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Discussion before

This 1951 science fiction epic was the rare film to ignore the threat of nuclear proliferation and focus on science as mankind’s salvation. When scientists discover Earth is on a collision course with a wandering star, it falls to a group of humanitarians and one evil tycoon (John Hoyt) to finance a space ark to save at least a small portion of the human race. There’s the inevitable romance between pilot Richard Derr and scientist daughter Barbara Rush, but that hardly gets in the way of the Oscar-winning special effects (by Harry Barndollar and Gordon Jennings), as the approaching star triggers earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and a tidal wave that floods New York City. Paramount Pictures had bought the rights to the Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer novel for Cecil B. DeMille in 1933 but never got around to producing a screenplay. Producer George Pal bought the rights from them and then sold them back when his independently produced Destination Moon (1950) became a hit, and Paramount signed him to a producing contract. Pal wanted to film the novel’s sequel, After Worlds Collide, but the failure of his Conquest of Space (1955) put an end to that. (d. Rudolph MatĂ©, 83m, DCP)

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