The Shock of the Worlds (movie, 1951)

The Shock of the Worlds ( When Worlds Collide ) is an American film directed by Rudolph Maté , released in 1951 .


According to Professor Bronson’s calculations from Cape Town , the planet Bellus is heading towards Earth. Alerted by the scientist, Professor Hendron of the New YorkObservatory confirms his predictions: it remains less than 8 months before the inevitable collision with Bellus, 12 times larger than Earth, and the end of the world is near. Yet the United Nations , incredulous, refuse to engage any action. Thanks to the capital of Banker Sydney Stanton, a small group led by Hendron decides to build a spacecraft to colonize the satellite of Bellus, Zyra, whose atmosphere is similar to that of the Earth and which should escape the shock between the Earth and Bellus. If this ‘ Space Noah’s Ark'”Interplanetary is completed in time, 40 men and women, drawn from among selected profiles (engineers, technicians, farmers, etc.), can escape the disaster and perpetuate the species on Zyra.

Technical sheet

  • Title: The Shock of the Worlds
  • Original title: When Worlds Collide
  • Directed by: Rudolph Maté
  • Scenario: Sydney Boehm , based on the novel Clash of the worlds of Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer
  • Production: George Pal and Cecil B. DeMille executive producer (uncredited)
  • Production Company: Paramount Pictures
  • Budget: $ 936,000 (687,000 euros)
  • Music: Leith Stevens
  • Photograph: W. Howard Greene and John F. Seitz
  • Editing: Arthur P. Schmidt and Doane Harrison
  • Artistic direction: Albert Nozaki and Hal Pereira
  • Set Decoration: Sam Comer and Ross Dowd  (in)
  • Costumes: Edith Head
  • Visual Effects: Various collaborators, including Gordon Jennings
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Genre: science fiction
  • Format: Colors ( Technicolor ) – 1.37: 1 – Mono (Western Electric Recording) – 35 mm
  • Duration: 83 minutes
  • Release dates: United States :  ; France : 


  • Richard Derr (VF: Roland Menard ) : David Randall
  • Barbara Rush (VF: Thérèse Rigaut ) : Joyce Hendron
  • Peter Hansen (VF: Roger Rudel ) : Dr. Tony Drake
  • John Hoyt (VF Claude Peran ) : Sydney Stanton
  • Larry Keating (VF: Jean Mauclair ) : Dr. Cole Hendron
  • Rachel Ames  (in) : Julie Cummings
  • Stephen Chase (VF: Richard Francoeur )r George Frye
  • Frank Cady (VF: Jean Gournac ) : Harold Ferris
  • Hayden Rorke (VF: Christian Argentin ) : Dr. Emery Bronson
  • Sandro Giglio (VF: Raymond Rognoni )r Ottinger
  • James Congdon (VF: Michel André ) : Eddie Garson

And, among the uncredited actors

  • Leonard Mudie : The British representative at the United Nations
  • Queenie Smith : The mother with a cigarette
  • Stuart Whitman : Figuring (undetermined role)

Around the film

  • For their novels , Philip Gordon Wylie and Edwin Balmer were inspired by the biblical chapters of Revelation and Noah ‘s Ark . In the same way, the film opens on a plane of the Bible .
  • Given the success of the film, George Pal envisioned a time to move on, After Worlds Collide ( After Worlds Collide ) and asked Paramount to acquire the rights.
  • In the final shot, Zyra’s view is clearly a painting. This was originally used for the promotion of the film, and the producer George Pal then intended to use a model to represent the surface of Zyra but the Paramount released the film before the model was completed.
  • On this view of the planet Zyra, one can clearly see, on the horizon, the silhouette of two pyramids. On the left, we also see a rectangular construction, obviously artificial. Is Zyra inhabited?
  • All the passengers in the lifeboat are … white. We do not see any African-American, no Asian. The humanity that will survive on Zyra will therefore be composed solely of descendants of Europeans.
  • This film is one of many references to the introduction song of the Rocky Horror Picture Show : “Double feature”.
  • We find the same type of apocalyptic scenario of the selection of human beings (those who will survive and those who will die), in the film Deep Impact by Mimi Leder (1998), when comet Biderman collides with the Earth .


  • Oscar for the best visual effects 1951 (awarded in 1952).
  • also named in the category “Best Color Photography”.

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