Planet of the Apes (1968)

Somewhere in the universe there must be something better than man. In a matter of time, an astronaut will wing through the centuries and find the answer. He may find the most terrifying one of all on the planet where apes are the rulers and man the beast.

Year of Release: 1968
Genre: Science Fiction/Adventure
Rated: G
Running Time: 112 minutes (1:52)
Director: Franklin J. Schaffner


Charlton Heston ... George Taylor
Roddy McDowall ... Cornelius
Kim Hunter ... Zira
Maurice Evans ... Dr. Zaius
Linda Harrison ... Nova
Robert Gunner ... Landon
Jeff Burton ... Dodge
Lou Wagner ... Lucius
Woodrow Parfrey ... Maximus
Buck Kartalian ... Julius


In the year 3978 A.D. a spaceship with a crew of 4 crashes on a distant planet. One of the crew members died in space and the other 3 head out to explore the planet. They soon learn that the planet is much like their own. They then find the planet is inhabited by intelligent apes. One of the men is shot and killed and the others are taken to the apes' city. There, one undergoes brain surgery and is put into a state of living death. The other befriends some of the apes but is feared by most. After being put through ape trial he escapes with a female human native to the planet. After helping his ape friends escape a religious heresy trial he escapes out into the wilderness with the female. There he learns the planet might not be so distant after all...


Planet of the Apes, remindin' us that it is better to remain silent an be thought a fool, than to open your mouth an declare your captors a buncha "damn dirty apes." They really hate that.

An speakin' of trips with bad landings, I really gotta remember not to pay my phone bill this month, cause nothin' good EVER comes outta that thing. I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but somewhere along the line somebody musta declared me a disaster relief fund. The whole reason I didn't go to that rodeo out in Haines was to avoid steppin' in any bullstuff, but as you've prolly noticed - around here, if you won't go to the bullstuff, the bullstuff comes to you. I guess you all prolly heard what happened out there already, but what you prolly didn't hear about is what happened *after* Bambi Pankins got dragged off by the cops, so I'll just start from the beginnin'. See, Bambi'd gone out to the rodeo to get 'er cleavage sunburnt an whine to Trixie Willager about how she coulda been a rodeo queen except that Velma Voss (the head of the rodeo queen pageant) never did like 'er ever since she got caught sittin' in Velma's husband's lap at The Gutter Bowl, when all the sudden this cowboy from Riggins, Idaho comes ridin' outta the gate on a bull named Gorenado, an next thing you know the guy ends up gettin' launched into the 3rd row like Spike Dudley in the ECW Arena... right into Bambi's lap. I can tell ya from past experience - that guy'll never be the same. He'll prolly end up movin' down to San Francisco to open up a pet shop with a guy named Tito after what Bambi did to 'im, cause no bull can prepare you for that. Fortunately, Bambi's boyfriend (Edgar Mastrude) was workin' at the Videodome calculatin' rewind fees that afternoon, so by the time she'd landed in jail word hadn't yet reached 'im about what she'd done to that poor bastard's saddle bags. I dunno why I helped 'er... actually, I know exactly why I helped 'er; cause if Edgar ever found out about it an dumped 'er I'd prolly be back in 'er crosshairs. But anyway, she called me up from the payphone an said she had the bail money in 'er underwear drawer over at Edgar's place an alls I hadda do was climb up the ladder next to their bedroom window an get it.

I really didn't wanna know what kinda kinky stuff they'd been usin' that ladder for, or what that gooey crap drippin' off it was, so I never did ask 'er about it. Did wash my hands in diesel TWICE just to make sure I didn't catch palmorrhea, though. So anyhow, I get up to the window, slide it open, climb inside, an immediately step into this literal Mount Shasta of empty pop cans an knock the whole damn thing over, generatin' a sound exactly like a 1968 Buick Skylark bein' crushed in a car compactor. Surely to heck the whole block musta heard me, but nobody ever did come out to see what was goin' on cause fortunately, pretty much everybody who lives on Savage Street has somethin' to hide, an so nobody ever calls the cops for anything short of a maniac gas huffer on a weed-eater rampage. Like I was sayin' though; once I got all the cans outta my pant legs an plucked the plastic fork that'd been sittin' in a Hungry Man dinner tray outta my arm, I set to work riflin' the drawers but couldn't find diddly squat. I musta opened every one of 'em 10 times before I finally figured out which one was 'er underpants, cause... I mean, yeah, it seemed a little odd that she would have a drawer with nothin' but unwound dental floss inside, but I had no idea that's what was passin' for ladies' underwear these days. So I grabbed the money, swam back through the sea of aluminum, an was just about to climb back down the ladder, when all the sudden the door creaks open ever so slowly until I can see these three dirty little faces peekin' around the corner at me like the alien in Communion. I shoulda known Bambi'd be too cheap to hire a babysitter. Hadda give the little bastards the box of powdered donuts I had sittin' on the dashboard of the Topaz to keep 'em quiet (an it was still AT LEAST 2/3s full), but anyhow, I sprung Bambi an got 'er home before Edgar could hoist his fat ass off that stool (it normally takes at least three tries, with rest periods in between) an discover 'er missin', so I guess it all worked out. Still got the deposit values of that Dr. Shasta mashed into my forehead, but it should go away in a few days. I really gotta find a quieter place to live, I think all this big city livin's startin' to damage my psyche.

After an experience like that it can be reassurin' to know that no matter how bad your situation may seem, it could always be worse, which is why I decided to check out the 1968 simian show-stopper, Planet of the Apes. I've prolly seen it more times than the interior of my shower, but it never gets old, an since I notice new stuff in there just about every time I watch it I figured there was prolly no better time to watch Chuck Heston fight for his freedom than Independence Day. Now I know what you're thinkin', you're thinkin', "is he really gonna do the stupid 'fun facts' gimmick for a movie that's gotten more exposure than Kim Kardashian's silicone filled Hinderberg?" An the answer is... well, I am NOW, you rude sumbitches. First, if you can buy shaving cream on the Planet of the Apes, chances are there're some incredibly kinky monkeys down on the docks. Second, always use a licensed surveyor when determining the boundary marker on any Forbidden Zones, as improper measurements could lead to Heresy charges during the tourist season. An third, it's hard to properly defend yourself against accusations of mutation when the court of pubic opinion steals your pants an sits across the room judgin' your genitalia.

But I've got an observation about this flick that I'd like to share, cause I've seen a lot of these "crash landin' on a hostile planet" movies in my day, an the thought that never manages to escape me is how much better off these astronauts would be if they'd taken a comedian along as a goodwill ambassador. Ya know, somebody who doesn't spend the entire movie lookin' an actin' like they've still got lead shrapnel in their hinder from Korea that's been rubbin' their fanny nerves raw for the last 20 years. Don't get me wrong, Charlton Heston' was a great actor there's no two ways about it, but he wasn't exactly the cuddliest guy in the world. What these expeditions really need is a goofball who can bridge the gap between species an break the ice with non-threatening humor, an who better for a crew goin' to a cranky planet of apes than Robin Williams? I mean, the guy was hairier'n most of the extras anyway so they'd already have that in common, plus he seemed to develop a pretty strong rapport with that gorilla he hung out with when he was makin' that "save the sad, oppressed primates in the Congo" commercial. I'm just sayin', it seems like a lotta these inter-species spats that keep happenin' might be better mitigated by sendin' Chris Rock instead of *The* Rock, ya know? We don't like it when a 10' vegetable man comes down here an starts drainin' our blood to serve as fertilizer for an army of killer zucchinis, so why should we assume they'll react any differently when we show up at their house squintin' our eyes like Clint Eastwood preparin' for a gunfight? Just don't send Adam Sandler for God's sake. We're tryin' to PREVENT an interstellar war, not start one in record time.

The movie begins in outer space where Chuck Heston's cruisin' through the cosmos in an interstellar lawn dart in search of intelligent life on other planets after givin' up on Earth for electin' Richard Nixon president. Unfortunately, it takes a real long time to get anywhere when your space ship's still runnin' on leaded gasoline an only gettin' about 4 miles to the gallon, so Chuck an his crew hafta seal themselves up in these hyperbaric tupperware containers like leftover meatloaf so they don't die in transit like a minority in the back of a cop car. But that ain't even the worst of it, cause when they finally reach their destination everyone slaps the snooze buttons on their alarm clocks an the ship ends up crash landin' in the middle of Alien Lake, an ain't nobody rentin' canoes. Chuck rouses Landon an Dodge, but Stuart's dome musta had one of those little windshield chips in it that spread when they passed by Polaris an caused a leak that turned 'er into the Cryptkeeper, an unfortunately the only wake they got time for is the boarding variety, cause pretty quick the ship starts takin' on water like a fat girl's feet durin' 'er period an they hafta bail out so they can start comin' up with a good story to tell NASA. Then they paddle ashore an Dodge shoves this meat thermometer into the dirt an tells Chuck that the area's great if you happen to need a place to bury disposable diapers an milk jugs, but that he can pretty much forget about ever growin' any prize winnin' squash in it. With this in mind, they figure they'd better get their hinders movin' in the direction of the nearest A&W cause they only had enough fuel for three days worth of grub after Chuck insisted on bringin' his entire collection of antique Remingtons. Eventually they find a weed in the desolation an immediately yank it up outta the ground an stare at in awe like middle schoolers watchin' a stag video they found at a yard sale, an pretty quick things really start lookin' up when they discover a pristine little pond where everybody proceeds to strip nekkid an frolic like a buncha teenagers who snuck into the YMCA pool after hours. 'Cept pretty quick they spot footprints in the mud an next thing you know somebody's stealin' their clothes like Winona Ryder at Saks Fifth Avenue, so the guys hafta go chasin' after 'em through the jungle with their vines slappin' against their frames like loose tire chains until they find enough scraps to fashion crude sumo belts an maintain their G rating. What they finally find when they stop looks to be some kinda prehistoric offshoot of the Rainbow Gathering, only none of these folks can talk an their personal hygiene's a little better.

Then this ear-splittin' shriek that sounds like a crow chokin' to death on a snail shell rings out, causin' everyone to scatter like lawn flamingos in a trailer park tornado, an by the time Chuck finally gets a good look at the attackers he's horrified to discover they look like grown-up versions of that little chimp who helped propel Ronald Reagan to the White House. Immediately panic sets in; Dodge takes a Cro-Magnum hollow point to the back of his skull, Landon gets netted like a bass who's been hit on the head with crank baits one too many times, all the Beatle-haired extras stampede over a cliff like Thelma and Louise, an Chuck ends up with a neck wound, trussed up like a mule deer, an pitched into a cage where they're havin' a cast reunion for the lepers from Ben Hur. Then the gorillas dump Chuck off at the veterinarian's office to get 'im patched up an have all his shots updated, all the while he's tryin' to tell the physician (Dr. Zira) that he's got powerful friends back at the NRA who'll come lookin' for 'im, but can't quite do it on account of his vocal cords bein' literally shot to hell. Still, Zira's astounded by the fact that he's even *tryin'* to speak since all the other humans in these parts've been playin' the role of Teller to the apes' Penn since the dawn of time, an she's so impressed with his attempts to form sentences like the assembly instructions in a Walmart bookshelf kit that he invites Elizabeth Montgomery's Dad from Bewitched (Dr. Zaius) to come take a look at 'im. Course, Zaius ain't the least bit impressed cause he's a religious Apiscopalian zealot with blinders big enough to block out the sun, an he tells Zira he once saw a human who'd been adopted by the Mangani Tribe who could swing on ropes an kill lions with his bare hands at the state fair. Basically, Zaius wants to build a wall around the place an make Apemerica great again, an he don't like Zira studdyin' the two species' biological relationship cause he's afraid all the mute idiots out in the forest might be the monkeys' uncles. Then Zira stuffs Ms. Maryland 1965 (Nova) in Chuck's cage with 'im an the two of 'em end up out in the exercise yard inside this bamboo bingo cage where she introduces 'im to her fiance (Cornelius), only when Chuck tries writin' a message in the dirt Dr. Zaius shows up an some knuckle-dragger wipes out the letters an Chuck hasta kung fu the guy back to the stone age... err... hang on, what was before the stone age? Anyway, the guards notice the Neanderbrawl goin' inside the Wickerdome an hafta jam this big flamin' Q-tip into Chuck's shoulder to get 'im off the guy, an about that time Zaius looks down an notices some of the letters Chuck'd scrawled out on the ground an smudges 'em out with his walkin' stick so nobody can see the writin' on the floor.

Then the guards stuff Chuck back in his cell, an while Zira's tryin' to apologize for the monkey business Chuck grabs ahold of 'er, steals 'er notepad, an writes "My name is Taylor" on a chunka paper cause he can't stand bein' called "Bright Eyes" an havin' to listen to the guards make the same stupid "turn around" jokes over an over again. Course now Zira's thinkin' Nobel Prize in Humanology, so she an Cornelius get Chuck a day pass so he can write an abridged autobiography for 'em about where he came from an how hippy culture's causin' the downfall of society back home, until Zira tells 'im that Corny has this theory that the ape might've evolved from a lower order of primates, like the Palins. Cept before they can get too deep into the Origin of Species debate, Zaius walks in an finds a paper airplane Chuck made to illustrate that flight *is* a scientific possibility after they wouldn't believe 'im about the flyin' monkeys from The Wizard of Oz, an Zaius is so P.O.'d that he orders the guards to haul Chuck off to be gelded so he'll lose his ambition an resign 'imself to a life of layin' around in the straw all day gettin' fat. Only Chuck hears the guards jokin' about how his days as an action star're numbered an that he's about to be condemned to a career as a chimpendale's dancer, an so when it's time to go he monkey flips the guard an starts runnin' loose through the streets like a bull in Pamplona, til they finally get a net around 'im like a cranky gator on The Crocodile Hunter just about the time his voice returns an he's finally able to make his displeasure with the local hierarchy perfectly clear. Now the apes're so ticked off that they're fightin' back the urge to sling their dook at 'im just so they can blast 'im over an over with the fire hose like a civil rights march, until he eventually gets subpoenaed to appear before the Primate House of Commons to plead his case. Then they confiscate his loincloth an make 'im stand there stark nekkid, livin' out every lawyer's worst nightmare, while havin' to defend his right to life, liberty, an the pursuit of jockey shorts. But the chimp justice of the supreme court is havin' none of it an pretty quick the entire panel's threatenin' to orangutan his hide if he don't point out the alleged companions who traveled with him through space. So he goes outside with the bailiffs where he discovers that Landon's still in one piece... at least if you don't count the speech center of his brain that got cut out when Zaius discovered he could talk an lobotomized 'im so he'd be retarded as the day is long. Chuck's just about had it with these dopes an their monkey trial, but the gorilla gestappo's all over 'im before he can get ahold of Zaius an pound 'im into orangutang, an he ends up gettin' dragged back inside to be further scrotanized by the court.

Then, after a short Rhesus, Cornelius tells the justices that Chuck most definitely did come from the Forbidden Zone because his description matches what Cornelius found when he was there on an archeological dig where he discovered relics from a simian culture that predates all their religious texts an... that's about where Chuck starts regrettin' not takin' that court appointed attorney. Next thing you know the apacy is levyin' charges of Heresy against Cornelius an Zira, an Chuck gets this look on his face like he just found his pet hamster in a rat trap under the sink cause he knows damn well there's no appeels process in this banana republic. Then Chuck gets dragged into Zaius' chamber an Zaius says he'll grant a stay of sexecution if Chuck'll tell 'im where he really came from an explain why he can't stop talkin' about the British Invasion in his sleep, but Chuck just keeps on insistin' he's the Omega Man an that all his countrymen're zillions of miles away fightin' the Vietcommies, until Zaius throws his paws up an gives 'im six hours to change his mind before he has 'im processed into ground Chuck. Needless to say - things aren't lookin' so hot for Chuck's chances of settlin' down to a nice little mud hut somewhere in the country with Nova where they can raise a gaggle of half-breed babies who can only speak Pig Latin, but about that time Zira's nephew (Lucius) talks his way into Chuck's cellblock an shoves the guard into Chuck's cage so he can king konk the guy on the noggin. Then Lucius springs Chuck an Nova so they can meet up with Zira an Cornelius an head for Corny's dig site to find proof that Zaius' charges are maliciously ad hominid, before the Brass Monkeys catch up an start throwin' barrels at 'em. Eventually they make it to the cave where Cornelius looks to have unearthed the remains of a long-lost Alabama flea market, only it ain't long before Zaius an his simian SWAT team track 'em down an Chuck hasta hold Zaius at gunpoint an make 'im order all the Magilla Guerrillas back over the ridge. Chuck feels real bad about gettin' Zira an Cornelius condemned to an afterlife of torment in Monkey Hell, so he forces Zaius up into the cave an makes 'im listen to Cornelius' show an tell presenation that culminates with a human doll that *talks.* Obviously, as we've seen here on Planet Earth, this doesn't wrap things up as definitively as you might think. We *did* build a 510 foot long recreation of Noah's Ark in Kentucky, after all. But things're at least lookin' up for the gang, an that's where I'm gonna leave 'em, cause even though there's only about six people on the planet who don't know how this one ends, I'd like to keep it that way so they can see it for themselves.

Alrighty, Planet of the Apes, the rare flick which sneaks a heapin' helpin' of social commentary into its proceedings and manages not to ruin the movie. I guess it's a little easier to overlook that stuff when it's put into the context of a science fiction film where super-intelligent apes rule, and dim-witted humans are relegated to loincloths and coconut crackin'. Most of the symbolism is directed at two particular aspects of "civilized" society in the 1960s, the first, of course, being the civil rights movement (Martin Luther King Jr. was actually assassinated the day after the film was released), as it addresses the same type of racial prejudices being hashed out at the time of the film's release. Charlton Heston is subjected to this same type of prejudice throughout the course of the movie (including being blasted with a fire hose on multiple occasions). Basically, Chuck's literally gettin' hosed, and you really wanna see him triumph over his jackwagon oppressors. The second dose of social commentary comes in the form of oppressive religious dogma, where strong, rational scientific evidence is disregarded in favor of the prevailing religious beliefs of the time. You could probably make the case that 50 years later, this problem has actually gotten a little worse, where racial injustice has improved at least marginally. The orangutans, led by Dr. Zaius, actively cover up evidence that could be potentially damaging to the public's perception of their teachings, and more or less have carte blanche in doing so because they tend to have a more elevated status within the society. But what really makes the movie great is that it can be enjoyed by pretty much everyone, regardless of whether these kinds of things jump out at you or not. Matter of fact, the movie even received a G rating from the MPAA, (Becoming only the second movie ever to do so while displaying nudity. The other film was The Bible: In the Beginning... from 1966), thus earning its stripes as a family friendly feature. The flick was based on a novel of the same name written by a French guy named Pierre Boulle, and while most of the basic plot elements remained the same, in Boulle's version the apes were living in a modern human-like society with equivalent technological advancements to the 1960s. This was changed by Fox when it became apparent how much it was gonna cost to recreate the setting from the book, and they instead went with a more primitive/cost-effective society. The book is actually a lot like Escape from the Planet of the Apes, just with the parts of the stranded apes and humans switched, and features a different (but fundamentally similar) twist ending. At the end of the day it's probably more fun *not* to analyze the social messages too strongly because, frankly, it's kinda depressing to think that 50 years later these problems are still pretty prevalent. So when you do watch it again, try to dial back your mental receptors a little bit.

Well, there ya have it. Nothin' left to do but lay bare the crux of ape society and find out whether they're as sophisticated as they'd like us to believe, or whether they're secretly flingin' poo in the bathroom stalls during moments of simian frustration. The plot is pretty original stuff for its time, and although there are holes here and there, it kinda worked out for the sequels that were yet to come, because they were able to fill in some of the gaps as the series evolved. I'm not really interested in the smaller questions, but one thing that does come to mind as being completely nonsensical is the way the native humans have essentially devolved. Gonna hafta tread lightly here for the few people who aren't aware of how the movie ends, but that aspect makes absolutely no sense. Other than that, the story is well written, and the movie maintains a steady pace after an admittedly slow start. The acting is fantastic, and second only to the special effects in terms of contributing to the movie's score. Pretty much every pivotal role was sought after by numerous big name Hollywood stars, and even though they often selected lesser-known actors to fill the supporting roles, I think it tends to work out better when the actors behind the ape makeup are less familiar to the audience. This is also my favorite of all the roles Charlton Heston ever did, and it was also the first in a series of post-apocalyptic flicks he would go on to star in, including The Omega Man, and Soylent Green. He's sympathetic, but he's also strong-willed enough that you know he's gonna find a way outta this predicament, and part of the fun is waiting for the big bust-out scene. The supporting cast is equally up to the task, particularly Kim Hunter as Dr. Zira, Roddy McDowall as Cornelius, and of course, Maurice Evans as the cantankerous Dr. Zaius. A perfect 10/10 on the acting portion of the score card.

Here's who matters and why (less Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowall, who should be pretty well known to anyone who can enjoy a movie that's nearly 50 years old): Kim Hunter (Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Two Evil Eyes, The Kindred, Bad Ronald), Maurice Evans (Rosemary's Baby, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, The Six Million Dollar Man: The Solid Gold Kidnapping, Terror in the Wax Museum, The Body Stealers), James Whitmore (Them!, The Relic 1997, Zoo Ship), Linda Harrison (Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Planet of the Apes 2001, Cocoon I & II), Lou Wagner (Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Mirrors, The U.F.O. Incident), Joe Tornatore (Demon Keeper, Grotesque), Buck Kartalian (Octaman, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, My Favorite Martian 1999, Please Don't Eat My Mother!), Jeff Burton (Deep Space, Mausoleum, Fade to Black, The Terminal Man, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Hand of Death 1962), Wright King (The Spell, Helter Skelter 1976, Invasion of the Bee Girls), Army Archerd (Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Hyper Sapien: People from Another Star), James Bacon (Capricorn One, Meteor 1979, Planet Earth, Sssssss, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes), Erlynn Mary Bothelho (Beneath the Planet of the Apes), Eldon Burke (Beneath the Planet of the Apes), David Chow (Conquest of the Planet of the Apes), Billy Curtis (The Thing from Another World, Eating Raoul, The Angry Red Planet, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Gog, Ghost Catchers), Frank Delfino (The Lord of the Rings 1978), Buddy Douglas (Highway to Hell), William Graeff Jr. (Rosemary's Baby), Lars Hensen (Young Frankenstein, The Man from Planet X), Jerry Maren (Dahmer vs. Gacy, Frankenstein Rising, House, The Lord of the Rings 1978, Bigfoot 1970, The Being), Harry Monty (The Lord of the Rings 1978, Invaders from Mars, Ghost Catchers), John Quijada (Candyman 3), George Sasaki (Varen the Unbelievable), Felix Silla (Return of the Jedi, Batman Returns, Spaceballs, The Brood, House, The Dungeonmaster, The Lord of the Rings 1978, The Manitou, Demon Seed, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, Sssssss, She Freak), Emory Souza (The Evil).

Not surprisingly with a big budget movie like this you're going to be able to afford some established Hollywood talent, so for those of you who might be interested in the flicks your parents remember these people from, here're the credits that actually helped the cast members pay their bills: Kim Hunter (Stella Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, Nola Madison on The Edge of the Night), Maurice Evans (probably best known as Samantha's father Maurice on the series Bewitched, though he did a lot of Shakespearean acting as well), James Whitmore (Brooks in The Shawshank Redemption, Gus Minissi in The Asphalt Jungle), James Daly (Dr. Paul Lochner on Medical Center), Lou Wagner (Harlan on CHiPs), Woodrow Parfrey (Clusiot in Papillion, Harold Young in Charley Varrick, Mr. Jaffe in Dirty Harry), Jeff Burton (Helmer in Bloodsport, Leiter in Diamonds are Forever), David Chow (Mordecai in High Plains Drifter).

The special effects were not only revolutionary for the time, but also represented one of the biggest budgets ever appropriated strictly for a makeup department. All the work required to get the cast members (and extras) into ape makeup was so substantial that many of the other studios actually shut down their own productions temporarily because every single union makeup artist was employed on this particular movie. And let's be clear on this: these costumes and prosthetics weren't just "good for their time," they're still damn good, and the movie holds up really well nearly 50 years later as a result of all the hard work that went into creating the apes. Not really too much else to mention as far as the special effects go beyond the excellent matte shot at the climax of the movie, which may not have held up as well as the makeup, but is still pretty good. The shooting locations were all very well scouted, with all the on-location filming taking place in the various deserts of Utah, Arizona, and California. Most of the movie was shot on various sound stages at Fox Studios, but even though the majority of the critical scenes take place in the interiors of Ape City, it's the outdoor sequences that show off Leon Shamroy's exceptional cinematography. Honestly, that cinematography is really what keeps the first 25 minutes or so afloat, because there isn't much going on in the movie during that time. Some of the smaller buildings, when shown from the outside, do tend to look a little on the papier-mache side, but for the most part the flick's shooting locations provide another strong showing for the production values. As for the soundtrack, well - it's Jerry Goldsmith, who was probably one of the top ten greatest composers of all time. His composition was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score, but ultimately lost out to Oliver!, for reasons I can't begin to understand. His score fits the tone of the movie as well as any you'll ever see, and manages to convey the serious nature of Heston's situation without ever going to a darker place that might conceivably upset the children in the audience. After all, this was one of the most merchandised movies in the history of film at that time, and much of that merchandise was targeted at children in the form of action figures, trading cards, and movie posters. He also threw some seldom heard instruments in there to push the boundaries of what a movie score "ought" to be, including a ram's horn and an echoplex, which was fairly new at the time. I think the best way to sum it up might be to say that the entire soundtrack has a "curious" vibe about it, by which I mean it intrigues the viewer and gets them interested in what's going to happen next. Overall, Planet of the Apes is one of the greatest science fiction films of all time, and one that also yields excellent rewatch value due to its multiple layers and one's ability to spot new things each time you watch it. I cannot recommend it strongly enough, so if you haven't seen it, be sure to correct that as soon as possible.

Rating: 97%