A Guide to Apocalyptic Cinema

By Charles P. Mitchell | Go to book overview

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

Rating: ** Threat: Doomsday device

20th Century Fox. Written by Paul Dehn & Mort Abrahams adapted from the novel Monkey Planet by Pierre Boulle; Photographed by Milton Krasner; Special effects by L.B. Abbott & Art Cruichshank; Edited by Marion Rothman; Music by Leonard Rosenman; Produced by Arthur P. Jacobs and Mort Abrahams; Directed by Ted Post. 95 minutes.


ANNOTATED CAST LIST

James Franciscus (John Brent, astronaut on rescue mission); Charlton Heston (Col. George Taylor, astronaut imprisoned by mutants); Linda Harrison (Nova, Taylor's companion); Maurice Evans (Dr. Zaius, orangutan elder and minister of science); Kim Hunter (Dr. Zira, chimpanzee scientist); David Watson (Dr. Cornelius, her chimpanzee mate and fellow scientist); James Gregory (Ursus, gorilla leader); Eldon Burke (gorilla sergeant); Lou Wagner (Lucius, friend of Zira); Paul Richards (Mendez, Leader of the mutants); Victor Buono (heavyset mutant); Jeff Corey (Caspay, member of the mutant council); Natalie Trundy (Albina, mutant woman); Thomas Gomez (mutant minister); Don Pedro Colley (black mutant); Gregory Sierra (Verger, first mutant encountered by Brent); Tod Andrews (Skipper, astronaut who headed Brent's expedition); Paul Frees (narrator).


SYNOPSIS

The original Planet of the Apes (1968) was an extraordinary film, a classic science fiction adventure. Of course, viewers of the film only discovered it was actually post-apocalyptic in the final scene. George Taylor, played by Charlton Heston, led a deep-space mission that somehow passed through a time warp while the crew was in suspended animation. They crashed on a planet where intelligent apes are the dominant species and humans are primitive, brutish creatures, incapable of speech. Taylor is captured by the apes and later is befriended by Zira and Cornelius, chimpanzee scientists, who help Taylor to escape with Nova, another human prisoner, who is in love with him. In the dramatic final scene, Taylor and Nova ride off on horseback down a beach, heading into an area known as the Forbidden Zone, and Taylor is thunderstruck when he comes across the remnants of the Statue of Liberty. He has been on Earth all along. Human civilization was destroyed in a nuclear war, and eventually replaced by the evolving apes. Planet of the Apes spawned four sequels, all of which, to some extent, negated the intent of the original film. The first sequel, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, which followed quickly on the heels of the original picture, is the purest example of a picture that is simultaneously apocalyptic and

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