(Couldn’t resist the picture, it sums up the film so well)
Wow, this is certainly not a film I ever thought I’d be reviewing. Or watching, for that matter- I actually turned up to the cinema to see The Women, but- well done me!- came on the wrong night (suspicion arose when I was sold a very cheap ticket and handed a small paper bag of flying saucers.) It’s essentially a fairly rubbish but quite amusing B-movie from 1951 about how the world ends when a massive star smashes into Earth, but they try to save some people, and there’s also some heroic sacrifice and stuff (not really what you’re there for though, is it?)
Is it a feminist film? Well, insofar as it’s a film about a whole bunch of men scientists doing science-y things to save the world, then NO. Insofar as it’s got one female protagonist, also NO, because she’s kind of rubbish. I mean, ostensibly, this woman (“Joyce”)*, is a scientist, just like her father**, but we basically never see her do any science beyond handing out food in a lunch queue to the male scientists (ooh, SCIENTIFIC) so I’m going to have to doubt that particular job status. Other than that, she acts purely as a love interest for this annoying guy whose name I’ve forgotten, so I’m going to call him Ignacious instead. Basically Ignacious’s only function is delivering stuff in planes, but just because he happens to deliver a top-secret package, five minutes later Ignacious is lecturing on science***. Yes, Ignacious does make a heroic yet utterly unrealistic sacrifice, but given that we don’t actually care about that… There are also some equally rubbish characters, including Joyce’s sort-of-boyfriend Tony**** and a whole bunch of other idiots that kind of do nothing. Essentially the whole film is ridiculous- even though there are thousands of people living in America, they choose the forty that get a chance of life on another planet just from the people they have to hand, AND the first Boring Science Guy ™ gets to choose himself and his daughter to go on the flight, just because she’s, uh, his daughter. What? That’s kind of rubbish! Yeah, just fling anyone you like on the rocket, yeah, just some random boy you found hanging out on a roof is fine, and maybe throw out a few chickens to keep some dog he found… you can have anyone on this flight (as long as they’re white and preferrably payed a lot of money to be there. And if they’re that guy in a wheelchair, they have to stand up at the end and fall flat on their face… a TOTALLY fun and not at all old joke…)
Is it disturbing? Not really, as in, not at all. It’s fairly ridiculous though, especially the last scene, which is hysterically stupid.
And… does it pass the Bechdel test? Did you hear what I said before? It has ONE female character. Literally ONE. So it can’t really pass. Extra marks, though, for Edith Head designing the costumes. Who knew she designed costumes for rubbish films as well as all the famous ones?
So to round this off: no, this isn’t a good film. And yes, there are probably much better B-movies out there if that’s your thing. However it’s reasonably amusing and melodramatic (always guaranteed points for melodrama from me!), even if, you know, Simone de Beauvoir might not have been a fan.*****
*I don’t know why I put this in quotes, I guess it’s just because I hope that it’s an alias and that she’s actually a top-secret spy- at least that would make up for how little she actually does in the film.
**A boring science guy.
***Another boring science guy.
****A third boring science guy.
*****Or maybe she might’ve! I don’t know! I can’t speak for someone who is dead and who I have never met. I was just sort of using that as a fancy way of saying that the feminist qualities of When Worlds Collide are quite nonexistent.