When Worlds Collide (1951)

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Released 12-Nov-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1951
Running Time 78:55
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Rudolph Mate

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Richard Derr
Barbara Rush
Peter Hanson
John Hoyt
Larry Keating
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Leith Stevens

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame German Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Danish
English for the Hearing Impaired
German Titling
French Titling
Italian Titling
Spanish Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    When astronomers discover a new star it soon becomes apparent that the Earth is in big trouble. First a planet, Zyra, orbiting this new star, will pass by us closely causing major earthquakes, tidal waves and volcanic eruptions. If this isn't bad enough a few weeks later this new star will crash into the Earth, obliterating the planet and of course all life on it. Naturally, many refuse to believe this prediction, when even the astronomers cannot agree that the Earth is in fact in danger. Those that do believe, include the astronomer Dr Cole Hendron (Larry Keating) who manages to convince two wealthy philanthropic friends to contribute to the construction of a space ship that can fly at least a small number of people to safety on Zyra. Unfortunately, these men cannot fund the whole project and this brings Sydney Stanton (John Hoyt) to Dr Hendron. Stanton, who is anything but philanthropic, volunteers to fund the rest of the project as long as he is given a ticket on the ship. Assisting on the project are Dr Hendron's daughter Joyce (Barbara Rush), her boyfriend Richard Derr (David Randall) and her ex-boyfriend Dr Tony Drake (Peter Hanson) who provide the story with a love triangle sub-plot.

    When Worlds Collide  was produced by George Pal who is perhaps best known as the producer and director of The Time Machine, but was also responsible for producing a number of science fiction movies in the 1950s and 1960s such as Destination Moon, Conquest Of Space and War Of The Worlds. While this film is not up to the standard of the classic science fiction movies The Time Machine and War Of The Worlds, if you can overlook the plot holes then you will mostly likely enjoy it.

    When Worlds Collide won the Academy Award for Best Special Effects in 1952. Although the effects look pitiful by today's standard they were obviously state of the art when this movie was made. If was also nominated for Best Cinematography.

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Transfer Quality


    This is a forty year old movie and this is evident in the transfer. Mild edge enhancement is occasionally apparent.

    This transfer is presented in as aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is consequently not 16x9 enhanced. This aspect ratio is very close to this film's original aspect ratio of 1.37:1.

    The sharpness is less than optimum with the entire movie looking a touch soft. This is undoubtedly due to the age of the film rather than a problem with the transfer. Shadow detail is acceptable. No low level noise was noted.

    The colour had a dated look which is typical of films from this period. In general the colour palette was rather drab.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. Even aliasing was absent, undoubtedly due to the soft nature of the image. Film artefacts consisted of some occasional small marks. This is somewhat surprising given the age of this movie and indicates that source elements used for the transfer were in very good condition. There was also some faint film grain visible throughout the movie.

    Subtitles are displayed in white text at the bottom of the screen and are well timed. I sampled about 10 minutes each of the English and the English For The Hearing Impaired subtitles and found then to be pretty accurate but not word perfect. If English is not your preferred language then there are 8 other languages to choose from.

    This is a single layer disc so there's no layer change to disturb your viewing.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio, as expected, had a dated quality but was in good condition with no major flaws.

    There are numerous Dolby Digital 2.0 audio tracks including German, English, Spanish, French and Italian. I listened to the English audio. The audio is strictly mono with the centre channel required to do all the work.

    Except for one occasion at 30:53 when the dialogue was drowned out by the rest of the audio it was clear and easy to understand. There is also a quiet crackle in the audio at 26:29. There were no particular problems noted in the audio sync.

    The music by Leith Stevens wasn't particularly inspiring and can best be described as typical of science fiction movies from the 1950s and 1960s. The phrase that probably captures this best is "overly dramatic".

    The surrounds are not used at all. The same is true of the subwoofer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There is just one extra - a theatrical trailer.


    The static menu is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. There is no audio.

Theatrical Trailer

     Displayed in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 without 16x9 enhancement this trailer runs for 1:53, and is typical of trailers of the period, featuring a very dramatic narration over clips from the movie. Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Except for differences in the audio and subtitles languages the discs are identical.


    If you like science fiction, and especially vintage science fiction, then When Worlds Collide isn't a bad way to spend 80 minutes. While not a classic it's quite an enjoyable movie if you can overlook the plot holes.

    The video quality was acceptable given the age of the movie.

    The audio quality was adequate for getting the story across.

    The extras are limited to a theatrical trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Peter Cole (Surely you've got something better to do than read my bio)
Tuesday, October 01, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-995
SpeakersFront L&R - B&W DM603, Centre - B&W LCR6, Rear L&R - B&W DM602, Sub - Yamaha YST-SW300

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