David Randall is a carefree ladies man and skilled pilot who finds he has been let in on the greatest and most terrible secret in the world when he is paid to deliver some mysterious pictures from one eminent astronomer to another. The recipient, Dr. Hendron, confirms the awful findings of the sender: the star Bellus will collide with Earth and wipe out all of humanity. Despite widespread disbelief, two philanthropists give Dr. Hendron some of the money he needs to build a rocket ship that will, at least theoretically, take them to Zyra, a planet which is orbiting Bellus which may or may not be habitable for humans. The rest of the money comes from Sydney Stanton, a wheelchair-bound old man, who insists he come along, despite the severe limitations on the number of passengers and amount of cargo. Meanwhile, as doomsday approaches, Randall is surprised to find himself in a love triangle with Dr. Hendron's daughter and her fiancé. Humanity is in peril, and only a modern-day Noah's ark, ... Written by
In the final shot we see the Ark passengers disembarking with an obvious painted background depicting Zyra. This bad painting was tacked on for the film's sneak previews. Originally, producer George Pal wanted to depict Zyra as a miniature set, but Paramount shipped the film out before this could be done. See more »
When the main characters are gathered in Hendron's office awaiting the passing of Zyra, Joyce is seated in a chair. As the earthquake starts, she rises and runs across the room to Dave Randall. A short time later, in a shot from another angle, she's seated again then rises and runs to Randall a second time. See more »
[spoken over a shot of outer space]
Needles in a heavenly haystack. There are more stars in the heavens than there are human beings on Earth. Through telescopes men of science constantly search the infinitesimal corners of our solar system seeking new discoveries, hoping to better understand the laws of the Universe. Observatories dedicated to the study of astronomy are set in high and remote places, but there is none more remote than Mt. Kenna Observatory in this part of South ...
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a wonderful sci-fi film because it ultimately looks at human nature
This is an often overlooked sci-fi movie from the 50s--being not nearly as famous as the excellent Day the Earth Stood Still or Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Despite this, it is still one of the best ones of its era. The basic story is good, but not great. What sets it apart are the characters within it and the insight into human nature it gives you. This makes the film very allegorical and makes you think. Many of the characters, such as the leads, rise to the occasion and only think of saving others when it appears most life on Earth will be destroyed. Then, there are the jerks who also show their true colors--such as the crowd who try to storm the space ship bound for a safe new world, and especially the evil old financier who who wants to save his own skin and could care less about others. John Hoyt plays this role beautifully and it is very, very much like the character C. Montgomery Burns from the Simpsons!
Oh, and lest I forget, for 1951, the special effects are absolutely amazing. Aside from a pretty flat-looking matte painting used at the end, the space ship effects and flood effects were just terrific and earned this movie a well-deserved Oscar.
This is a great sci-fi film that all fans of the genre need to see.
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