End-of-the-World movie kicks off in “distant” South Africa. I thought I’d
mention this because I happen to live in South Africa and would just like
to say that the brief glimpse of the “South African” landscape we get in a
few shots look nothing like any part of the country I know at all. Also,
no-one in this opening sequence sounds remotely South African either.
Anyway, now that
I’ve gotten that off my chest: When Worlds Collide
(released in 1951) – produced by the legendary George Pal of War of the
Worlds and The Time Machine fame –
is hopelessly outdated today, but that is where part of its charm lies:
the archaic giant V-1 rocket being launched on tracks (remember this was
18 years before the moon landing); the stoic and rather well-mannered
response of humanity to this calamity, this being the 1950s after all, a
more civilised era (except for the sexual repression and racism, of
course); the cheesy looking special effects with obvious scale models and
It’s a solid sci-fi
premise with the Earth being threatened by an intrusive star and, there
being no Bruce Willis to save us all from
Armageddon, plans are set up to start life anew on another planet by
launching a veritable modern “Noah’s Ark” with room for only 40 lucky
Or maybe they’re
not so lucky . . . I don’t know what it’d be like to spend the rest of
one’s life with the same 40 people with no real opportunity of meeting
anyone else – ever!
This is the Region 2 (Europe, Middle East & Japan only) disc. It has . . .
a trailer. Yup, that’s it. Rather shoddy I think – couldn’t they have
scrounged up at least a film historian or something to for an audio track
explaining how producer George Pal actually consulted rocket scientist
Wernher von Braun for the movie or something like that.
In its defence it
must be said that the image (full screen – probably close enough to its
original aspect ration without shearing off too much from the edges) looks
sharp and the mono sound is clear. Surprisingly good for a movie over a
half century old, really . . .
Some extras would have been nice. When Worlds Collide may not be
one of the best movies of its era, but at least it got spoofed in an
episode of The Simpsons, which makes part of our pop cultural
mindscape then . . .
Worth a rental. Make your own popcorn.