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Planet of the Apes (1968)
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The Spike
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:54 am    Post subject: Planet of the Apes (1968) Reply with quote




"I'm a seeker, too. But my dreams aren't like yours. I can't help thinking that somewhere in the universe there has to be something better than man. Has to be."

Planet of the Apes is directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and adapted to screenplay by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling from the 1963 Pierre Boulle novel La planete des singes. It stars Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly and Linda Harrison. Music is scored by Jerry Goldsmith and Leon Shamroy is the cinematographer.

3978 A.D. and a spaceship and its crew crash down on a distant planet. Three astronauts survive the crash, they appear to be on a planet not unlike their own, Earth. But soon they come to learn that this planet is ruled by intelligent apes, the human being is the lesser species, mute and of basic intelligence.....

It was a tough sell to studios back in the 1960s, not only was the premise that formed Pierre Boulle's novel a tricky one, but the technical aspects, cost and quality of, also had the men in suits backing away from producer Arthur P. Jacobs and beefcake actor Charlton Heston. Eventually Dick Zanuck over at Fox nervously agreed to make it, as long as significant tests ensured that farce would not follow.

Stumping up $50,000 for John Chambers to develop the ape make up and masks, and a successful test run acted out by Edward G. Robinson as Dr Zaius opposite Heston, Planet of the Apes was given the green light. The script went through a number of changes as Serling and Wilson tossed around ideas to improve on Boulle's page turner-Heston himself felt that the novel as written was unfilmable-and when director Schaffner came on board, he himself went for a more primitive ape world as opposed to the one under consideration that featured futuristic high rises and super advanced technology. What came out at the end of it all is one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time.

What would follow the success of the film is well known, a number of inferior sequels, a TV series, a remake and even a prequel in 2011. Then of course there was the toys, models, comics, cartoons and T shirts; it at times felt in the 70s that there really was a Planet of the Apes, only this one was driven by commerce. The aftermath of the original film has not done it any favours, the lines have become blurred, with so much muck and tack about, it often gets forgotten just how clinically great Schaffner's movie is. If ever there was a film that deserves to be a standalone, this is the one.

Follow Heston's brawny Taylor from the pitiful planting of the stars and stripes at the beginning, to that monumental ending, and then leave it at that, do not pass go, do not venture further into any sort of monkey business. No sequel necessary, for Planet of the Apes to truly hit you with maximum impact, it all needs to end right there on that shoreline. As the great Rod Serling intended, in fact.

Thematically the picture is acknowledged as being caustically strong, a sociological allegory, with pinches of racial animus just for flavouring. It might be under the guise of a sci-fi movie, but the makers aren't trying to hide it. Whilst the narrative twitches with comment, whoosh was that an aside to the Scopes trial?

Film is also full of visceral thrills, pop-culture references and unnerving (alienation like) photographic beauty. The former comes with the hunt sequence, where we first meet gorilla's on horses, with guns and attitude, the latter with Shamroy's Panavision/De Luxe colour lensing of the California and Arizona locations. All enhanced by Goldsmith's aural pinging percussive led score. And while we continue to remember some of those famous bits of dialogue, we also pick up on each revisit to the film those little slices of humour slotted into the story; human see, human do, indeed.

Film of course hinges on Heston's central human performance, of which he delivers athletic guts and subtle nuances in equal measure. Taylor's character arc demands repeat viewings to fully appreciate what Heston brings to the role. Take in the cynical Taylor who wanders through the Forbidden Zone in the first quarter, then marry it up to the Taylor fighting for his life in the middle, and finally to the Taylor at the denouement, it's a three pronged acting turn of some undervalued distinction. Not all muscular "presence" actors are/were able to be credible, Heston was. Around him in the monkey suits are true professionals, Hunter, McDowall, Evans (coming in for Robinson who feared for is health in the suit) and Whitmore, while Harrison in the non speaking human role of Nova does her job of looking gorgeous! All that's left to say is that Schaffner, who would win the Academy Award for Best Director two years later for Patton, pulls it all together neatly. 10/10

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2014 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

__________________________________

First of all, if anybody out there in humanoid land hasn't seen this movie, stop right now and add it to your Netflix list. Don't come back here until you've joined the rest of us true sci-fi fans by watching it. You don't have to love it — you don't even have to like it — but you do need to watch it so that we're not embarrassed to be seen with you in public (metaphorically speaking, of course. Very Happy)

On the matter of sequels — yes, they don't impress me a bit, but they sure were popular.

But I must confessed, I was very impressed with the recent prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011). I haven't seen Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, but the first prequel has a great script, great cast, and some very creative uses of CGI and motion capture to give us characterx that look like real apes. I like the concept, too — a serum to treat Alzheimer's patients that has unexpected consequences. I think it's brilliant the way it explains both the smart apes and the downfall of human civilization.

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ralfy
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I appreciated about the film was the way in which it depicted how the history of the apes mirrored that of the humans.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2016 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

_____________________________

I was a Security Policeman in the Air Force, stationed in Korea, when I first saw this movie at the base theater. The audience was packed, with groups of pilots in one area, aircraft mechanics in another, etc. etc.

There I sat with a group of fellow SP's. Heston is hauled up in a net and hangs there while the ape citizens stand around shouting. Up walks a uniformed gorilla and barks an order.

"Stand aside! Security Police!"

The whole theater exploded with laughter, and the group of Security Policemen with me started sinking down in their seats, redfaced.

Part of the hilarity stemmed from fact that Security Policemen used to be called Air Policemen -- or AP's for short -- and everyone called them Apes.

Bud (simian admin)




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Krel
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2016 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

During filming of POTA, when the actors would break for meals, someone noticed that all the actors self segregated. All the Chimps sat together, all the Gorillas sat together and all the Orangutans sat together. Laughing

David.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2016 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Krel wrote:
During filming of POTA, when the actors would break for meals, someone noticed that all the actors self segregated. All the Chimps sat together, all the Gorillas sat together and all the Orangutans sat together.

Yes, and the rhesus monkeys were bused in from another location, as required by the Simian Civil Rights Act.



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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

IMDB has 101 trivia items for this classic. Here's a few I picked out to share.

Enjoy! Cool
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~ Kim Hunter reportedly found the facial ape prosthetics so claustrophobic that she took a Valium each morning while being made up as Zira.

Note from me: I'm not claustrophobic (I've been cave exploring and crawled through tiny areas where the ceiling was only 24" above the floor), but the idea of sitting in a chair for hours while slabs of rubber where glued to my face would make me beg for a Valium myself!

~ The "See No Evil, Hear No Evil" gag was entirely ad libbed on the set of the day of shooting. It was kept in because people found it amusing when the film was threatening to get too serious.

Note from me: The joke was a bit hokey, but the movie does indeed get mighty serious.

~ Allegedly, Jerry Goldsmith wore a gorilla mask while writing and conducting the score to "better get in touch with the movie." He also used a ram's horn in the process. The result was the first completely atonal score in a Hollywood movie.

Note from me: I'm not sure how wearing a gorilla mask while writing and conducting the score would help Mr. Goldsmith. It seems like this would tend to make the folks in the brass section and the wood winds tend to giggle, spoiling the taping of the music.

~ In the scene at the Ape City natural history museum, a large claw of a strange animal can be seen prominently displayed several times on a pedestal at the top of the stairs. It is the plaster cast made of the foot of the monster that attacks the spaceship in Forbidden Planet (1956).

Note from me: Sorry, but this is bogus. There's clearly very little similarity between the two.








~ The opening scene set on the space rocket was actually the very last scene to be filmed.

Note from me: The first time I saw those scenes in the spacecraft, I thought it was the most beautiful interior ever created. And now, 49 years later, it still has a shining elegance unsurpassed in science fiction.




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Pow
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saw POTA when my folks & I visited NYC.So seeing the ending scene with Lady Liberty in ruins was especially both shocking & powerful for me as we had visited the statue.

Always was impressed that CH did sci-fi films.POTA,The Omega Man,Soylent Green.Back in the 60s you did not often see A-listers such as Chuck go near sci-fi or fantasy.

Heston did not want to do the sequel,Beneath the Planet of the Apes,but had to due to his contract.

Gene Roddenberry had almost sold one of his sf TV/pilot movies to CBS.Either The Questor Tapes or Genesis II,can't recall which one exactly.CBS ran POTA,first time the film was on TV,on their movie-of-the-week & it was a smash.

CBS in its infinite wisdom gave Gene's production the deep six in order to do a POTA TV series.
Lasted one season.
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Krel
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That claw looks like the buzzard's claw from the end of "The Giant Claw".

David.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

By gum it does look more like The Giant Claw than the Id monster's foot! Laughing




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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2017 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah Bud, I loved the interior design of the ANSA Icarus too! The exterior was super too!







I thought "Wouldn't it be great to build a full size replica and outfit the interior just as shown in the film?"

Or even better, get ahold of the original mock-up!



I could put in on a flatbed and take it home with me!



Such is the stuff of sci-fi dreams!
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2017 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

I've always felt the Icarus was just the nose of a larger ship we never got to see.

Here's two designs by fans who seem to agree with me. I love these! Very Happy






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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 2:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can have your own scale model of the ANSA ICARUS!



Just enlarge these patterns, print them on cardstock, glue them together and you can have your own desk size ship!







Have fun!

Designed and contributed by Lance Brick

Instructions for assembly on Lance's website "
http://pota.goatley.com/paper-icarus/
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johnnybear
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Planet of The Apes has to be the best film ever made in my humble opinion! I love it! I first saw it in 1974 at the cinema after having seen ten of the fourteen TV episodes of the series and even though I'd been collecting the comics in the weeks preceding this, I was totally blown away by this film! It was SO brutal how the apes treated the humans and Taylor (Charlton Heston) is reduced from the big know it all, smug git who liked to annoy his fellow astronaut, Landon, in the desert, to a mute scared animal in a filthy, stinking cage! His shock at finding Dodge, another of his friends, stuffed in the ape museum and then Landon, reduced to a zombie after a lobotomy by the apes really are two of the highlights for me! Of course I knew the ending would feature the statue of Liberty, but what a bleak and horribly realistic film it was, only weakened by the sequels which also altered the time period of 3978 to 3955! WOW!
JB
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Bogmeister
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

____________
___________

_________________ Planet of the Apes trailer


__________


What more can I say about the original Planet of the Apes film that hasn't been said, written about and pondered over already?

How about this: the final resulting film was much more than the sum of its many separate parts. By all rights, it never should have succeeded, to any degree. One of the first hurdles to overcome was the ape makeup — how to present scenes of main character Taylor (Heston) talking with apes and not make fools of everyone involved?

There was a screening test filmed with Heston and Edward G.Robinson in ape makeup (poorly done at that point — the footage still exists and can be seen on special DVD editions).

The test audience didn't laugh.





But that was just the first hurdle.

The author of the original novel was a satirist, not a science fiction writer. The director, Schaffner, had no experience in sci-fi. Neither did the actors — this began Heston's sci-fi cycle, not end it.

Rod Serling, one of the screenwriters, was known for the Twilight Zone TV series, of course. But again, his focus had been on TV, on drama, on small human stories.

Somehow, it all came together. I really admire the first sequence in the film, from the introduction of Taylor in his small spaceship to the trek across some alien desert. When I first saw this (it must have been the first TV airing, in the seventies), I really bought into it. By about the 15-minute mark, the film had me — we really were on some distant planet, many years in the future, on the wildest sci-fi adventure I'd yet seen. The walk the 3 astronauts were on was long, but somehow, I wasn't bored.





The film only got better as it went along.

I think, in the most basic terms, the film just managed to present two elements in the best possible manner, and these two elements didn't bang up against each other as might be expected. The elements worked together, very smoothly.

The first element is the satiric one, some of the satire taken from the novel. It's most evident in the central trial sequence, when the ruling apes literally close their eyes, ears, and mouths to the idea of any intelligence existing outside their own limited domain (Ape City).

The film mocks us, our modern society, our religion(!) and even our history. The apes stand in for us: our politicians/religious leaders (orangutans), our scientists/professionals (chimpanzees) and our military/police (gorillas). Are we really such short-sighted brutes? We may laugh as the film progresses but afterward, if we think about it . . . waitaminnit . . . Wait a minute!




The 2nd element is the adventure, the action.

This turns out to be one of the more exciting science fiction epics. There are no real slow spots. Schaffner was always one of my favorite directors. His The War Lord and Patton are among my favorite films.

So, an audience has its pick here: appreciate the satire and enjoy the action. It's all there. And it's not just action, there's a sense of adventure here, of a journey which, in many ways, is an ultimate one, guaranteed by the ending. The Time Machine (1960) had a similar feel to this, but with less edge. Planet of the Apes was very edgy for its time. At the end, there was no where else to go, really. You can't go anywhere from an ultimate ending. However . . .



However, there was a continuation in Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970). Could it help ever being anything but mediocre by comparison? No.


BoG's Score: 9 out of 10





BoG
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