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Planet of the Apes (1968)

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Planet of the Apes
Poster1
Director Franklin J. Schaffner
Production Company 20th Century Fox and APJAC Productions
Writers Pierre Boulle (original novel),
Rod Serling and Michael Wilson (screenplay)
Released February 8th, 1968
MPAA Rating GP
Runtime 112 min.
Continuity Movies
"Take your stinkin' paws off me, you damn dirty ape!"
--Taylor


Primary Cast:

SynopsisEdit

Taylorshipinterior2

It begins in a spaceship carrying four passengers. The skipper, George Taylor (Charlton Heston) speaks of how their ship is traveling 700 years into the future but they are not aging. He and three colleagues, fame-seeker Landon (Robert Gunner), man of science Dodge (Jeff Burton), and 'future Eve' Stewart (in what amounts to a cameo role for Dianne Stanley), have been in space for six months, having departed in January 1972. The deep space experiment involves Dr Hasslein's theory in which the astronauts age only a few years while the citizens of Earth age centuries. Taylor is floating among the stars and in his self-inflicted malaise wonders if man will ever change. Then he gives himself a sleeper shot and goes into a sleeping chamber like his companions. Then the opening credits roll.

The spaceship enters a desolate planet’s orbit, a year after the opening scene, crashing into a lake in the middle of a mountainous desert. This is the 'Forbidden Zone', a place still haunted by the aftermath of nuclear war. The astronauts awake due to the flashing red lights. Taylor, Dodge and Landon, get out of the cryo beds but then notice that Stewart has died of old age through an air leak in her sleeping chamber. Taylor and his two surviving companions abandon ship as they discover that the hull is sinking into a large lake. The men escape on a raft, make for land, and theorize that the planet they are stranded on may be in orbit around the star Bellatrix in the constellation of Orion. They walk through great stretches of mountains and desert, at last finding an oasis guarded by what appear to be humanoid scarecrows. The men soon encounter primitive men and women who are mute. Taylor believes that they have discovered a new Garden of Eden. With a smile he quips, "If this is the best they’ve got around here, in six months we'll be running this planet".

But the planet has more to offer, principally a new order of primates. In this upside down world there are three castes: gorillas (who are the workers and soldiers), chimpanzees (scientists and intellectuals), and orangutans (governors and politicians). It seems the humans have invaded crops cultivated by the advanced but rural apes. Gorilla soldiers with modern firearms and horses soon kill many of the humans, with pockets captured for subsequent experimentation by the chimpanzees. In the melee, Dodge is killed and Taylor and Landon are wounded and taken as prisoners.

Wounded in the throat, Taylor cannot talk, but he does manage to communicate with Dr Zira (Kim Hunter), an animal psychologist, and Dr Cornelius (Roddy McDowall), her fiancé and an archaeologist. When Dr Zaius (Maurice Evans) learns of the human and his ability to reason (and his understanding of technology; namely, of airplanes and flight), he orders Taylor emasculated and secretly has Landon lobotomised. Taylor escapes, only to be captured again; ever defiant, he utters his first words among the apes: "Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!"

After a trial, Cornelius and Zira help Taylor and his new girlfriend Nova (Linda Harrison) escape, and the four, along with Zira’s nephew Lucius (Lou Wagner), head into the Forbidden Zone to prove that man was once superior to the ape. Followed by Zaius and a group of gorilla soldiers, the five manage to return to a dig Cornelius had begun some time previously. Taylor manages to capture Zaius, and within the cave, they discover a human doll that talks, thus proving that humans once held superior technology and that apes somehow descended from them.

Although Zaius eventually regains control of the situation and places Cornelius and Zira under arrest for heresy, he lets Taylor and Nova go free. The film’s coda has Taylor discovering that he is not on an alien planet, but rather on Earth, where the human 'maniacs' killed each other in a great war and now are dominated by apes. As Taylor screams with frustration and Nova watches on with painful naiveté, the camera pulls back to reveal a half-buried Statue of Liberty, America’s greatest symbol of freedom now nothing but rubble.[1]

Cast And CrewEdit

Supporting Cast (uncredited):

Marvel planet

Marvel Comics' adaptation of Planet of the Apes

Marvel planet2

Marvel Comics' adaptation of Planet of the Apes

  • Joe Canutt ... Stunt Coordinator
  • Nick Dimitri ... Stunts
  • Bennie E. Dobbins ... Stunts
  • Kent Hays ... Stunts
  • Whitey Hughes ... Stunts
  • Loren Janes ... Stunts
  • Terry Leonard ... Stunts
  • Regis Parton ... Stunts
  • Glenn Randall Jr ... Stunts
  • Jim Sheppard ... Stunts
  • Ted White ... Stunts
  • Lightning Bear ... Stunts
  • Steven Burnett ... Stunts
  • Tap Canutt ... Stunts
  • Tom Dittman ... Stunts
  • Tony Epper ... Stunts
  • Fritz Ford ... Stunts
  • Eddie Hice ... Stunts
  • J. David Jones ... Stunts
  • Gene LeBell ... Stunts
  • Lars Lundgren ... Stunts
  • Frank Orsatti ... Stunts
  • Bill M. Ryusaki ... Stunts
  • Alex Sharp ... Stunts
  • Roy N. Sickner ... Stunts
  • George P. Wilbur ... Stunts
Humans

Locations

Items

Production Crew

Behind the ScenesEdit

King Brothers & Rod SerlingEdit

The earliest attempts to transform Pierre Boulle’s novel La Planète des singes (originally published in France in January 1963, and in English in the USA in June of the same year) into a motion-picture involved acclaimed screenwriter Rod Serling, then riding high on the success of his Twilight Zone TV show. Serling stated in an interview with Marvel Comics Planet of the Apes magazine, first published in August 1974: "I first became involved with Planet of the Apes about ten years ago. I was approached by an outfit called the King Brothers, who did mostly Indian-elephant pictures which were shot for about a $1.80 - because elephants didn't have a union, then! The King Brothers had a notion about doing the Pierre Boulle book as a nickle-and-dime picture. I was convinced that it could be done and at the time, as I recall, I did a whole treatment for them, a scene-by-scene breakdown of how we would lick the problem. They ultimately discarded it because of the ape population."[3] He told Cinefantastique magazine, in a January 1972 interview: "...as talented and creative a man as Boulle is, he does not have the deftness of a science fiction writer. Boulle's book was not a parody, but rather a prolonged allegory about morality, more than it was a stunning science fiction piece. But it contained within its structure a walloping science fiction idea. The King Brothers had Boulle's book about eight or ten years ago, and called me in then. My recollection is that they were going to do a $200,000 film, and put masks on actors, at which point I said I couldn't associate myself with it."[4] 'King Brothers Productions' must have held the screen rights to the novel for only a brief time; although the project reportedly lay dormant for many months,[5] events seemed to move quite quickly.

APJAC Productions & Serling Script TreatmentsEdit

At exactly what point Arthur P. Jacobs became involved is not clear. A 'Final Production Information Guide' Jacobs used to promote his movie in 1968 claimed that he had purchased the movie rights "from the original French-language galley proofs prior to the novel's publication",[6] which would seem to contradict Serling's recollections. Interviewed in December 1971, Jacobs said: "About six years ago, I was looking for material, and I would meet with various literary agents. I said, 'What I would like to find is something like 'King Kong'.' I didn't want to make 'King Kong' again, because you can't do that. About six months later, I was in Paris, and a literary agent called me, came over, and said he had a new novel by Françoise Sagan. I read it, and wasn't too fascinated. Then he said, 'Speaking of 'King Kong', I've got a thing here, and it's so far out, I don't think you can make it.' He told me the story, and I said, 'I'll buy it - gotta buy it.' He said, 'I think you're crazy, but okay.' So I bought it, and that's how it came about."[4] Associate producer Mort Abrahams similarly recalled, "In 1963, Arthur had gone to France and met with Allain Bernheim, who was a literary agent in Paris - and he was a friend of Arthur's - and he gave him the Pierre Boulle novel. Arthur read it and was immediately struck by it, called Richard Zanuck, who was, I believe, in London at the time. Arthur called him from Paris and gave him a kind of two-sentence description on the phone, and Zanuck said, 'I'll buy it for you'. And he did, he [optioned the rights] for Arthur. Zanuck was so intrigued with this thirty-second synopsis on the phone that he never really stopped to consider the problem of actually turning the book into a film."[7]

Working in partnership with British director J. Lee Thompson (at that time directing Jacobs' production debut What a Way to Go!), Jacobs began working to bring Planet of the Apes to the big screen - a long and difficult process - sometime in late 1963. He sent copies of the novel to film studios MGM, Paramount, United Artists and 20th Century Fox, and to Marlon Brando (star of A Streetcar Named Desire with Kim Hunter), who he hoped would agree to star. He wrote, "J. Lee Thompson and I have acquired the rights to make this film... You are, of course, the first actor to whom this property has been submitted, and Lee and I feel you will share our enthusiasm for what we think can be one of the most exciting films ever made... As the book is coming out shortly, we want to effect an immediate distribution arrangement, so if you have any interest whatsoever, I would greatly appreciate if you would cable me."[7] Jacobs wrote a five-page summary to sell the story to the studios, calling it a "rip-roaring horror story - a classic thriller". They hoped for Marlon Brando or Paul Newman or Burt Lancaster for the role of Ulysse Mérou, but felt Steve McQueen, George Peppard or Rod Taylor would not have the prestige required. They also aimed for 'Bond girl' Ursula Andress, or some other "fantastic beauty", for the role of the beautiful but mute human female Nova, and wanted a release in Spring or early Summer of 1964.[8] Jacobs also contracted artists to produce a series of concept and production sketches. United Artists' vice president David V. Picker reportedly lobbied for the company to finance the movie but could not convince his fellow executives that it was a viable project.[9] During August and September 1963, Warner Bros. gave an advance of $25,500 to Jacobs and Thompson for an unspecified project (Warners sued Jacobs' APJAC Productions and J. Lee Thompson's Orchard Productions over the advancement in late 1965). [10] In December 1963, Jacobs presented Fox's Richard D. Zanuck with a budget proposal of $1,710,700 and believed that he was on the point of a deal, but the studio calculated the film would cost $2.5 million and decided it was too expensive.[11] Fox had bought the movie rights to the book on Jacobs' recommendation, but because of near-bankruptcy after the production of Cleopatra they now put the project in 'turnaround' (whereby the rights are offered for sale to another studio in exchange for the cost of development).[12] Thompson was unwilling to devote more of his time to the project, and later reflected: "It was looking pretty grim at one time, so I very stupidly sold my share in the film back to Arthur" (Thompson would go on to direct the fourth and fifth Apes movies)[13]. Directors considered to replace Thompson included Mervyn LeRoy, Fritz Lang and Terrence Fisher, while Stewart Stern and Paddy Chayefsky were approached to write a screenplay. Soon afterwards, Jacobs secured director Blake Edwards, then more popularly known for creating the TV series Peter Gunn (1958-1961) and directing Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), and later for the Pink Panther films. By February 1964, Jacobs' APJAC Productions had reached a tentative agreement with Warner Bros. to begin production on the movie in late January of 1965, and Rod Serling was hired to write a screenplay. Shirley MacLaine had agreed to play Zira and Paul Newman was the preferred choice for the human lead (MacLaine and Newman were then filming What a Way to Go! for APJAC); other possibilities were Jack Lemmon or Rock Hudson[8] - Hudson apparently considered for the part of Cornélius.[14]

Serling later recalled how writer/producer Edwards had employed him as screenwriter following on from his treatment for the King Brothers (though he believed Edwards had optioned the film rights even before Jacobs became involved): "I never heard any more about it until I got a call from Blake Edwards, who was the next individual to get into it and who was going to produce and direct it. I was told by Blake to go, not to worry about money. It was going to be a big one. My earliest version of the script featured an ape city, much like New York. It wasn't carved out rocks with caves on the side of a hill. It was a metropolis. Everything related to anthropoid. The automobiles, the buildings, the elevators, the rooms, the furniture. The script was very long and I think the estimate of the production people was that if they had shot that script it would've cost no less than a hundred million dollars - y'know, by the time they created an ape population, clothed it and built a city for them to live in." "Then Arthur Jacobs got into it, as I recall. Arthur said it could be done but not for that kind of money."[3] Serling's recollections may simply reflect Jacobs' lack of involvement with script concerns at that point.

Either way, Serling was reporting jointly to Jacobs as producer and Edwards as director by April 1964 and took up the development of a workable script. Serling’s script treatments for an Apes movie remained faithful to Boulle’s novel: he stuck to the basics of the story, replacing some of its more laboured allegories with tight dramatic situations and action sequences, and overlayed many of his own ideas and commentaries: "I think the major [problem] was to make apes speak and not get a laugh. The whole thing was to make an audience believe it and take it seriously. Mine was a very true adaptation of the original material. Actually, it was not an adaptation. It was 'based on' the book by Boulle. There's quite a distinction."[3] "I worked on the screenplay for well over a year, and thirty or forty drafts came out of it. I could've taken the excess pages and made a series about it!"[4]

As Serling's drafts rolled in, he initially stayed faithful to Boulle's twist ending, with the artifacts uncovered by Cornelius at his archaeological diggings revealing that humans had once ruled this alien planet. The central character, 'John Thomas' (taking the place of Boulle’s 'Ulysse Mérou'), successfully escapes the alien ape planet with his mate Nova and flies back home to Earth, which (as with Mérou) he finds now controlled by apes. In a letter to Jacobs and Edwards dated 27 April 1964, Serling discussed simplifying the draft script’s opening to remove some of the ‘smalltalk’. He suggested that Zaius should keep his suspicions about humanity's civilized past to himself until after the archaeological discoveries, "but it must be only an inkling", and that therefore the attempted assassination of Thomas should not occur right after his appearance in front of the Academy, but rather after Zaius’ realization of the truth. In a script revision from before 15 May 1964, the great revelation comes about when the archaeologists find caskets containing human skeletons, followed by a speaking human doll and a reel of film showing bombs & explosions. Thomas ultimately escapes, along with Nova and his crewmate LaFever, back to Earth, which is inhabited by apes.[15]

Rod Serling Draft Script (22 May 1964)Edit

Unlike the original novel, Serling's script begins in space aboard an interstellar craft just as the astronauts are awakened from deep sleep: John Thomas, a tall broad-shouldered man in his mid-thirties, is the captain of the mission; William Dodge, a stocky man in his twenties; and Paul LaFever, a soft-spoken, introspective man in his forties. They have traveled several light years to reach an unknown planet orbiting the giant star Betelgeuse. Descending to the planet in a small pod, they feel as if they have discovered paradise, and climb out of their spacesuits to take a swim in an unspoiled lake. At the beach, however, they find the footprint of a woman, and find primitive people living among the trees. Dodge considers setting himself up as king, with seven wives (one for each day of the week), while Thomas exchanges smiles with Nova. LaFever warns both of them about Cortez and the Aztecs. Thomas and LaFever are awakened by the sound of a car. They climb a nearby hill and see a mass hunting expedition as literally hundreds of clothed apes fire shots at the fleeing humans. Thomas falls, clutching his hand to his throat, LaFever is scooped up in a giant net, and Dodge is killed outright.

In an animal hospital, Thomas starts to heal; Zira treats him with utmost care. She believes that he can talk and is a prime specimen. The Earth astronaut tries to write words on the wall and in the sand, but Zira simply doesn't see them. Frustrated, Thomas grabs for her pen, but is shoved back into his cell. Zira introduces Dr. Zaius, an orangutan official, to her pet "blondie" (Thomas), promising the eminent ape that they'll learn something special from him. When a delivery truck arrives at the laboratory yard with supplies, Thomas seizes the opportunity to escape. He hides in the truck as the vehicle moves out into the city. He nearly manages to get out of the city, but is spotted by two children and recaptured. Thomas again tries to write Zira a note, and reveals through notes that he is from Earth and that a shuttle from his atomic-powered spaceship landed on their planet. He also demands to know what happened to his fellow astronauts. Thomas finds LaFever behind bars, caged like a wild animal - his brain has been cut open, and he is missing the key elements that had made him intelligent.

At the National Academy of Science, Zira presents her astounding discovery to a group of scientists, but Dr. Zaius sends him for experimental brain surgery. However, just as the surgery is to begin, Thomas exclaims, "No. Get away! Let me alone!" News of the talking human spreads quickly through the simian community. Thomas is brought before the Congressional chamber, where the gorilla president introduces Thomas to the assembly members. Zira introduces Thomas to their way of government, their religious institutions, and to her fiancé Cornelius. At a museum, Thomas sees Dodge stuffed in an exhibit, and becomes enraged. Zira comforts him by arranging to have Nova brought to him. Thomas tries to adjust to his new life, taking Nova as his common-law wife. He teaches her how to talk, and surprises Zira, Cornelius and Zaius with her ability to learn. Cornelius has important news of his own: while the leader of the Fourth Northern Archeological Expedition, he discovered evidence of an earlier culture - possibly older than the apes. He invites both Zaius and Thomas to review artifacts and potteries at the main camp, in particular a large rectangular box. Later, when they open the box, the apes find a human skeleton. The box is a coffin, and they have stumbled upon a burial ground. The evidence mounts when they discover a human doll that talks.

A reel of film they discover at the diggings includes credits revealing "This film has been prepared by the Atomic Energy Commission. Filmed with the Co-operation of the United States Air Force." Thomas is stunned; his spaceship must have traveled in time as well as space, and he ended up back on Earth in a time warp. Following this shocking discovery, gorillas in a helicopter, acting on the orders of Zaius, try to assassinate Thomas to eliminate the troublesome theories he represents. Thomas ends up in hospital, but Zira promises to protect him; she has also hidden Nova. The apes create a robot double of Thomas to explain his appearance as an elaborate hoax. Newspapers proclaim: "Earth Man-Space Traveler a Hoax" "Scientific Academy Admits 'Creature was a Mechanical Man'". Thomas is scheduled for experimental brain surgery, but Zira rescues her pet by switching the mechanical man for Thomas. Thomas and Nova successfully escape back to his ship. As they blast off into space, Cornelius and Zira watch them go, and Zira wonders that man might yet build a good world.[16]

The seemingly minor addition of the ‘United States Air Force’ caption to the script in fact constituted the first suggestion that the planet Thomas was stranded on is Earth.

Rod Serling Script Revisions (May-December 1964)Edit

In an undated script revision from 1964, another seemingly small change was made - but with seismic implications for the movie. The newest version omitted the discovery of the reel of film - apparently this was too obvious and early a revelation of the planet’s past, a revelation that would be better kept to the final scene. Instead, an explosion intended to destroy the archaeological site unearths a mysterious giant metal arm. Thomas, upon returning to his spacecraft, checks the ship's tapes - which tell him he has travelled almost two thousand years. He then studies the stars above, and this is how he realizes that he is on Earth.

The arm is of course the Statue of Liberty. Because this has since become such an iconic image, credit for the idea has been claimed by many people. Artist Don Peters, who was commissioned to make promotional sketches to illustrate the movie script, maintains that the Statue first appeared in one of his drawings. Blake Edwards broadly agreed, though said he himself was also involved.[17] Arthur Jacobs claimed that he and Edwards had spotted the Statue on the wall of a delicatessan where they were discussing the movie, and that they both came up with the idea simultaneously.[4] Mort Abrahams, who as associate producer oversaw script revisions, said "That was Rod's ending".[15] When asked about the ending, Serling himself said (in 1972): "The book's ending is what I wanted to use in the film, as much as I loved the idea of the Statue of Liberty. I always believed that was my idea." And when asked 'was the end of the picture a combination of about four or five people thinking exactly the same thing at about the same time?', he replied: "That's very possible. Visually, it's an exciting idea because a fragment can be taken from it, and still withhold what it is. That's the beauty of the Statue of Liberty."[4] Speaking to Marvel two years later, Serling shared the credit, saying it was "In collaboration with Jacobs. Yes, it was a wild cinematic scene."[3] Boulle, incidentally, was less impressed: "I disliked somewhat, the ending that was used - the Statue of Liberty... They had that final scene in mind from the first day."[4]

Revisions from 17 December 1964 again left out the discovery of the reel of film. Along with the skeletons and the doll, the archaeologists instead find a room marked 'Public Air Raid Shelter'. Again, a giant metal arm is revealed by the site demolition. Thomas is taken back to the city as a captive but he escapes (this time without Nova) back to his ship on a stolen helicopter. He checks the ships tapes, discovers where he is, and flies back to the diggings site where he sees the Statue of Liberty. After a final helicopter radio conversation with Cornelius, Thomas flies on to the jungle to begin a new life among the humans.[15]

A joke revision to the script on the part of Serling, (probably from around December 1964) contained a tongue-in-cheek conclusion to Thomas’ and Cornelius’ radio message: "Thomas, the glory of his twelve paragraphs of speech to Cornelius having tired his already somewhat weakened system, must carry on just a little further: ‘... Four score and twenty centuries ago, our Forefathers’ (he is suddenly aware of a 'clicking' sound at the other end) ‘Cornelius? Cornelius, I haven't finished.’ (Voice at the other end, terribly curt: ‘For Christ's sake, you fool! You ran half an hour overtime. I tried to signal you when your three minutes were up. Think you'd listen? Uh uh - not you! And for your information, your Mr. Cornelius ain't gonna tell no Dr. Zaius nuttin!! You kept him on the line so long he ran outta gas!’ (a catch in her voice) ‘Tsk, tsk, tsk. And he was such a lovable sonofabitch, too.’ Thomas flies over the diggings and sees the Statue of Liberty, but this time caught in the blaze of the morning sun revealing, atop the giant metal arm, a super colossal raised third finger: ‘Yep. I knew I'd never left home!’ As the helicopter veers off and heads toward the back drop to the tune of a 'patriotic-type' piece of music (to be sung by the John Birch Society Chorale - who are a bunch of orangutans anyhow), as we ... like ‘Fade’, man! The End."[15]

Rod Serling 'Second Draft' (23 December 1964)Edit

The latest revisions were incorporated in a script titled ‘Second Draft’, dated 23 December 1964. A slightly damaged craft has automatically landed on a planet surface. Four 'caskets' are attached to the wall inside the ship as a tape relays the flight status. The crew had manned the ship for six months before entering two years of comatose travel to reach the star they call 'Terra'. Thomas, LeFever and Dodge revive safely; the fourth astronaut - Blake - is just a skeleton, the victim of an "air leakage". The three survivors notice the alteration of major star constellations - the 'Big Dipper' now resembles a swastika - before exploring the new planet in their 'tractor' - a heavy-duty all-terrain vehicle which they had stored aboard their ship. They reach a body of water, noticing and dragging out a 'scarecrow' which is in the form of an ape. Their vehicle crosses the water to the opposite shore which is covered in dense jungle. Driving through the jungle they find a smoldering fire, and as they examine it, a coconut is hurled threateningly at them. They move on through the jungle, which then thins out into desert. They see more of the scarecrows. As they prepare to rest for the night before returning to their ship, the vehicle hits a patch of quicksand and sinks rapidly. The trio barely escape, now stranded in unfamiliar territory.

After sleeping uneasily for the night, they go back, the next day, to the beach on the far side of the jungle: the island hosting their ship is too far to swim. A group of primitive humans appear and seem to disapprove of the clothes the astronauts are wearing. The trio follow the other humans back into the jungle. They encounter more scarecrows, and immediately are confronted with the sound of helicopters. As the humans panic, jeeps emerge. Dodge, the first to notice that the jeeps are driven by apes, "turns pasty white" as he is killed by a gunshot. Thomas is also hit and suffers a throat wound. Both he and LaFever are captured. Thomas’ clothes make the apes think him to be an escaped circus animal. A truck journey follows as Thomas is transported to a medical facility.

Thomas awakens in a cage. The ape he later knows as Zira addresses him, but he is unable to speak back. She calls him, and the other humans, 'old timer'. Thomas tries to write a message on a wall using blood from his throat wound, but an escaping human is hosed down as he passes Thomas’ cage, washing away the message. Thomas makes an early escape attempt by hiding in a supply truck in the lab yard. From his hiding place he sees a modern ape city, much like a city on Earth but tailored to the ape society. Having noticed his absence, the authorities search for an escaped man aged approximately 35, and he is quickly recaptured. Back in the lab, Thomas seizes the opportunity to write on the condensation on a window being cleaned by one of his keepers, just as Zira walks in.

Thomas writes down his story for a fascinated Zira. Learning that there were others in his party, Zira phones 'Mr. Digby', the hunt leader. He had one partially-dressed human captured in the same hunt. Zira takes Thomas to visit the zoo, and they find LaFever, who has become as incoherent and primitive as his fellow-captives. Zira presents her findings to a scientific assembly. The skeptical senior academic, Zaius, has meanwhile ordered a lobotomy. Rushing to the operating theatre, Zira and Zaius witness Thomas’ first words to an ape, as he is strapped to the operating table: "No! Get away! Let me alone!"

Flashing forward, Thomas has been spared the operation and is now to address the ape Assembly, introduced by the orangutan President himself. He discusses his home planet with ape astronomers, but their telescopes cannot locate Earth’s solar system; and he is questioned by scientists including the female 'Dr. Ernestine'. Thomas is intrigued with the remarkable coincidence that the apes speak English, the planet’s atmosphere and animal life is almost (but not quite) identical to that of Earth, and the maps of their land masses look curiously familiar. A tour of the ape city follows, guided by Zira, where Thomas notices subtle differences such as the doors being eight feet wide to accommodate the apes’ stature. At the Museum of Natural Science, Thomas is horrified to find Dodge’s stuffed corpse. He flees the museum, making his way to the zoo, but LeFever has been taken by Zira and placed in a hospital where it’s hoped he can recover his intelligence. Noticing the other confined zoo animals, he vows "I swear to God... if I ever get another chance, I won't even set a mouse trap! You can believe it!" Thomas has been given his freedom and an apartment, and has been joined by his companion from his lab cage, Nova. He invites Zira and Zaius to afternoon tea, and reveals that he has successfully taught Nova to talk in the space of five weeks. Zaius tells him he is about to take a helicopter ride north to an archaeological dig. Thomas pays a visit to Paul LaFever’s cage. He is frustrated with LaFever’s slow progress, and disappointed to learn he has bitten his keeper.

At the 'Fourth Northern Archaeological Expedition', Zaius joins Mr. Cornelius, the head of the expedition. Thomas arrives shortly afterwards on another helicopter having been invited by Cornelius, unbeknownst to Zaius. They have uncovered caskets containing human skeletons, with headstones. They then find a human doll which talks. A shaft leads to a room with more skeletons, and a sign reading ‘Public Air Raid Shelter’. Thomas surmises that man on this planet brought about his own downfall, much as he threatened to do on Earth, but nevertheless gloats over man's former ascendancy. A bitter Zaius returns by helicopter to the city and tells Thomas he will not be returning - he must take his ship back to Earth. Shortly afterwards in the city, LaFever has started to recover his senses, just as two large gorillas approach his cage: "Good...morning. I'm...I'm glad to see someone. I...I can speak again, you know. Where's Johnny Thomas? Where's Dodge? I...I'd like to...to see them... Hey...hey...wait...a...minute... please...why...hey...please..."

At the dig site, Thomas wakes the following morning to the sound of explosions and finds the expedition vanished and the dig site leveled. The explosions have unearthed a giant metal arm, unseen by Thomas. Only Cornelius and a few other apes remain. They tell him this is how it must be, and he will be taken to his ship. As he is about to board a helicopter, he is fired upon. Thomas gives chase and the ape is accidentally shot. He returns and hijacks the helicopter, flies it to the ape city, and abandons it. He spies on his apartment, but discovers Nova is gone. He then goes to the hospital and finds LaFever lobotomised. He struggles to take LaFever with him, goes to an air hanger, and leaves LaFever in hiding as he tries to steal another helicopter. After Thomas clobbers two ape guards, LaFever idly walks towards the moving helicopter blades, dying instantly. Thomas must make his getaway as more ape guards arrive on the scene. Zaius later surveys the grisly scene, maintaining that humans bring only death.

Some time later, Zira and Cornelius follow Thomas to his ship. He has checked the ship’s tapes and discovered they had traveled unconscious for almost 2000 years. He also cannot fly the ship back to Earth because of low fuel and because it requires more than one person to operate. Zira tells him she has arranged for Nova to return to her own people. Thanking them for their concern, but refusing to heed their warnings that more apes will come for him, Thomas tells them to return to their city. Standing outside his ship, Thomas suddenly realizes as he looks at the morning sky that he is on Earth – the slight differences he noticed can now be explained by the passage of time. He takes to his helicopter again and heads towards the dig site. He sees the unearthed metal arm and recognizes it as the Statue of Liberty. Radioing Cornelius and Zira, he resolves to join his fellow-humans and flies off towards the jungle.[18]

A difference from the version of less than a week earlier is that Thomas returns to the ape city from the diggings in secret, rather than being taken back as a prisoner and escaping. Compared to the full script from the previous May, this draft has dropped Thomas’ sentimental attachment to Nova completely and replaced it with an almost suicidal rescue attempt of his former crew-mate, in spite of his brain damage. Serling also waits until much later to introduce Cornelius. The revelation of the Statue of Liberty is a much more cinematic device than the reel of film had been, while the bizarre ‘robot double’ concept has been discarded.

Rod Serling Script Revisions (January-March 1965)Edit

In changes dated 6 January 1965, the automatic landing of the space-ship is added to the film's introduction. Zaius tells Thomas at the dig site, after the momentous discoveries, that he had suspected something of man's origins all along, either consciously or unconsciously, thus explaining his hostility towards Thomas. In the final scene, Zira and Cornelius take Thomas with them in their helicopter, to take him to the other humans. They land at the dig site, next to the jungle, where Thomas walks to the metal arm and stops motionless as he recognises the Statue. The pursuing apes arrive, but still he doesn't move. Zaius approaches him, but the resigned Thomas now realizes the truth. He is shot dead by Zaius' gorillas. There were further dialogue alterations on 7 January.

Serlingfinal

On 25 January 1965, with Blake Edwards still slated to direct, Warner Bros. estimated a budget of $7,478,750 (at a time when the average film cost $2.5 million).[8] No one in Hollywood or in Europe was willing to risk that much money on a concept as unbelievable as a planet of talking apes, and Warners dropped the project shortly before production was due to start. A disappointed Blake Edwards soon departed for other projects. Serling made numerous script revisions dated 22 February - most notably the deceased fourth astronaut was now named 'Stewart' rather than 'Blake' (but remained a 'he'), while Thomas makes the confusing observation "there's no moon, or really it looks like there are two or three moons".[19] These, and final minor changes from 23 February, were consolidated into the revision noted as Serling's ‘Final Draft’ submitted on 1 March 1965.[15] Serling stopped work on the Apes script at this point, turning his attention to other projects. According to Mort Abrahams, "...he got busy, and he felt he didn't want to return".

The tenacious Jacobs was undaunted however, and tried to interest Sydney Pollack or Irvin Kershner as director, and Peter Ustinov to star as Zaius.[8] John Wayne was supposedly among those considered for the lead, but the producers decided he was too much identified with Westerns. Jacobs eventually secured the involvement of actor Charlton Heston; it's worth noting that when Heston committed to starring in the film in June 1965, it was Rod Serling's version of the script that helped convince him. On Heston's recommendation, Franklin J. Schaffner - at that time filming The War Lord with Heston, Maurice Evans and Woodrow Parfrey - was hired to direct the project.[20] The on-again, off-again Apes film was once again shopped around and rejected by the studios. According to Mort Abrahams, Richard D. Zanuck threatened to ban them from the 20th Century Fox lot if they mentioned Planet of the Apes again.[11] Jacobs later remembered, "I spent about three and a half years of everyone refusing to make the movie. First, I had sketches made, and went through six sets of artists to get the concept, but none of them were right. Finally, I hit on a seventh one, and said that's how it should look. Then, I showed the sketches to the studios, and they said, 'No way.' Then, I got Rod Serling to do the screenplay, and went to everybody again - absolute turndown. I even went to J. Arthur Rank in England, and Samuel Bronston in Spain. Everyone said no." [4]

Screen Test & Charles EastmanEdit

Jacob's APJAC productions brought the budget estimate down to $5.8 million, and the inclusion of Heston, Schaffner and veteran actor Edward G. Robinson (as the orangutan Doctor Zaius) earned Jacobs a ten-minute screen-test with Fox in March 1966. The screen-test used dialogue from Serling’s final draft from a year earlier - referencing the discovery of caskets and headstones, and of a talking human doll in a shaft - and utilized the concept paintings with narration (by either William Conrad or Paul Frees, depending on which source you believe) to depict major scenes which led up to the filmed confrontation between Heston and Robinson. The ape make-up was by Fox's Ben Nye, and music composed by John Williams was borrowed from Irwin Allen's Lost in Space series. Director Schaffner recalled: "It was planned as a makeup test, basically. Much more importantly, on the philosophical level, it was to see whether or not, that if you had a man talking to an orangutan, an audience wouldn’t laugh and would listen to what they had to say." The minifilm (which can be seen on the 1998 documentary, Behind the Planet of the Apes, and has since been added as bonus material on DVD releases) proved to the head of Fox, Richard D. Zanuck, as well as to it's executives that talking apes would not evoke unwanted laughs. Though Zanuck was enthusiastic, it took him from March until September to finally convince the Fox board that this was a viable investment. Mort Abrahams, who would serve as associate producer of the first two Apes pictures, explained that he, Jacobs and Zanuck were in a meeting discussing the possibility of Planet of the Apes, and the success of Fox's special effects-laden Fantastic Voyage was cited as proof that science fiction could be a viable force at the box office: "Dick Zanuck said, 'OK, I'll tell you what. If you can bring the picture in for $5 million, I'll try to get it through the board.' Dick went to New York and stuck his neck out, and convinced them. He came back and said, 'OK, go.'"[21] Zanuck announced Fox's decision to make Planet of the Apes on September 26, 1966, and it was scheduled to begin filming in England in Spring 1967.[22]

At the same time, the producers felt that the dialogue needed improving and they began to look for another screenwriter to take over the reins. The first writer hired was Charles Eastman, a screenwriter from Hermosa Beach, California. Jacobs and Schaffner had apparently already had lengthy discussions with him and they had provided him with a copy of the original novel and several of Serling's best drafts, and asked him to develop the main characters and build up the suspense. He submitted the first twenty-seven pages of a treatment in December 1966.

Eastman’s script opens aboard the spaceship ‘Immigrant One’. There appears to be no life and the only movement is a chair and a screwdriver idly swinging with the movement of the flying craft. Eastman’s notes suggest the ship left Earth in 2016, heading for the system ‘Rumford Catalogue 23’ in search of a new planet capable of supporting the desperate people of Earth. A skeleton lies in the Control Center, along with a spent cigarette. According to the ship's clocks, four hundred and fifty years have passed on Earth, while about fifty years have passed on the ship.

The activation of the ship's computer begins the initiation of numerous cylindrical caskets. Humans start to emerge, dazed by their long hibernation. Each of the members of the crew is classified as an Elite, a Command, an Index or a Drone. Notable among the crew are Index 0 O'Toole, a youngish man who immediately begins to operate controls; Index 53 Reverse Maryanne, a sleek young woman who works on the ships algae farm; Elite 25 Petchnikoff, a blind Professor in his 60s, who has a helper monkey named Ulysses (it seems the monkey has also gone blind during the voyage, perhaps - it’s suggested - due to oxygen poisoning); and Elite 17 Margaret, a middle-aged spinster who is Petchnikoff’s assistant. The over-conscientious, business-like Command 60 Maddox is the hero of the story. He discovers that the leader of the expedition, Command 1 Duffy, did not occupy his casket and cannot be accounted for.

In the Control Center, Petchnikoff, Margaret, Maddox, Command 3 Harkness, Command 81 Boise and O’Toole find Duffy's skeleton. Duffy was suffocated when air conservation was switched on after the slumber chambers activated. Boise checks the ship’s computer banks but finds no problems. However, he discovers that they are unable to contact Earth, and that the ship is already in orbit around Rumford C23 - they were supposed to decelerate for a year between the end of Trans-Slumber and reaching Rumford; they have ‘overslept’ by at least a year. Suspicions arise about what happened to Duffy - did he sabotage the operation, or did he unsuccessfully try to?

The Electro-Electorate - the computer brain of the ship – tries to placate the crew by dismissing the mistakes as minor problems, incurring Maddox’s anger. "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" is Boise’s placid response. The Electro-Electorate surprisingly selects Maddox as the new Command 1. As with his predecessor, Command 1 Maddox undergoes the procedure for a new Command 1 - the implanting of a transistor in his brain, which records all his thoughts. Petchnikoff, Margaret and O'Toole listen as the first transmissions are received. Charles Eastman's script ends at this point - Eastman was then dismissed because his screenplay was entirely different to Serling's, and he had thus gone beyond his remit.[23]

Michael Wilson, Production & FilmingEdit

Next, formerly-blacklisted screenwriter Michael Wilson (who had previously worked on Boulle's other movie adaptation, The Bridge on the River Kwai) was brought onboard. Makeup designer John Chambers, already a highly-respected makeup artist at the time, was drafted in to design the ape appliances to be used in the movie. He said he was called by Fox "six months before the start of shooting" - which would be about December 1966.[4] Soundtrack composer Jerry Goldsmith wrote the score for the movie in late December 1966.[4] By late January 1967, Wilson had provided a new script retaining most of Serling's scenes but adding the new dialogue that was ultimately filmed, which Heston deemed "immensely good, an improvement on the Rod Serling script".[22] Wilson submitted his final draft script on 5th May 1967 - shortly before filming began - though revisions were added throughout filming in May and June. Associate producer Mort Abrahams also noted that another screenwriter, John T. Kelly was asked to make final adjustments to the dialogue, uncredited: "...the backbone of the story was Rod's. Basically, I think it went through four versions with Rod and three or four with Michael... then I called in Kelly and he did two or three drafts, which was mostly dialogue polish and added a couple of notes of humor."[15]

Aside form the dialogue changes, Wilson also made some adjustments to the story. The most commonly highlighted change was in portrayal of the Ape City. Serling's screenplays had all involved the type of modern city backdrop found in the source novel. The idea was put forward that a primitive city would be less costly to build and would therefore save money better used in the make-up department (though it's worth pondering why the producers didn't simply use a real city for location shooting instead, as they would later do on both Escape and Conquest). However, the primitive setting of the ape culture scarcely made more than cosmetic changes to the actual story, though it probably helped to distinguish the movie with it's iconic city and costumes. Serling had added a fair amount of U.S. social satire - for example, the creationist views of the orangutans were not in the original Boulle novel - and the plot up to the point where Thomas communicates with Zira remains largely the same, but Thomas first speaks after his escape attempt rather than on the operating table, and he is not given the chance to address an ape assembly. Of more significance, the part of the story where Thomas is accepted by the ape community and for a time lives among them as a free man is completely removed. In it's place is added the heresy hearing, effectively a trial, following which Thomas must reach Cornelius' dig site by escaping, rather than by invitation. The shortened scene at the archeological site in the cave harks back once again to Serling's and Boulle's original tale. The changing of Thomas' name to 'Taylor' seems to have only occured at the time of filming, and Serling's last script addition - depicting the death of Thomas - was kept in the script until filming began. Director Franklin Schaffner supported Taylor's survival: "There was a debate for a long time whether or not Taylor should live after seeing the Statue of Liberty. It seemed to me - as an optimist and one who wants to play fair with an audience - that the man must survive. If he dies in the end there is no reason to tell this story. But 'Planet' went through more discussions in more areas than any picture I have been on - it had to, for there were so many technical and creative problems."[24] Charlton Heston approved of the change when he read it on 16 May 1967: "I think Frank's new ending on 'Apes' is very good... Taylor doesn't die, now; he finds the Statue of Liberty, and knows where he is. Fade-out."[22]

Michael Wilson added a few new ideas which ultimately did not make it into the final draft, including a species of rebellious baboons (which included Julius), a scene in which Zira, Cornelius, Lucius, Taylor and Nova flee to the farm of Zira's father Brutus, and a number of alternative titles for the film highlighting Taylor's saving of the human race, such as Our Second Adam, The Last Seed, The Survivor and Adam II.[25] Another of Wilson's twists was a revelation inspired by Boulle's novel: "In the penultimate drafts of 'Planet of the Apes', Nova was pregnant With Taylor's child. In this version, Taylor was killed by the bullet of an ape sniper just after he sees the Statue of Liberty. But Nova escapes, vanishing into the Forbidden Zone beyond the Statue of Liberty. The meaning is clear: if her unborn child is a male and grows to manhood, the species will survive. If not, modern man becomes extinct. Such an ending left open the possibility of a sequel long before sequels were discussed. Nova's pregnancy was deleted from the film, I'm told, at the insistence of a high-echelon Fox executive who found it distasteful. I suppose that if one defines the mute Nova as merely 'humanoid' and not actually human, it would mean that Taylor had committed sodomy."[4] Mort Abrahams also added that, "if she's pregnant that becomes an element of the story... and now we're off to something else entirely."[26] Nova's pregnancy remained in the final shooting script as late as 15 June 1967, and was included when Marvel Comics adapted the movie from that script, but had the dialogue altered just before publication. However, the following year the strips were re-printed in colour in Marvel's Adventures on the Planet of the Apes comics with the original 'pregnancy' dialogue restored, probably by mistake.

Hunter Serling

Zira and Rod Serling, June 1967

Rod Serling recoginised that the basis of his screenplay had been improved upon by Wilson: "The original script that I wrote, under the agee of Blake Edwards, was considerably different than the one they ultimately used. The scene breakdown, the concept, and the thrust of the piece was mine. But the actual dialog was Michael Wilson's. I had left the premises long before Wilson came in. I owned no piece of the project at all, and they had every right to choose another writer. It was a pretty damn good film, I thought Schaffner did a corker of a job directing it."[4] Wilson agreed with Serling's assessment that it was mostly his own work: "The first screenplay was written by Rod Serling. This, as it turned out, was a straight science-fiction story about an ape culture on another planet in another solar system. I altered all of that to make it a satire. A satire, really, on the human race... the dominant species that had evolved was the apes who had descended from and imitated the culture of man which had preceded it. Which accounts for the satire of the story." "It was too straight and too serious the way it was done before I came on." "[The humor] certainly contributed to its [success]. No question." "As I said, [my screenplay] was not straight science-fiction. It was more about the human predicament than it was about apes. I think this is the key point."[27] Franklin Schaffner's approach "...was to engage an audience in a simian society. I had never thought of this motion picture in terms of being science fiction. More or less, it was a political film, with a certain amount of Swiftian satire, and perhaps science fiction last." [4] Associate producer Mort Abrahams was concerned that these political and social themes in the movie could cause problems during production: "Without ever saying it, we were doing a political film. We never even said it very loudly among ourselves, because at that time we were in Vietnam and a political picture was the last kind of film the studio wanted. The country was having very serious problems."[26] "We never discussed the political aspects with the studio or the actors, because that would have raised an issue. Frank [Schaffner] and I had a pact: we would not discuss it with the actors, we would not discuss it with the studio. If they picked up on it, we would have handled it then."[11]


Casting:

  • Natalie Wood had been suggested to play Zira, and Ingrid Bergman apparently regretted turning down the part, but Julie Harris was ultimately cast in the role. However, Harris was anxious about the makeup and was later replaced by Kim Hunter.[22]
Heston Robinson

Mort Abrahams, Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson and Arthur P. Jacobs

  • The role of Dr. Zaius was originally offered to veteran actor Edward G. Robinson, however Robinson bowed out just before principal shooting citing difficulties with wearing the ape make-up for protracted periods of time. It has also been suggested that Robinson was actually fired from the production. According to the film's make-up designer, John Chambers, the star refused to shave off his beard, making his ape transformation impossible - "I told the producer he would have to get rid of him." Jacobs had already been scheming to dump Robinson and replace him with someone cheaper and the row was just the excuse he needed. Robinson was paid off, and Welsh Shakespearean actor Maurice Evans was hired. It was in no one's interest that the truth came out and it remained a secret for over thirty years.[11]
  • Charlton Heston noted, as late as April 17, 1967, that Harris and Robinson were still in the cast, but that they looked unlikely to remain. He also suggested that Linda Harrison had still not been cast as Nova, just a month before shooting started on May 21: "The casting problem's really Nova: who will do it, and how naked can she be. The tests I saw were not good."[22]
  • John Chambers requested that black, asian and latin actors be hired to portray the background apes, because their darker skin would be easier to blend-in with the ape appliances and becuase they would have dark eyes; Chambers knew that apes naturally have dark eyes and used dark contact lenses, where necessary, for authenticity.[28]
  • The ape wigs were made of human hair. Chambers said, "We wanted Chinese but the authorities refused us an OK to import Communist hair, so we developed a source in Korea. The hair is twice as strong as Caucasian hair. It is all handhooked into the lace, hair by hair, thousands in each wig. Human hair is close to ape hair. We found European hair is too fine for the apes - but the Oriental hair suffices."[4]
  • The ape actors were not given any specific movement training, but both Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter spent time studying chimpanzees in their local zoos before shooting began; Roddy at the LA Zoo, and Kim spending so much time observing the solitary chimp in the Bronx Zoo that he started to defiantly hide from her.[29]
  • On April 28th, the movie's 55-day shooting schedule was cut by ten days by 20th Century Fox, placing unexpected extra pressure on the production.[26]
  • By the time Fox's director of publicity James Denton published a 'Preliminary Production Information Guide' on June 7 1967 ("compiled prior to the start of filming"), the familiar cast had been established. However, the credits also intriguingly listed Don Hanmer playing the 'Speaker of the Assembly' and Dal Jenkins playing a 'Politician'. No scripts including scenes with these characters have been made public, and neither the characters nor the actors appeared in the movie. The same document credits Paul Malcolm as make-up artist above John Chambers, but again, Malcolm was not ultimately involved in the movie.[30]
Liberty3

Filming Locations:

  • Glen Canyon, Utah
  • Page, Arizona
  • Fox Ranch, Malibu, California
  • Malibu Creek State Park, Calabasas, California
  • Malibu, California
  • Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico
  • Westward Beach (between Zuma Beach and Point Dume), California



  • Though shooting was initially planned to take place in England, the production was at some point moved to US locations, where the natural resources were better able to replicate a lifeless alien world.
  • Desiring a more 'alien' impression for the locations, a decision was made to shoot some sequences in the Utah desert. Art director William Creber recalled, "I had done some work in Utah when I was up there on 'The Greatest Story Ever Told', and I always felt that would be a great place to make a science fiction film. I had no idea that it ever would be applied, in fact it wasn't even my suggestion! It was Jack Martin Smith's idea, the head of the Art Department."[4] However, Franklin Schaffner credited Creber, who "had been an assistant art director on George Stevens' 'The Greatest Story Ever Told' and he thought a spot near the area in which Stevens shot his picture would be right for 'Planet'. A dam had been erected since Stevens did his picture and the water had backed up for something like 185 miles. Creber scouted the area once again and came back convinced it would be right for 'Planet'. He's the guy who found it."[24] Apes actors Roddy McDowall and Sal Mineo had both filmed in the locality during that earlier movie (1963).
  • Cinematographer Leon Shamroy made heavy use of hand-held Arriflex cameras, operated by Al Lebowitz, Irving Rosenberg and Paul Lockwood, and mainly used a 35mm Panavision lens.[5]
  • A method called rear-projection, or 'Process' - taking a semi-translucent screen and projecting from behind it, while having the actors or the miniatures on the side of the screen opposite the projector, where they are then filmed - was used in the beginning of the film as we look out on the spectacle of the warped space around the light-speed ship. The effect is more successfully hidden here, because of the natural screen that the window forms. The car-window illusion of this technique shows up frequently in older movies.[31]
  • Director Franklin J. Schaffner explained the shooting of the opening 'crash-landing': "To get the aerial shots for the crash-down the cameraman was on top of a World War I biplane. We also had a B-25 with a camera in its nose. But when I ran their footage for the crash-down it simply didn't seem to work. So I said the hell with it, let's shoot the picture and then we'll come back to this thing. When we finished shooting and I sat down to cut the picture there was one can of film I had never seen and by cutting wide-footage into zoomed-lens stuff and mixing things up and reversing footage, literally reversing footage, and even running some footage backwards, we put together a sequence which seems to work pretty well for the crash. But it was not planned at all. What was planned didn't get on the screen. What is up there on the screen is what was edited together out of desperation." [32]
A well-constructed four feet long miniature of the front section of the sinking ship was made of sheet metal and sunk in the studio tank (a large water tank kept on all studio lots for the express purpose of using it for special effects shots) for the first crash-landing shot (the nose-cone of the miniature was brass, unlike the full-size version which had a heavily weathered nose-cone).
The scenes of the interior of the spacecraft were from a studio set built on a gymbal mount so it could be rotated upwards as the sinking begins.
There was then a cut to the large full-scale exterior of the spaceship, shot at Lake Powell National Park on the Colorado River near Page, Arizona. This was really a steel hull anchored at a point known as 'Crossing of the Fathers', so that just the upper part was above the surface.[5] It had fairly heavy sheet steel frames spaced about 18 inches apart and was covered with two layers of thin sheet steel.[33] Inside was only a platform for the actors so it would appear there really was an interior room. According to the blueprints they planned to have it sink and surface at the lake on command, so it needed a great deal of strength to survive the loads this would place on it. In the end this was never done but the mock up had already been built to those specs.
Next we see the miniature again as it begins its watery demise, filmed in slow motion because naturally, being smaller, the action would appear proportionally faster to the diminutive models than to a full-sized vehicle. It is the size of the water droplets that give the scale of the miniature away, because as it sinks huge jets of foamy water surround and engulf the hapless ship. The background was painted on the water tank cyclorama backdrop - you can see very sharply the water changes color; dark green in the studio tank and a lighter green in the painted backdrop.[31][33]
  • The government permitted the film crew to shoot within the top security area at the foot of the nearby Glen Canyon Dam - the first time a movie crew had been allowed.[5][34]
  • Much of Planet of the Apes was filmed on location in the Arizona desert, in the middle of summer, with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees making the costumes and make-up even more excruciating to wear.[34]
  • In the early minutes of the film when the astronauts were roaming about the rocky countryside, a special cameraman followed them on a 'sand-sled' as they skidded down a steep bluff.[34] The sand-sled was made from a piece of corrugated steel and two boards. Camera operator Paul Lockwood filmed with an Arriflex camera and a Panavision lens, which was nearly ruined by the rough ride and dust.[5]
  • Human figures seen running along the background cliff-tops in the Forbidden Zone were played by local residents from Page, Arizona.[25]
  • A man-made outdoor pool constructed for APJAC Productions' Dr Doolittle was used for the scene in which the astronauts swim, complete with two-dozen firehoses to create a waterfall.[26]
  • For the source novel's scenes depicting the apes chasing the animal-like humans through the forest brush, the movie substituted fields of corn, with the apes hunting the human "pests" to stop them "ruining our crops". A special quick-growing species of corn was used because of the hurried shooting schedule, but within six weeks it was too successful and had to be cut back to the required seven feet in height.[34][33][26]
  • When Art Director William Creber began his preliminary sketches of the simian city, he kept with the modernistic style of habitations which Pierre Boulle described in his book. But as time went on - and production costs continued to mount - the idea of such a complex setting was abandoned in favor of the simple, less-complicated hut dwellings. Around that time Twentieth Century-Fox's Art Department was experimenting with a special type of polyurethane foam which could be sprayed from a gun and easily molded into any desired shape, and was twenty times lighter than plaster. Pleased with the texture and durability of the substance, called NKC Coro-Foam, Ivan Martin, head of the studio's construction department, fashioned the foam over skeletons made of pencil-thin iron rods and heavy craft paper.[34][5] Parts of the Ape City exterior set were built of bent rebar frames, to which expanded wire mesh was attached. Over this the studio sprayed "gunnite" - a material similar to the stucco found on the outside of many domestic houses.[33] The result was a speedy, economical and realistic village constructed on the Twentieth-Fox Ranch in Malibu.
  • The Fox Ranch lake, by which the Ape City was built, had been formed 1901 by the building of a dam across Malibu Creek.[9]
  • Running through the streets of the Ape City in his escape bid, Charlton Heston wore specially made 'rubber booties' to protect his feet while apparently going bare-foot.[26]
  • While everyone was being photographed by the motion-picture cameras, actor Roddy McDowall (Cornelius) made a number of Super-8 films during his months on location and went around snapping pictures of anything and everyone in sight, and he had co-star Charlton Heston take pictures of the people he couldn't find.[35] Some of his footage can now be found among the extras of DVD releases.
  • Veteran actor Maurice Evans (Dr. Zaius) turned up on set in his orangutan make-up wearing an 'Uncle Sam' hat, carrying umbrellas, pinching wardrobe mistresses and clowning for the camera; waving an American flag and spouting Shakespeare in a British accent.[35]
  • A common illusion used is the day-for-night effect. All of the film which is to be 'night' footage was shot with a deep-blue filter over the camera lens, which darkened it slightly and 'muted' some of the color (toned the color down so that any bright yellows or oranges were made slightly duller). When the film was at the developing lab, each section of the 'night' film was exposed at a lower 'F' stop than usual, underexposing the film and darkening it further. The easiest way to spot day-for-night is to simply watch for the tell-tale blue tint that everything filmed in this way has.[31]
  • Charlton Heston claimed, "It was my idea to have Taylor stripped naked during the trial scene. In this case I saw no way you could more clearly and effectively make the point ...that to the apes, Taylor is an animal."[36]
  • For the scene showing Cornelius and Taylor standing on opposite sides of a truly magnificent gorge, the two actors were filmed on location at the Lake Powell/Glenn Canyon Park. The actors stand on either side of an opening that was blasted into the cliff face leading down to the river below, made by members of wagon trains during the 1800s to allow an easier route for lowering their wagons to the river level. This spot may be visited today when traveling through the area.[33] In the winter of 1879-80, a band of Mormon pioneers from Escalante, Utah, blasted an opening at the 'Hole in the Rock' and carved a road down a 45-degree slope.[37]
  • There are two scenes where we see the Statue of Liberty, each scene having been done a different way. The first is shot from above, down through the crown of the edifice, showing the hand holding the torch; both of these were cardboard and paper maché replicas, expertly thrust into the picture to look real. The second scene was a 'glass shot' - a very detailed painting done on glass, but with a black area painted in for where the live action will be matted in. The painting is done on glass so that, where necessary, lights may be shone through from the back (such a case would be if a futuristic city would be required, lights could be placed as windows etc.). The glass also permits the artist to be very detailed without the surface grain of the canvas or paper showing through.[31]The Statue matte painting was by Emil Kosa.[26]
  • The shot looking down at Taylor through the spikes of the Statue of Liberty required a very high scaffold to be constructed. At 66 years of age, director of photography Leon Shamroy refused to climb the structure, while the assistant director had a phobia of heights. Instead, Franklin Schaffner and William Creber filmed the perspective shot.[26]
  • Mort Abrahams and Twentieth Century Fox feared Charlton Heston's self-written "God damn you all to hell", as opposed to the script's "My God" might result in the film being classified as unsuitable for children.[22] According to Heston, "I kept arguing that it wasn't swearing, and that Taylor was specifically appealing to God to damn all those people that ended the world. It was literal. There's just no question that that's the only line you can say there. I said, 'What do you want me to say? "Shucks! Darn you!"' And with great reluctance, they finally allowed it in."[36]


NotesEdit

  • According to Michael Wilson's shooting script, the clock indicating Earth Time reads 2105 just before Taylor enters hibernation, and 3975 when he awakes. The corresponding dates on screen were 2673 and 3978 respectively.[38] Marvel Comics' adaptation of the movie was based on this script, and it - and Marvel's other Apes stories - used 3975 as the date of the first movie.
  • As Taylor and the primitive humans are held in Zira's laboratory, a scene in Wilson's script showed them being given building blocks in order to reach a banana hung from the ceiling of their cells. Though the scene was not included in the film, the concept was recycled by screenwriter Paul Dehn for Escape from the Planet of the Apes.[38]
  • A deleted scene involved members of the Gorilla Hunt Club interrupting Zira and Lucius' escape from the city while smuggling Taylor and Nova. Photos of the scene exist, suggesting it was filmed. The Hunt Club leader afterwards declared "I still say the only good human is a dead human" - a line of dialogue used instead to even greater effect by Ursus in Beneath the Planet of the Apes.[38]
  • There were two manga adaptations of the original film in Japan, titled Saru no Wakusei ("Planet of Monkeys"). The first was written and drawn by Jôji Enami and published as part of the manga monthly Bôken'Ô ('Adventure King') in the late 1960s. The second was drawn by Minoru Kuroda and published in the Manga Tengoku Zôkan in 1971.

InconsistenciesEdit

  • Astronauts Taylor, Dodge and Landon physically age about twelve months while in cryogenic sleep aboard the Icarus / Liberty 1. When they awaken, they have each grown full beards and moustaches, yet their hair has not grown in length at all. In fact, the beards were a late addition suggested by Charlton Heston: "Because of the device of seeing the woman's aged skeleton, I said, 'Well, certainly, we all have to have beards then'. Well, they didn't like that. Astronauts don't have beards. And I said, 'Yeah, but you're in suspended animation for however long it is. People's hair and fingernails grow even after they're dead. If they're alive, certainly they'd have beards'. And so they finally allowed, reluctantly, as how this made sense." On his enthusiasm for beards, he added, "Christ, I was wearing beards long before they became fashionable - in 'Ten Commandments' and 'El Cid' and all kinds of things."[36] On the first day of filming in Page, Arizona, Heston complained that they "were more than half an hour late starting this morning because the beards weren't sent up for the other astronauts, who of course haven't had time to grow their own. They weren't well applied when they did come."[22]

TriviaEdit

Chambers oscar1
  • The long build-up to the appearance of the apes onscreen was an idea supported by Arthur P. Jacobs, who felt that the device had worked well in building suspense in the film King Kong.[25]
  • The famous courtroom scene was inspired by a 1920's court case in which a Tennessee schoolteacher was arrested for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution, a case which later inspired the classic film Inherit the Wind.
  • Michael Wilson's script included some knowing literary references, paraphrasing Will Rogers ("I never met an ape I didn't like"), Alexander Pope ("The proper study of apes is apes") and George Orwell ("Some apes are more equal than others").[26]
  • The film had the largest make-up budget in Hollywood history, exceeding $1 million - more than one sixth of the entire budget.
  • Released on 8 February 1968, Planet of the Apes opened so big in New York that for the first three weekends the motion picture not only beat out previous record holders but also bested records it set on preceding weekends. Eventually, the film grossed $26 million at the box office - more than four times its production budget of $5.8 million, making it one of the biggest hits of the year, and it emerged as the second highest grossing, non-roadshow feature in the studio's history.
  • Planet of the Apes attracted filmgoers not accustomed to science fiction films, and the reviews were generally glowing. Variety called it "an amazing film ... The suspense and suspension of disbelief engendered is one of the film's biggest assets."
  • In his review for The National Observer, critic Clifford Ridley commented, "The Flintstonish sets are craggy, ponderous things - suggesting the American Southwest, The Roman Forum, and so on, but seldom creating a feeling that we are anywhere but on quite familiar terrain.”[39]
  • Planet of the Apes provided a huge, much-needed hit for Fox, still reeling from the nearly bankrupting $40 million it spent on Cleopatra five years before.
  • Planet of the Apes was nominated for two Academy Awards for 1968, 'Original Score' (Jerry Goldsmith) and 'Costume Design' (Morton Haack), but lost respectively to The Lion In Winter (John Barry) and Romeo And Juliet (Danilo Donati). The film did win a Special Oscar, for John Chambers for his 'Special Makeup Design'.
  • Parts of the Apes makeup appliances were used on actor Michael Conrad, playing an ape-like alien in one of the last few episodes of Lost in Space; "Fugitives in Space" aired in early 1968 shortly before the premier of Planet of the Apes, thus making him one of the first people to wear the Ape make-up on screen. The skeletal remains of the Statue of Liberty torch later appeared as set decoration in the final Lost in Space episode, "Junkyard of Space" (1968).[40]
  • John Chambers was widely suspected of having created the Sasquatch in the famous Patterson/Gimlin 'Bigfoot' film from October 1967, shortly after filming was completed on Planet of the Apes, but he always denied this. Chambers did however create the 'Burbank Bigfoot' - a large plaster prop intended to imitate a real Bigfoot-like creature for showman Jerry Malone's carnival tour - from a body-cast of actor Richard Kiel while working in partnership with 'Don Post Studios' in the 1960s. He also engineered and designed a gorilla for a wax museum in Canada during this time, all of which may have contributed to the well-known rumour. (See also: ape costume expert Janos Prohaska's opinion of the famous footage.)

QuotesEdit

Taylor: And that completes my final report until we reach touchdown. We're now on full automatic in the hands of the computers. I've tucked my crew in for the long sleep, and I'll be joining them...soon. In less than an hour, we'll finish our six months out of Cape Kennedy. Six months in deep space...by our time, that is. According to Dr. Hasslein's theory of time in a vehicle traveling nearly the speed of light, the Earth has aged nearly 700 years since we left it...while we've aged hardly at all. Maybe so. This much is probably true. The men who sent us on this journey are long since dead and gone. You, who are reading me now, are a different breed...I hope a better one. I leave the 20th century with no regrets, but...one more thing, if anybody's listening, that is. Nothing scientific; it's purely personal. But seen from out here, everything seems different. Time bends. Space is boundless. It squashes a man's ego. I feel lonely. That's about it. Tell me, though...does man, that marvel of the universe, that glorious paradox who sent me to the stars, still make war against his brother...keep his neighbor's children starving?

Taylor: You're 300 light years from your precious planet. Your loved ones are dead and forgotten for 20 centuries. 20 centuries! Even if you could get back, they'd think you were something that fell out of a tree.

Taylor: And there's just one last item: immortality. You wanted to live forever, didn't you? Well, you damn near made it. Except for me and Dodge, you've lived longer than anyone ever born. And with our lovely Lieutenant Stewart dead, looks like you're the last of the line. You got what you wanted, tiger. How does that taste?

Dr. Zaius: Don't look for it, Taylor. You may not like what you'll find.

Taylor: It's a mad-house! A MAD-HOUSE!

Cornelius: Zira! Do you want to get my head chopped off!

Julius: You know what they say: human see, human do!

Taylor: Oh, my God. I am back?! I am home. All the time it was...! We finally really did it! You maniacs! You blew it up! Ahhh, damn you! God damn you all to hell!

Dr. Zaius: To suggest that we can learn anything about the simian nature from a study of man is sheer nonsense. Why, man is a nuisance. He eats up his food supply in the forest, then migrates to our green veldts and ravages our crops. The sooner he is exterminated, the better. It's a question of simian survival.

Dr. Zaius: Have you forgotten your scripture, the thirteenth scroll? "And Proteus brought the upright beast into the garden and chained him to a tree and the children did make sport of him."

Cornelius: Beware the beast man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him; drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of death.

Dr. Zira: What will he find out there, Doctor?

Dr. Zaius: His destiny.

Dr. Zaius: Because you're a man. And you're right, I have always known about man. From the evidence, I believe his wisdom must walk hand and hand with his idiocy. His emotions must rule his brain. He must be a warlike creature who gives battle to everything around him, even himself.

Taylor: Don't try to follow us. I'm pretty handy with this.
Dr. Zaius: Of that, I am sure. All my life I've awaited your coming and dreaded it. Like death itself.
Taylor: I've terrified you from the first, Doctor. I still do. You're afraid of me and you hate me. Why?
Dr. Zaius: Because you're a man. And you're right. I have always known about man. From the evidence, I believe his wisdom must walk hand in hand with his idiocy. His emotions must rule his brain. He must be a warlike creature who gives battle to everything around him. Even himself.
Taylor: What evidence? There were no weapons in that cave.
Dr. Zaius: The Forbidden Zone was once a paradise. Your breed made a desert of it ages ago.
Taylor: It still doesn't give me the why, a planet where...apes evolved from men? There's got to be an answer.
Dr. Zaius: Don't look for it, Taylor! You may not like what you'll find.

Lucius: Dr. Zaius, this is inexcusible! Why must knowledge stand still?! What about the future?!!
Dr. Zaius: I may just have saved it for you.
Dr. Zira: What will he find out there, Doctor?
Dr. Zaius: His destiny.

Related ArticlesEdit

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Overview of the Movie by Octavio Ramos Jr.
  2. Leo Lotito Jr. biography (2008)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Marvel Planet of the Apes', UK Issue 12 (1975)
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 Cinefantastique 'Planet of the Apes' Issue (1972)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Filming 'Planet of the Apes', by Herb A. Lightman - 'American Cinematographer' (April 1968)
  6. 'Final Production Information Guide' (1968) at Hunter's Planet of the Apes Archive
  7. 7.0 7.1 Planet of the Apes Revisited, by Edward Gross, Larry Landsman & Joe Russo - WorldCat (2001)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Planet of the Apes Revisited, by Edward Gross, Larry Landsman & Joe Russo - reprinted in 'Sci-Fi Universe' (July 1994)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Planet of the Apes: 40 Year Evolution, by Lee Pfeiffer & Dave Worrall (June 2008)
  10. Daily Variety (9/29/65)
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 The Legend of the Planet of the Apes by Brian Pendreigh (reprinted in 'Night & Day' (2001))
  12. Fox Legacy with Tom Rothman: Planet of the Apes - Fox Movie Channel (November 2008)
  13. Night & Day (2001)
  14. The Remaking of Roddy McDowall - 'Planet of the Apes' UK comic #28
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 The Planet of the Apes Chronicles by Paul A. Woods
  16. From Book To Script To Screen: Visualizing Planet of the Apes, by John L. Flynn
  17. The Legend of the Planet of the Apes by Brian Pendreigh
  18. Rod Serling's Second 'Planet of the Apes' Draft
  19. Rod Serling's Third 'Planet of the Apes' Draft
  20. Franklin James Schaffner article at All-Movie Guide
  21. 'Planet of the Apes Revisited' by Joe Russo and Larry Landsman
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 22.6 The Actor's Life: Journals 1956-1976 by Charlton Heston (1978)
  23. Charles Eastman's partial screenplay for Planet of the Apes
  24. 24.0 24.1 The Early Franklin J. Schaffner, by Stanley Lloyd Kaufman jr. - 'Films In Review' (August 1969)
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 Eric Greene text commentary - Planet of the Apes Blu-Ray Edition
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 26.4 26.5 26.6 26.7 26.8 26.9 Behind the Planet of the Apes
  27. 'Marvel's Planet of the Apes', USA Issue 2 (October 1974)
  28. John Chambers: Master of Make-Up, by Elaine Santangelo - 'Questar' (December 1980)
  29. Chimp Life, by Tom Weaver & Michael Brunas - 'Starlog' (November 1990)
  30. Preliminary Production Information Guide at Hunter's Planet of the Apes Archive
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 SFX on the Planet of the Apes, by James Glenn - 'Planet of the Apes' UK #95 (11 August 1976)
  32. 'Films In Review' interview, conducted January 1969
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 33.4 PB
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 34.3 34.4 Finding the Future on the Fox Ranch!, by Sam Maronie - 'Planet of the Apes' UK #43 (16 August 1975)
  35. 35.0 35.1 Monkeying Around, by Allan Asherman - 'The Monster Times' (1972)
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 Charlton Heston Talks About Science Fiction, by Don Shay - 'Fantastic Films' (February 1980)
  37. Lake Powell: Waterway to Desert Wonders, by Walter Meayers Edwards - 'National Geographic' vol.132 #1 (July 1967)
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 Final Shooting Script at Hunter's Planet of the Apes Archive
  39. Rod Serling Conference Proceedings (2006-2009) - Ithaca College
  40. Planet of the Apes Trivia at IMDb



Planet of the Apes
Planet of the Apes Beneath the Planet of the Apes Escape from the Planet of the Apes Conquest of the Planet of the Apes Battle for the Planet of the Apes

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