Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

G | 95 mins | Science fiction | 26 May 1970

Director:

Ted Post

Writer:

Paul Dehn

Producer:

Arthur P. Jacobs

Cinematographer:

Milton Krasner

Production Designers:

Jack Martin Smith, William Creber

Production Company:

Apjac Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The first sequel to Planet of the Apes (1968, see entry) was initially titled Planet of the Apes Revisited, as noted a 7 Mar 1969 DV brief. In an interview published in the Summer 1972 issue of Cinefantastique, producer Arthur P. Jacobs claimed he had not originally intended to make a sequel, but Planet of the Apes was so successful that Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. asked him to devise a follow-up. Jacobs enlisted Pierre Boulle, who wrote the 1963 novel upon which Planet of the Apes was based, to write a treatment. Since Boulle had never attempted a screenplay before, he studied Michael Wilson and Rod Serling’s script from the 1968 film before developing a treatment titled The Planet of Man. Jacobs rejected Boulle’s treatment on the basis that “it wasn’t cinematic,” and reached out to screenwriter Paul Dehn and co-story writer Mort Abrahams. With Jacobs, Dehn and Abrahams worked together over a two-week period in London, England, “trying to figure out where to go from the Statue of Liberty” scene at the finale of the first film. In a separate interview in Cinefantastique, Boulle claimed that his idea for the sequel was altered so greatly, he considered Beneath the Planet of the Apes unconnected to his work. However, an item in the 23 Jan 1969 DV stated that Dehn’s script was based on “an original idea” by Boulle.
       Over fifteen cast and crew members who had worked on Planet of the Apes returned to their roles on the sequel, according to a 23 Apr 1969 ... More Less

The first sequel to Planet of the Apes (1968, see entry) was initially titled Planet of the Apes Revisited, as noted a 7 Mar 1969 DV brief. In an interview published in the Summer 1972 issue of Cinefantastique, producer Arthur P. Jacobs claimed he had not originally intended to make a sequel, but Planet of the Apes was so successful that Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. asked him to devise a follow-up. Jacobs enlisted Pierre Boulle, who wrote the 1963 novel upon which Planet of the Apes was based, to write a treatment. Since Boulle had never attempted a screenplay before, he studied Michael Wilson and Rod Serling’s script from the 1968 film before developing a treatment titled The Planet of Man. Jacobs rejected Boulle’s treatment on the basis that “it wasn’t cinematic,” and reached out to screenwriter Paul Dehn and co-story writer Mort Abrahams. With Jacobs, Dehn and Abrahams worked together over a two-week period in London, England, “trying to figure out where to go from the Statue of Liberty” scene at the finale of the first film. In a separate interview in Cinefantastique, Boulle claimed that his idea for the sequel was altered so greatly, he considered Beneath the Planet of the Apes unconnected to his work. However, an item in the 23 Jan 1969 DV stated that Dehn’s script was based on “an original idea” by Boulle.
       Over fifteen cast and crew members who had worked on Planet of the Apes returned to their roles on the sequel, according to a 23 Apr 1969 Var item. On 18 Mar 1969, LAT announced that Charlton Heston would reprise the part of “George Taylor.” The following day, a DV item noted that Heston would allow Twentieth Century-Fox to decide what he should be paid for two days’ work. The actor ultimately spent eight days on set and received a salary of $50,000, the 11 Apr 1969 DV reported. Maurice Evans, Kim Hunter, and Linda Harrison also reprised their roles from the original film. Roddy McDowall intended to return as “Cornelius,” but a scheduling conflict arose with Tam Lin (1971, see entry), the picture he was directing in Great Britain at that time. He was replaced by David Watson, as noted in the 6 May 1969 DV; however, McDowall played Cornelius in the following sequels: Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971, see entry); Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972, see entry); and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973, see entry). McDowall also appeared as “Galen” in the television series, The Planet of the Apes, which was aired on Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) between 13 Sep 1974 and 27 Dec 1974.
       Beneath the Planet of the Apes marked the first of a non-exclusive six-picture deal between Twentieth Century-Fox and actor James Franciscus, who was cast in the lead role of “Brent,” as stated in the 3 Apr 1969 DV. Actor and filmmaker Martin Ritt was reportedly cast as an orangutan, according to the 11 Feb 1969 DV.
       Principal photography was scheduled to begin 14 Apr 1969 on the Twentieth Century-Fox studio lot in Los Angeles, CA, as stated in a 26 Mar 1969 DV article. The 23 Apr 1969 Var noted that filmmakers would also shoot in the same location as the original Planet of the Apes, at Fox’s former “coast ranch studios” located in Malibu Creek State Park in California.
       On the Fox lot, some existing sets from Hello, Dolly! (1969, see entry) were repurposed, including a Grand Central Station replica, and the “Harmonia Gardens” set, which art director William Creber and his aides sprayed over with foam and transformed to look like St. Patrick’s Cathedral, according to Cinefantastique. The ruins of New York City were partially achieved by the special effects team, who inserted actual photographs of New York locations as matte backgrounds.
       During production, the 23 Apr 1969 DV reported that five different endings were being considered by Jacobs, director Ted Post, and Fox chief Richard Zanuck. The filmmakers’ goal was reportedly “to have the same impact as the initial ‘Apes’ Statue of Liberty finale – and yet not be too downbeat.” However, the ending finally chosen depicted a doomsday scenario in which an atomic bomb capable of destroying the planet was detonated.
       Actress Kim Hunter discussed the trials of playing an ape in an interview published in the 13 Dec 1970 NYT. Hunter stated that the elaborate make-up required three-and-a-half hours to apply, and an additional one-and-a-half hours to remove. She and her fellow ape actors had to eat lunch in the makeup, which proved so difficult that Hunter resorted to a liquids-only diet, sipped through a straw. She also stated that the claustrophobic experience of having the makeup applied required her to take a tranquilizer every morning.
       According to the 23 Apr 1969 DV, the film was made for an estimated $5 million.
       On 27 Jun 1969, Fox ran a full-page advertisement in DV, declaring that no publicity photographs would be released in advance of the film’s opening. The ad promised “a completely new motion picture experience” with such “shocking” scenes as “Grand Central Station and St. Patrick’s cathedral still standing amid atomic rubble… Human mutants living in their ghostly gray 40th century catacomb complexes,” and “A vast gorilla army marching on New York.”
       A world premiere was scheduled to take place on 26 May 1970 at the Loews Beverly Theater in Beverly Hills, CA. Proceeds from the fundraising event were set to go toward the City of Hope hospital and research center, as noted in the 6 May 1970 DV. The picture opened in Los Angeles on 26 May 1970 and in New York City two days later. Reviews were generally less favorable than those for Planet of the Apes. The 28 Apr 1970 DV called the film “rather hokey and slapdash” and criticized its “painfully obvious process work.” A more positive notice in the 26 May 1970 LAT described the sequel as “striking” and “imaginative” although sometimes campy. Commercially, the picture fared well, although box-office returns fell short of the original. On 24 Jun 1970, a DV item stated that ticket sales were already promising enough for Jacobs to be planning a third sequel, for which he reportedly had figured out a gimmick, “despite the implied end of the planet.” The 26 Aug 1970 Var noted that, worldwide, the film was enjoying higher initial box-office returns than its predecessor, although it was proving to have less staying power. A re-release of the film, on a double bill with Planet of the Apes, was scheduled for 31 Mar 1971, according to the 25 Mar 1971 LAT.^ The third sequel, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, opened two months later.
       A soundtrack was due to be released by Amos Records, according to the 24 Jun 1970 Var.
       Following the initial series of Planet of the Apes films released between 1968 and 1973, Twentieth Century Fox released a remake of Planet of the Apes in 2001 (see entry), followed by Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in 2014 (see entries).
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BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Cinefantastique
Summer 1972
pp. 18-19, 36-37.
Daily Variety
23 Jan 1969
p. 3.
Daily Variety
11 Feb 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
7 Mar 1969
p. 18.
Daily Variety
19 Mar 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
26 Mar 1969.
---
Daily Variety
3 Apr 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
11 Apr 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
16 Apr 1969
p. 24.
Daily Variety
18 Apr 1969
p. 12.
Daily Variety
23 Apr 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
6 May 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
27 Jun 1969
p. 5.
Daily Variety
28 Apr 1970
p. 3, 8.
Daily Variety
6 May 1970
p. 10.
Daily Variety
24 Jun 1970
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
26 Mar 1969
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
18 Mar 1969
Section G, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
26 May 1970
Section F, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
25 Jul 1970
Section A, p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
25 Mar 1971
Section G, p. 19.
New York Times
29 May 1970
p. 16.
New York Times
13 Dec 1970
p. 127.
Variety
23 Apr 1969
p. 24.
Variety
24 Jun 1970
p. 46.
Variety
29 Jul 1970
p. 3.
Variety
26 Aug 1970
p. 5.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Arthur P. Jacobs Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
2nd unit dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Scr
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam asst
Cam asst
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Creative makeup dsgn
Makeup supv
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Loc mgr
Scr supv
Art illus
Gaffer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by Pierre Boulle.
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Planet of the Apes Revisited
Release Date:
26 May 1970
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Los Angeles: 26 May 1970
Los Angeles opening: 26 May 1970
New York opening: 28 May 1970
Production Date:
began 14 April 1969
Copyright Claimant:
Apjac Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
31 December 1969
Copyright Number:
LP37952
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
95
MPAA Rating:
G
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
22273
SYNOPSIS

Taylor, an astronaut, has crash-landed on an unknown planet. Having escaped from his captors--uniformed gorillas on horseback--Taylor, accompanied by his mute female companion Nova, is riding on horseback over a wasteland, an area feared by the apes as the "forbidden zone," when he encounters the remnants of the Statue of Liberty, half buried in the sand, and he realizes that his twentieth-century world has been destroyed. Suddenly the earth splits before them, and Taylor vanishes into the rock formation after telling Nova to return to Zira, a scientist and one of the friendly apes who helped them escape. En route, Nova meets another astronaut, Brent, who has been sent to find Taylor, and takes him to Taylor's friends in the city of the apes. They are captured after learning that the militaristic apes plan to destroy the remaining life in the forbidden zone. Zira helps Brent and Nova escape into the forbidden zone, and there they stumble onto the subterranean ruins of New York City. The labyrinth is populated by human beings, fortieth-century mutations who conceal their disfigurations with masks, worship a live atom bomb, and communicate telepathically. Brent is captured, interrogated about the planned ape attack, and thrown into a cell with Taylor. Their guard orders them by telepathy to kill each other, but Nova interrupts the guard's thought, and in the ensuing respite, Taylor and Brent overpower the guard. Meanwhile, the apes attack the city, in spite of the mutants' attempts to repel them. Brent and Taylor try to prevent the detonation of the atom bomb, which they realize is a doomsday machine capable of destroying the world. Nova is killed, along with the mutants' leader. Taylor ... +


Taylor, an astronaut, has crash-landed on an unknown planet. Having escaped from his captors--uniformed gorillas on horseback--Taylor, accompanied by his mute female companion Nova, is riding on horseback over a wasteland, an area feared by the apes as the "forbidden zone," when he encounters the remnants of the Statue of Liberty, half buried in the sand, and he realizes that his twentieth-century world has been destroyed. Suddenly the earth splits before them, and Taylor vanishes into the rock formation after telling Nova to return to Zira, a scientist and one of the friendly apes who helped them escape. En route, Nova meets another astronaut, Brent, who has been sent to find Taylor, and takes him to Taylor's friends in the city of the apes. They are captured after learning that the militaristic apes plan to destroy the remaining life in the forbidden zone. Zira helps Brent and Nova escape into the forbidden zone, and there they stumble onto the subterranean ruins of New York City. The labyrinth is populated by human beings, fortieth-century mutations who conceal their disfigurations with masks, worship a live atom bomb, and communicate telepathically. Brent is captured, interrogated about the planned ape attack, and thrown into a cell with Taylor. Their guard orders them by telepathy to kill each other, but Nova interrupts the guard's thought, and in the ensuing respite, Taylor and Brent overpower the guard. Meanwhile, the apes attack the city, in spite of the mutants' attempts to repel them. Brent and Taylor try to prevent the detonation of the atom bomb, which they realize is a doomsday machine capable of destroying the world. Nova is killed, along with the mutants' leader. Taylor is shot; Brent is killed; and, seeing that the apes can easily win, Taylor presses the button which releases the bomb. +

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

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