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Statue of Liberty

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The Statue of Liberty is a colossal metal sculpture located on Liberty Island in the middle of the harbour of New York City. The statue was a gift to the United States from the people of France, and represents Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, bearing a torch and a tablet upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue was constructed in France over eight years, shipped across the sea, assembled on the pedestal on what was then called Bedloe's Island, and dedicated on 28 October 1886 by President Grover Cleveland. The statue is a symbol of freedom and international friendship, a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad, and one of America's most treasured icons.

Statue of Liberty
The remains of the Statue of Liberty
Brian KurtzAdded by Brian Kurtz

Planet of the ApesEdit

In the year 3978, human refugee George Taylor fled from Ape City with his newly acquired mate, Nova. During the course of several days, Taylor had believed that he had been living on a strange, alien world. Following the shoreline, he came upon the Statue's ruins, and realized that he was still on Earth. Worse, he deduced that the humans of his own era must have waged a global war, which paved the way for a dystopian future wherein humans became subservient to evolved apes. The statue was one of the few surviving icons of pre-Apocalyptic human society. Over the course of centuries however, dramatic geological shifts left the statue halfway buried in the sand.

SpeculationEdit

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Young Zaius learns the truth in Sins of the Father
MagicMankyAdded by MagicManky

It has been inferred that Dr. Zaius knew of the existence of the Statue of Liberty. It is clear that he was aware of mankind's past, and to some extent, possessed knowledge of humanity's downfall. When Taylor indicated his plan to "find his destiny", Zaius cryptically responded with, "Do not look for it, Taylor. You may not like what you find." In all likelihood, Zaius may have been referencing the Forbidden Zone, but it is just possible that he was speaking of the Statue itself. A large copper statue bearing a human face would have been an artifact of disturbing and heretical significance to one such as Dr. Zaius. Rod Serling, in his early script treatments for the movie, specified that Zaius should have suspicions about humanity's civilized past, "but it must be only an inkling", and that his realization of the truth should not occur until after the discoveries at Cornelius' archaeological site. In contrast, Malibu Graphics' Planet of the Apes: Sins of the Father depicted the Statue of Liberty revealed to a young Zaius by his father Dr. Augustus, Minister of Science.

Behind The ScenesEdit

It was during the early script revisions that the idea for the famous ending to Planet of the Apes was devised. Producer Arthur P. Jacobs recalled, "We were trying to make the audience believe it was another planet, which differs from Boulle's novel in which it WAS another planet. I thought that was rather predictable when we were doing the first screenplay. It's funny, I was having lunch with Blake Edwards, who at one point was going to direct it, at the Yugo Kosherarna Delicatessen in Burbank, across the street from Warner Brothers. I said to him at the time. 'It doesn't work, it's too predictable.' Then I said, 'What if he was on the earth the whole time and doesn't know it, and the audience doesn't know it.' Blake said, 'That's terrific. Let's get a hold of Rod.' As we walked out, after paying for the two ham sandwiches, we looked up, and there's this big Statue of Liberty on the wall of the delicatessen. We both looked at each other and said, 'Rosebud' (the key to the plot of 'Citizen Kane'). If we never had lunch in that delicatessen, I doubt that we would have had the Statue of Liberty as the end of the picture. I sent the finished script to Boulle, and he wrote back, saying he thought it was more inventive than his own ending, and wished that he had thought of it when he wrote the book." [1]

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Don Peters concept artwork
MagicMankyAdded by MagicManky
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Production art
MagicMankyAdded by MagicManky

Blake Edwards himself claimed that he came up with the Statue of Liberty ending with former Disney artist Don Peters, adding "As I recall it was pretty much Don". Don Peters, for his part, claimed that it was his idea alone, because he first introduced the ruined Statue of Liberty scenes to the Apes project when he did the preliminary sketches for Arthur P. Jacobs when the film was in development at Warner Bros. [2] However, the twist ending has also been attributed to Rod Serling, who's experience writing for Twilight Zone gives his claim more credence. Mort Abrahams, who as associate producer was very involved in script revisions, said succinctly "That was Rod's ending".[3] Serling's numerous script revisions through 1964 and 1965 show an evolving concept, from the movie being set on an alien planet (as in the book), to the discovery of Earth artifacts in a bomb shelter, to the sight of the famous statue. When asked about the ending himself, Serling 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." But when asked if the ending was a combination of 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."[1] Speaking to Marvel Comics two years later, Serling shared the credit, saying it was "In collaboration with Jacobs. Yes, it was a wild cinematic scene."[4] In stark contrast to Jacobs' above assertion, Boulle maintained: "I disliked somewhat, the ending that was used - the Statue of Liberty - which the critics seemed to like, but personally, I prefer my own. Since they decided to make the film, they picked this ending. They had that final scene in mind from the first day." [1]

NotesEdit

Scaffold
  • 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; art director William Creber built a half-scale model replica of the top of the head and the torch from cardboard and paper maché, expertly positioned in the frame to look real. This shot looking down at Taylor required a 70-foot high scaffold tower 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, director Franklin J. Schaffner and William Creber lensed the perspective shot, filmed on a secluded cove named Westward Beach situated between Zuma Beach and Point Dume, California.
    • The second scene was a 'glass shot' - a very detailed painting done by Emil Kosa on glass, but with a black area painted in for where the live action would be matted in. The painting was 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.[5][6][7]
  • The Statue of Liberty was featured on the cover art for the Planet of the Apes DVD that was included in the "Planet of the Apes: The Evolution" collection (2001).
  • The iconic value of the Statue of Liberty scene has led to the inclusion of references to it in many unused Planet of the Apes movie scripts over the years.
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    Beneath Concept Art1
    • In Pierre Boulle's 1968 sequel to the original movie, titled Planet of the Men, Taylor leads the primitive humans in rebuilding their ancient culture, including restoring the Statue of Liberty to it's former glory.
    • Adam Rifkin's 1988 reboot attempt, Return to the Planet of the Apes (a direct sequel to the original movie, ignoring the other four sequels), ended with Taylor's son and his girlfriend sitting by the Statue of Liberty pondering a peaceful future for their world.
    • Terry Hayes' Return of the Apes (1995) ends with hero Will Robinson - thrown back to pre-historic times - building a sculpture of the head and crown of the Statue of Liberty out of iron and rock and sand on a rocky cliff above a golden beach, “to make sure we never forget where we came from.”
    • The action in Sam Hamm's Planet of the Apes screenplay (1995) takes place on an alien planet ruled by apes, but as Dr. Alexander Troy finally returns to Earth in 2073 after a long absence, his ship whizzes over the New York harbor past the Statue of Liberty, but "her once-proud porcelain features have been crudely chiselled into the grotesque likeness of a great grinning ape."
  • Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes (2001) did not feature the statue, but the ancient wreckage of the spaceship Oberon, with it's arc of spikes, was intended to recall the statue's spiked crown. The fuction of the "American symbol that makes the protagonist realize that Earth is the planet of the Apes" is passed to the Lincoln Memorial, which has General Thade's face on it, which is very close to what Sam Hamm's 1995 Planet of the Apes screenplay described.

TriviaEdit

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  • In fact, as has been noted, the symbolism of the Statue of Liberty to American culture made it a such a powerful icon that it had already appeared under attack in science fiction imagery many times, including two Alex Schomburg magazine covers from 1953 and 1964.[8] As far back as 1887, and many times since, the image of a war-damaged Statue of Liberty was used to stir the patriotic instincts of the American public.[9] That's not to suggest that none of the above named people came up with the concept in relation to Planet of the Apes, but rather to note that it was already acknowledged as the most potent symbol of American liberty and freedom.
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  • In the Mel Brooks' comedy Spaceballs, after Spaceball One/Mega-Maid exploded its head and vacuum handle landed on a beach and appeared similar to this image of the Statue of Liberty. After the crash, two chimpanzees riding horse back saw what was "coming out of her nose" and dreaded the arrival of the Spaceballs.

AppearancesEdit

External LinksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 'Cinefantastique Planet of the Apes Issue' (1972) at Hunter's Planet of the Apes Archive
  2. The Legend of the Planet of the Apes, by Brian Pendreigh
  3. The Planet of the Apes Chronicles by Paul A. Woods (Page 46)
  4. 'Marvel Planet of the Apes, UK Issue 12' (1975)
  5. SFX on the Planet of the Apes, by James Glenn - 'Planet of the Apes' UK #95 (11 August 1976)
  6. Behind the Planet of the Apes
  7. Planet of the Apes: 40 Year Evolution, by Lee Pfeiffer & Dave Worrall (June 2008)
  8. FAQ page at 'The Last Flight of the Icarus'
  9. 'The ruined Statue of Liberty' at Gerry Canavan blogspot

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