Movie Review – When Worlds Collide (1951)

Director: Rudolph Maté

Stars: Richard Derr, Barbara Rush, Peter Hanson, John Hoyt, Larry Keating, Rachel Ames, Stephen Chase, Frank Cady, Hayden Rorke, Sandro Giglio

When scientist discover that two planets are going to pass by Earth and destroy the planet, a race begins to build a rocket that will take a select number of survivors to one of the new planets, where the world can continue.

I’m usually a sucker for classic sci-fi movies, and while When Worlds Collide has an interesting concept it surprisingly lacks drama. There’s some tension as a group of people work on the rocket, knowing that the odds are slim that they’ll actually get to travel. I liked how this was discussed, and how the astronomers and scientists were in control rather than the government. However, a few opportunities for drama were missed. There was an opportunity for a love triangle that could have added to the tension, but instead one of the suitors simply gives up, draining that subplot of any excitement.

The ending is a little strange as well, shifting to an animated scene. There’s also a major plot hole in that I don’t see how they could survive on a planet that’s hurtling through space, how is there going to be any atmosphere? And there’s going to be no heat without a sun.

So it’s a shame really because it begins as quite a suspenseful movie; a pilot has been ordered to deliver a black box, and when the contents are revealed it’s a big deal. But there wasn’t anything to set it apart from other films unfortunately.

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