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When worlds collide, their Gods jump out and start fighting.

Venerian God:
Idiot! Can't you keep to your bloody orbit?
Martian God:
Hey! Mind your language, you son of a mortal! Can't you follow an omen? Didn't your sacrificial virgins teach you anything?
V. God:
Look, you snake oil peddlar. I don't care what miracles you're trying to perform for your primitive followers; you cut inside my orbit. I mean, just look what your tidal effects did to my atmosphere!
M. God:
Next time wake up before mucking about with the gravitational constant! Idiot!
Earth God:
Get out of the way! Move it!
sound effects:
brakes squealing, horns blaring, and an Almighty crash.
E. God:
Damn! That's the third mass extinction on my planet!

When Worlds Collide is a classic science fiction tale released back in 1951, during the heyday of sci-fi "B" movies. This color format movie examined human society against the backdrop of a catastrophic event.

The Story:

Astronomers discover a star closing in fast on Earth. It is traveling through space with a collection of its own natural satellites, and it looks like Earth is going to get ripped apart, killing everything here. This tends to upset people, so they keep this information quiet for a while.

In the meantime, a group of scientists and a creepy old rich guy get together to build a rocket to escape. After doing a lot of calculating (on slide rules, no doubt), the scientists had figured one of the incoming invading planets will be ripped from orbit and get dropped into the same orbit that Earth currently occupies. The rocket will be able to reach the new planet with a carefully selected group of supplies, humans, animals and a certain creepy old rich guy.

When word finally leaks out, pandemonium strikes. Riots, mass killings, and other societal woes get unleashed. The scientists decide to hold a lottery for spaces on the rocket. As the planets get closer and closer, the weather goes haywire, earthquakes abound, and people increase their petty murdering and being relative ungood.

At the last minute, the people are picked, the stuff is loaded, and they're about to leave when the folks who lost the lottery decide that they should board the rocket. More rioting, more nastiness, one old creepy rich guy gets his just desserts, and off they go to start a new world populated only by weird trees strangely foreseen by Dr. Seuss.

Nifty Notes:
This movie really does an excellent job at building tension. The audience begins to feel very uneasy as the fateful day approaches. This is fueled by a guy on a loudspeaker, who counts down the days as work is feverishly performed on finishing and loading the rocket, since the window of opportunity to reach the new planet is very narrow.

The producer of this movie was the venerable Puppetoon master, George Pal, who never met a special effect he didn't like. It also turned out that the executive producer was an uncredited Cecil B. DeMille. The director was Rudolph Maté, better known from his cinematography work on The Pride of the Yankees.

While the effects are cheesy (and the matte paintings are apparently done by a drunk Dr. Seuss enthusiast), the real story was the infighting, the interaction between people, the sacrifices and the societal breakdown one could imagine with the total collapse and destruction of human civilization.

Credits, courtesy of IMDb:
  • Directed by Rudolph Maté
  • Written by Edwin Balmer (original novel), Sydney Boehm and Philip Wylie (original novel)

  • The Cast:
    • Richard Derr - David Randall
    • Barbara Rush - Joyce Hendron
    • Peter Hansen - Dr. Tony Drake M.D.
    • John Hoyt - Sydney Stanton, Millionaire
    • Larry Keating - Dr. Cole Hendron, Astronomer at Cosmos Observatory
    • Rachel Ames - Julie Cummings (as Judith Ames)
    • Alden 'Stephen' Chase - Dr. George Frye, Dean of Eastern School of Technology (as Stephen Chase)
    • Frank Cady - Harold Ferris, Stanton's Assistant
    • Hayden Rorke - Dr. Emery Bronson
    • Sandro Giglio - Dr. Ottinger, Astronomer
    • Kirk Alyn - Rioter Bringing Guns (uncredited)
    • Gertrude Astor - Traveler (uncredited)
    • Robert Chapman - Student (uncredited)
    • Gene Collins - Newsdealer (uncredited)
    • James Congdon - Eddie Garson (uncredited)
    • Marcel De la Brosse - Headwaiter (uncredited)
    • Estelle Etterre - Traveler (uncredited)
    • Sam Finn - Complaining Man at Airport (uncredited)
    • Paul Frees - Narrator/U.S. President (uncredited) (voice)
    • Art Gilmore - Paul, Dr. Bronson's Assistant (uncredited)
    • Charmienne Harker - Student (uncredited)
    • Ramsay Hill - French U.N. Respresentative (uncredited)
    • Walter Kelley - Student (uncredited)
    • Hassan Khayam - Indian U.N. Chairman (uncredited)
    • Rudy Lee - Mike, Little boy with dog (uncredited)
    • Freeman Lusk - Rudolph Marsden, Businessman (uncredited)
    • Chad Madison - Student (uncredited)
    • Dolores Mann - Student (uncredited)
    • William Meader - Jerry, the Clerk (uncredited)
    • Joseph Mell - Glen Spiro, Astronomer (uncredited)
    • Leonard Mudie - British U.N. Representative (uncredited)
    • Mary Murphy - Student (uncredited)
    • Gay Nelson - Leda (uncredited)
    • Keith Richards - Stanley, Dr. Bronson's Assistant (uncredited)
    • John Ridgely - Chief Customs Inspector (uncredited)
    • Kasey Rogers - Stewardess (uncredited)
    • Frances Sandford - Alice, Hendron's receptionist (uncredited)
    • Jeffrey Sayre - Taxi Driver (uncredited)
    • James Seay - Donovan, New York Sentinel Reporter (uncredited)
    • Queenie Smith - Matron with Cigarette (uncredited)
    • Harry Stanton - Dr. Zenta, Astronomer (uncredited)
    • Robert Sully - Student (uncredited)
    • Richard Vath - Student (uncredited)
    • Stuart Whitman - Extra by bunk during riot instigation (uncredited)
  • Produced by George Pal and Cecil B. DeMille (uncredited)
  • Original Music by Leith Stevens
  • Cinematography by W. Howard Greene and John F. Seitz
  • Film Editing by Arthur P. Schmidt
  • Art Direction by Albert Nozaki and Hal Pereira
  • Set Decoration by Sam Comer and Ross Dowd
  • Costume Design by Edith Head
  • Makeup by Glen Alden, Gertrude Reade and Wally Westmore
  • Second Unit Director Michael D. Moore (as Mickey Moore)
  • Sound by Gene Merritt and Walter Oberst
  • Special Effects by Harry Barndollar, Tim Barr, Farciot Edouart and Gordon Jennings
  • Visual Effects by Jan Domela (Dr. Seuss afficianado) and Paul K. Lerpae
  • Technical Advisor Chesley Bonestell
  • Color Consultant Robert Brower

IMDb (http://www.imdb.com)
Too many wasted hours watching sci-fi when I should've been doing my homework.

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