Planet of the Apes (1968)

112 mins | Science fiction | 8 February 1968

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HISTORY

The film’s opening credits begin after a sequence in which Charlton Heston, as “George Taylor,” records his thoughts during the long space voyage and then puts himself into suspended animation, along with the rest of the crew. The ending credits include the following written acknowledgment: "The Producers express their appreciation to the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior, for its cooperation in the production of this motion picture." In 1964, news items reported that the screen rights to Pierre Boulle’s popular science fiction novel, La planète des singes ( Planet of the Apes ), had been purchased by Warner Bros., with the film to be directed by Blake Edwards and produced by Arthur P. Jacobs. Rod Serling completed the screenplay by Nov 1964, according to an 8 Nov 1964 NYT news item. On 10 Mar 1965, DV reported that due to “budgeting and production problems,” the project was being postponed, thereby excluding Edwards from the project, as Edwards was about to embark on a six-picture contract with The Mirisch Corp.
       On 17 Oct 1966, HR and DV announced that the film would be a joint venture between Jacobs’ independent production company, Apjac Productions, and Twentieth Century-Fox. Although a 24 Oct 1966 HR news item announced that Charles Eastman had been signed to work on the screenplay, he is not mentioned by other contemporary or modern sources, and it is doubtful that he contributed to the completed film. According to a 1998 documentary on the making of the “Planet of the Apes” series, Edward G. Robinson was initially cast ... More Less

The film’s opening credits begin after a sequence in which Charlton Heston, as “George Taylor,” records his thoughts during the long space voyage and then puts himself into suspended animation, along with the rest of the crew. The ending credits include the following written acknowledgment: "The Producers express their appreciation to the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior, for its cooperation in the production of this motion picture." In 1964, news items reported that the screen rights to Pierre Boulle’s popular science fiction novel, La planète des singes ( Planet of the Apes ), had been purchased by Warner Bros., with the film to be directed by Blake Edwards and produced by Arthur P. Jacobs. Rod Serling completed the screenplay by Nov 1964, according to an 8 Nov 1964 NYT news item. On 10 Mar 1965, DV reported that due to “budgeting and production problems,” the project was being postponed, thereby excluding Edwards from the project, as Edwards was about to embark on a six-picture contract with The Mirisch Corp.
       On 17 Oct 1966, HR and DV announced that the film would be a joint venture between Jacobs’ independent production company, Apjac Productions, and Twentieth Century-Fox. Although a 24 Oct 1966 HR news item announced that Charles Eastman had been signed to work on the screenplay, he is not mentioned by other contemporary or modern sources, and it is doubtful that he contributed to the completed film. According to a 1998 documentary on the making of the “Planet of the Apes” series, Edward G. Robinson was initially cast as “Dr. Zaius” in the first film but dropped out of the cast because he was too ill to undergo the lengthy makeup applications. The documentary also noted that James Brolin tested for the part of “Cornelius,” and that Joe Canutt served as Charlton Heston’s stunt double.
       According to contemporary sources, location sites for the film included Utah and Page, AZ, with the some filming being done at the Malibu Creek State Park in California, which used to be part of the Twentieth Century-Fox Ranch. According to a 25 Jun 1967 LAT article, the “capital city of the simian nation” was constructed at the Fox Ranch after “a year’s work by architects and artists.” The base of the Statue of Liberty was created at nearby Zuma Beach, according to the 1998 documentary, while the rest of the statue was superimposed using special effects matte paintings. Throughout the picture’s shooting schedule, numerous articles commented on the secrecy surrounding the set in order to protect the “shock value” of the elaborate ape makeup, as noted by a Jun 1967 HCN article. According to the HCN article, no actor was permitted to leave the set while in makeup. A 15 Jun 1967 DV article reported that no publicity stills of the sets or actors would be distributed until the film’s release. The DV article added that it took three to four hours to apply the ape makeup, with another hour required to remove it. The 25 Jun 1967 LAT article noted that of the film’s five million dollar budget, one million dollars was being spent on the makeup.
       Although the onscreen credits “introduce” actress Linda Harrison, who played “Nova,” she had appeared in minor roles in several earlier films. Planet of the Apes received Academy Award nominations for Best Costume Design and Best Original Score. John Chambers received an honorary Oscar for his “outstanding make-up achievement” for creating the film’s complex makeup. In 2001, Planet of the Apes was selected for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.
       Four more films based on Boulle’s characters were produced by Twentieth Century-Fox, with the series becoming one of the most profitable and popular science fiction series in film history. All of the films in the series were produced by Jacobs. The second film, 1970’s Beneath the Planet of the Apes (see above), was directed by Ted Post, starred James Franciscus and Kim Hunter, reprising her role as “Zira,” and was the only entry in the series not to feature Roddy McDowall. In 1971, the studio released the third film, Escape from the Planet of the Apes (see above), directed by Don Taylor and again featuring McDowall and Hunter in their original roles as they traveled back in time to an Earth still ruled by human beings rather than apes. The series’ fourth entry, 1972’s Conquest of the Planet of the Apes , was directed by J. Lee Thompson and starred McDowall as “Caesar,” the full-grown offspring of Zira and Cornelius, who leads domesticated apes into a revolt against their human oppressors. Battle for the Planet of the Apes , released in 1973, was also directed by Thompson and starred McDowall and Claude Akins as opposing factions within the ape community, trying to resolve their differences and their animosity toward humans. The series spawned a highly successful variety of merchandising items. A May 1974 DV article reported that the toys, games, dolls and other articles inspired by the series were expected by the studio to gross one hundred million dollars by 1975.
       Two television series, both produced by Twentieth Century-Fox, were based on Boulle’s characters. McDowall, Ron Harper and James Naughton starred in the 1974 live-action series, entitled ^Planet of the Apes , which was broadcast by CBS for one season. Thirteen episodes of an animated series called Return to the Planet of the Apes was broadcast by NBC during the 1975-1976 season and featured the voices of Philippa Harris and Edwin Mills as Zira and Cornelius. In 2001, Twentieth Century-Fox released a remake of the original film. Also titled Planet of the Apes , the remake was directed by Tim Burton and starred Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth and Helena Bonham Carter. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
29 May 1967.
---
Box Office
19 Feb 1968.
---
Daily Variety
10 Mar 1965.
---
Daily Variety
17 Oct 1966.
---
Daily Variety
26 May 1967.
---
Daily Variety
15 Jun 1967.
---
Daily Variety
1 Feb 1968.
---
Daily Variety
16 May 1974.
---
Film Daily
9 Feb 1968.
---
Filmfacts
15 Feb 1968
pp. 15-17.
Hollywood Citizen-News
26 Jun 1967.
---
Hollywood Citizen-News
22 Mar 1968.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 1966.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Oct 1966.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 May 1967
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
24 May 1967.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jul 1967
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Aug 1967
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Feb 1968
p. 3.
Life
10 May 1968
p. 20.
Los Angeles Herald Express
16 Jul 1967.
---
Los Angeles Times
17 Mar 1964.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Jun 1967
Calendar, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
24 Mar 1968.
---
Motion Picture Herald
21 Feb 1968.
---
New York Times
8 Nov 1964.
---
New York Times
9 Feb 1968
p. 55.
New Yorker
17 Feb 1968.
---
Newsweek
26 Feb 1968
p. 84.
SatRev
16 Mar 1968.
---
Time
23 Feb 1968
p. 95.
Variety
7 Feb 1968
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Arthur P. Jacobs Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Gaffer
Best boy
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Props
Landscape
Landscape
Const
Painter
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Creative makeup des
Makeup
Makeup
Makeup
Makeup
Makeup
Hairstyling
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Unit pub
Scr supv
Auditor
Unit casting
Atmosphere casting
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel La planète des singes by Pierre Boulle (Paris, 1963).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
8 February 1968
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 8 February 1968
Los Angeles opening: 27 March 1968
Production Date:
22 May--early August 1967 in Utah, Arizona and California
Copyright Claimant:
Apjac Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
30 December 1967
Copyright Number:
LP35407
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
DeLuxe
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
112
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

While traveling some 2,000 years through time and space, four astronauts crash-land on an unknown planet. After finding the female of their quartet dead, the three male survivors cross the barren wasteland of the planet until they encounter a tribe of mute sub-humans living amidst lush vegetation. They are set upon and captured by uniformed riders on horseback, who, much to the astronauts' horror, turn out to be sentient gorillas. One of the astronauts, Dodge, is killed and his body placed in the simian museum of natural history; another, Landon, is subjected to a frontal lobotomy; the third, George Taylor, who has been rendered speechless by a throat wound, is placed in a hospital cage. Taylor, although aware that he is a prisoner in a society where humans are treated as beasts, persuades the sympathetic chimpanzees, psychologist Zira and her archeologist fiancé Cornelius, that he can speak, read and write. Intrigued by the possibility that man may be the missing link in the evolution of the ape, Zira and Cornelius spare Taylor from experimental vivisection, intending to mate him with a female captive, Nova. Taylor eventually regains his power of speech and is able to communicate with the apes. Chief of state Dr. Zaius, an orangutan, is outraged by Taylor's unexpected abilities and demands that he be silenced by a lobotomy. Deeply resentful of the infringement upon their freedom of thought by the orangutans, the intellectual ruling class of the ape planet, Zira, Cornelius and their young assistant, Lucius, help Taylor and Nova escape. The group travels to the Forbidden Zone, a vast, deserted territory in which Cornelius had found human artifacts during an archaelogical dig, including a ... +


While traveling some 2,000 years through time and space, four astronauts crash-land on an unknown planet. After finding the female of their quartet dead, the three male survivors cross the barren wasteland of the planet until they encounter a tribe of mute sub-humans living amidst lush vegetation. They are set upon and captured by uniformed riders on horseback, who, much to the astronauts' horror, turn out to be sentient gorillas. One of the astronauts, Dodge, is killed and his body placed in the simian museum of natural history; another, Landon, is subjected to a frontal lobotomy; the third, George Taylor, who has been rendered speechless by a throat wound, is placed in a hospital cage. Taylor, although aware that he is a prisoner in a society where humans are treated as beasts, persuades the sympathetic chimpanzees, psychologist Zira and her archeologist fiancé Cornelius, that he can speak, read and write. Intrigued by the possibility that man may be the missing link in the evolution of the ape, Zira and Cornelius spare Taylor from experimental vivisection, intending to mate him with a female captive, Nova. Taylor eventually regains his power of speech and is able to communicate with the apes. Chief of state Dr. Zaius, an orangutan, is outraged by Taylor's unexpected abilities and demands that he be silenced by a lobotomy. Deeply resentful of the infringement upon their freedom of thought by the orangutans, the intellectual ruling class of the ape planet, Zira, Cornelius and their young assistant, Lucius, help Taylor and Nova escape. The group travels to the Forbidden Zone, a vast, deserted territory in which Cornelius had found human artifacts during an archaelogical dig, including a human-shaped doll that says "Mama." When they are pursued by the ape militia, led by the war-like gorillas, Taylor seizes Dr. Zaius and threatens to kill him unless he orders the soldiers to retreat. Zaius, after confessing that he has long been aware of man's reputation as "the harbinger of death," permits Taylor and Nova to continue into the Forbidden Zone, provided that they never return with evidence of their superior human culture. Some distance down the coastline, Taylor discovers the half-buried remnants of the Statue of Liberty and yells with rage as he realizes the destructive destiny of man's civilization. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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