The End of the World 1916
The End of the World (Danish: Verdens Undergang) is a 1916 Danish science fiction drama film directed by August Blom and written by Otto Rung, starring Olaf Fønss and Ebba Thomsen. The film depicts a worldwide catastrophe when an errant comet passes by Earth and causes natural disasters and social unrest.
Blom and his crew created special effects for the comet disaster using showers of fiery sparks and shrouds of smoke. The film attracted a huge audience because of fears generated during the passing of Halley's comet six years earlier, as well as the ongoing turbulence and unrest of World War I.
The film is also known as The Flaming Sword. It was restored by the Danish Film Institute and released on DVD in 2006.
When Worlds Collide 1951
This beloved George Pal-produced sci-fi classic won the 1952 Oscars Special Effects and Best Color Cinematography. When Worlds Collide significantly helped launch the '50s sci-fi boom that influenced many of today's filmmakers.
An impending collision with a runaway star signals the destruction of Earth. The government refuses to listen to scientists, but private industrialists finance the building of a spaceship, which will carry a limited number of people to another planet to begin a new civilization. As doomsday approaches, they race against time and the panic of those who will be left behind.
The potential pulverizing impact of the collision, the massive tidal waves and devastating earthquakes, and the final cosmic smashup make a chilling panorama of disaster. This film is highlighted in greater detail in SFMZ's Fifties Sci-Fi Section - 1951.
Day The World Ended 1955
Day the World Ended (1955) was the fourth film directed by Roger Corman. Rick (Richard Denning) is a heroic scientist who, among others, must face off against a mutant monster (Paul Blaisdell) after an atomic war destroys human civilization. Chet Huntley of NBC, later of The Huntley-Brinkley Report, narrates.
The film is referred to in a 2001 horror film of the same title, The Day the World Ended. The film was remade in 1967 with the title In the Year 2889 with the dialogue repeated almost entirely verbatim. This film is highlighted in greater detail in SFMZ's Fifties Sci-Fi Section - 1955.
On the Beach 1959
On the Beach is a post-apocalyptic drama film directed by Stanley Kramer and written by John Paxton, based on Nevil Shute's 1957 novel of the same name. Stanley Kramer won the 1960 BAFTA for best director and Ernest Gold won the 1960 Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Score.
The film was remade as an Australian television film by Southern Star Productions in 2000. On the Beach is highlighted in greater detail in SFMZ's Fifties Sci-Fi Section - 1959.
The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1959)
The World, the Flesh and the Devil is a science fiction doomsday film written and directed by Ranald MacDougall. The star is Harry Belafonte, who was then at the peak of his film career. The film is set in a post-apocalyptic world.
It is based on two sources: the novel The Purple Cloud by M. P. Shiel and the story "End of the World" by Ferdinand Reyher. This film is highlighted in greater detail in SFMZ's Fifties Sci-Fi Section - 1959.
End of the World 1931
End of the World (French: La Fin du monde) is a 1931 French science fiction film directed by Abel Gance based on the novel Omega: The Last Days of the World by Camille Flammarion. The film stars Victor Francen as Martial Novalic, Colette Darfeuil as Genevieve de Murcie, Abel Gance as Jean Novalic, and Jeanne Brindau as Madame Novalic.
The plot concerns a comet hurling toward Earth on a collision course and the different reactions to people on the impending disaster. Scientist Martial Novalic who discovers the comet, seeks a solution to the problem and becomes a fugitive after skeptical authorities blame him for starting a mass panic. End of the World was director Abel Gance's first sound film.
The original film was to be over three hours long, but the backing production took the film from Gance, and cut it to be 105 minutes. It was again cut on its release in the United States under the title of Paris after Dark. Both abridged versions of the film were not well received by audiences or critics.
The film opens with Jean Novalic (Abel Gance) playing Jesus Christ in a passion play. Isabelle Bolin (Sylvie Grenade) attends with her boyfriend stock promoter Schomburg (Samson Fainsilber) who is entranced by the blonde actress playing Mary Magdalene, Genevieve de Murcie (Colette Darfeuil). Genevieve defies her scientist father Monsieur de Murcie (Jean d'Yd) to propose to Jean, who tells her that they cannot marry.
Back home, Genevieve's father, jealous of the wealthy Martial Novalic (Victor Francen)'s fame, accepts money from Schomburg to build an observatory better than Novalic's. Schomburg then announces his intention to court de Murcie's daughter. As Jean aids a young woman being abused, he is accused of rape and is critically wounded by a blow to the head.
Schomburg accompanies Genevieve to a fancy party, but takes her back to her apartment and rapes her. In his observatory, Martial detects the Lexell's Comet is on a collision course with Earth. Jean himself begins to predict a coming apocalypse, and claims that the cataclysm has arrived to "save the hearts of man". Martial confides to his colleagues that the comet will strike in 114 days.
After Jean is taken to an asylum, Martial and Genevieve listen to his phonographs which instruct Genevieve to abandon her worldly life and help Martial inaugurate a new World Government. Jean's voice tells them they must marry and become the shepherd and shepherdess of humanity. Genevieve sees a vision of Jean as Christ.
With 92 days left, Schomburg invests heavily in armaments while Martial goes to the rich Werster and tells him that the world will end. Motivated to help, Werster deals with Schomburg and gives Martial money to buy a newspaper and a broadcast station. Genevieve has remained single but helps to organize Radio Martial Novalic's broadcasts of peace bulletins.
Martial's confederates jam official radio news, blocking warnings that war mobilization is imminent. Martial announces the coming end of the world. Stock markets plunge around the globe but Schomburg continues to buy. De Murcie and Schomburg accuse Novalic of kidnapping Genevieve and using the Comet as a hoax to destroy the economy. A government minister orders the exchanges closed and the arrest of Martial and Werster.
But Martial's agents learn of the arrest warrant with a hidden microphone. The newspaper is confiscated and the radio station destroyed, and Martial and Werster escape. The government hides the truth which allows the stock market to recover. Schomberg holds a party the very night Martial claims that the Comet will become visible.
Schomnberg tells gangsters he'll pay a million Francs if Martial and Werster are found dead before morning. Genevieve returns to her father and joins Schomburg in the garden; the jealous Isabelle runs to warn Martial Novalic. At the party, the comet comes into sight. Isabelle helps Martial escape and learns that war mobilization will soon be announced.
He and Werster rush to destroy the government's radio antenna in the Eiffel Tower. Genvieve tips off Martial by telephone that Schomburg and his killers are ascending in an elevator. Werster warns Genevieve to stay on the ground and uses a cutting torch to sever the elevator cable, but Genevieve had taken the elevator as well and is killed with the rest.
The world can now see the Lexell's Comet with their own eyes, and Radio Novalic resumes broadcasting. Martial calls for the first convention of the "General States of the Universe" on August 5, the night before the collision. People around the world begin to pray as the comet looms larger in the sky and extreme weather ensues including blizzards, storms, tidal waves.
Riots break out and a thousand elite revelers bring musicians into a great hall for a feast and orgy. Monks carrying candles interrupt the orgy and lead the group in prayer. As the orbits of the Comet and the earth converge, Martial Novalic addresses the One World Congress, which unanimously agrees to unite all governments into a single harmonious entity. The Lexell's Comet narrowly misses the earth. Much of the world has been reduced to rubble, but life will go on.
An apocalyptic science fiction film, released by RKO Radio Pictures, about a group of worldwide natural disasters which lead to the destruction of the earth. The film is very loosely based on the novel of the same name by S. Fowler Wright, with the setting changed from England to the United States.
This special effect sequence later inspired a scene in The Day After Tomorrow (2004). The impressive effects were done by a team who later worked on the H. G. Wells-scripted film Things to Come (1936).
IMDB Reviewer's Synopsis: The suspenseful beginning is genuinely scary, in spite of its preposterous science: Puzzled scientists discover that the world's weather is going through some pretty weird changes - and that a menacing global storm is brewing on the horizon. But that's not all: Major earthquakes and massive floodings begin to mysteriously occur - and the ocean levels start rising rapidly.
The whole world is thrown into a state-of-alarm as all air flights are grounded and shipping is haulted. Then continents begin to sink into the ocean (though we only hear about it from chilling urgent news bulletins).
The character focus then switches to an "average" married couple as they flee to a grotto. The radio broadcasts grimly instruct NYC residents to quickly evacuate as the overwhelming meteorlogical horrors approach. (As the film's logo states - EARTH IS DOOMED!).
Then comes the crucial scene - the tremendous earthquake capped by a gigantic tidal wave, that catastrophically destroys and buries New York under the vast ocean that has now blanketed most of the Earth. Seeing NYC crumble as the earth rips open, with the almighty ocean pouring in, is quite scary on its own offbeat terms.
The story then focuses on the fate of a handful of survivors, struggling to live-as-best on a small portion of land that was spared the great plunge. A gang of violent renegades ARE out to make hell for the heros, as well as raping and murdering the women, which happens offscreen, making its repelling inferences that much more ugly.