Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 1951. Paramount Pictures. Screenplay by Sydney Boehm, based on the novel by Edwin Balmer, Philip Wylie. Cinematography by W. Howard Greene, John F. Seitz. Produced by George Pal. Music by Leith Stevens. Production Design by Albert Nozaki, Hal Pereira. Costume Design by Edith Head. Film Editing by Arthur P. Schmidt. Academy Awards 1951.
It must have dazzled the kids in 1951, but this film has not aged nearly as well as Forbidden Planet or The War Of The Worlds (heck, it hasn’t aged nearly as well as World Without End). When scientists announce that a star is headed for Earth and will destroy our planet (just think about that logic for a moment), it means that something has to be done to save at least a portion of the human population. Thankfully one researcher has built a giant rocket ship, a futuristic Noah’s Ark, that will carry a number of people (all of them white) to an Earth-like planet that just happens to be orbiting the star that is on its way (again, think about that for a moment). The film has a few nifty visual effects (including people arriving on a terrain that is basically a painting), but the majority of it is spent watching badly acted drama happen between conflicting personalities. It’s a cheesy bore, but the cinematography is stupendously beautiful and the kitsch factor (right down to the roller coaster launch pad) might make it worth your time.