dean Frye, technology expert); Jim Congdon (Eddie Garson, technician); Judith Ames (Julie Cummings, Eddie's girlfriend); Sandro Giglio (Dr. Ottinger, scientist who mocks the collision theory); Frances Sanford (Alice, Hendron's secretary); Freeman Lusk (Rudolf Marston, philanthropist); Joseph Mell (Glen Spiro, philanthropist); Art Gilmore (Paul, Bronson's assistant); Keith Richards (Stanley, Bronson's assistant); Rudy Lee (Mike, youngster rescued by Dave); John Ridgely (customs inspector); Hassan Khayyam (UN committee president); Ramsay Hill (French UN delegate); James Seay (Donovan, newspaper publisher); Gene Collins (newspaper hawker); Mary Murphy, Kirk Alyn, Robert Chapman, Charmine Harker (spaceship passengers); Paul Frees (narrator).
When Worlds Collide was one of the first apocalyptic films produced by a prominent studio, and although the budget was economical, it was sufficient with George Pal's creative expertise to appear as a major production. Pal had just completed the highly successful Destination: Moon (1950), and When Worlds Collide was intended as a blockbuster successor. While not achieving the same level of success, the film was significant nevertheless and quite influential, becoming the standard against which future celestial disaster films would be measured.
The picture begins with a reference to the Bible about Noah and the flood. At a remote observatory in South Africa, astronomer Emery Bronson makes a frightening discovery. Two heavenly bodies, which he names Bellus and Zyra, will enter our solar system, and their paths will intersect the orbit of Earth, de-