Cast & Crew
Franklin J. Schaffner
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.
Franklin J. Schaffner
Norma Jean Kron
L. B. Abbott
Hugh S. Fowler
Glen Harmon Jr.
Arthur P. Jacobs
Emil Kosa Jr.
Walter M. Scott
Jack Martin Smith
Best Costume Design
Planet of the Apes
American producer Arthur P. Jacobs was among the first to see the cinematic potential of French novelist Pierre Boulle's 1963 satire La planète des singes, published in 1964 in English as Monkey Planet. Author of the source novel for David Lean's acclaimed wartime adventure The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), for which he had recalled his experiences as a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II, Boulle plumbed those memories of time spent in a cage to inform this wildly divergent follow-up, which posited a dystopian future with intelligent simians in the catbird seat until a 20th Century astronaut appears, An American Yankee in King Arthur's Court-style, to screw up the Bell curve. Though Fox had resisted Jacobs' pitch initially, the studio ultimately relented, allowing him to pay Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling to bang out a screenplay. (Serling's involvement predated that of Jacobs, who had bought the option from Pink Panther director Blake Edwards and replaced him with Franklin J. Schaffner.) Faithful to Boulle's vision of a technically superior ape world, Serling's script was deemed too expensive and rewritten by Bridge on the River Kwai alumnus Michael Wilson, who recast the plot in a quasi-primitive, more cost effective setting. Script doctor John T. Kelley was brought in to brush up dialogue; though he went uncredited, the finished film ended with one of Kelley's contributions, at the time the most profane epitaph ever spoken by the protagonist of a Hollywood feature.
On board early in the genesis of Planet of the Apes was Charlton Heston, who signed on after Marlon Brando, Burt Lancaster, Paul Newman, Jack Lemmon, and Rock Hudson passed on the project - no doubt skittish about starring in a feature reliant on potentially risible monkey makeup. To sell the concept to Fox, Heston agreed to the shooting of a screen test, in which he played human astronaut Thomas (later Taylor) alongside Edward G. Robinson, sporting a prototype of John Chambers' soon-to-be-immortal ape makeup, as orangutan antagonist Dr. Zaius. However make-do the makeup may seem to modern eyes, the test was persuasive and Planet of the Apes went before the cameras in May 1967, with Maurice Evans playing Zaius (Robinson having demurred due to age) and with Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter added to the cast as chimpanzee scientists sympathetic to the plight of Heston's displaced voyager. (Though Jacobs had attempted to snag both Raquel Welch and Ursula Andress to play Nova, a 26th Century human primitive who becomes Heston's mute companion and helpmeet, he eventually filled the role with Fox president Richard Zanuck's girlfriend, Linda Harrison.) The timing of the film's spring 1968 release could not have been more providential, laying in the lap of American moviegoers a parable about race relations only a week before the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King.
Its trendsetting makeup (and Jerry Goldsmith's Oscar nominated score) notwithstanding, Planet of the Apes endured in pop culture thanks to the bleakness of its final frames, which reveal Heston to have landed not on some alien terra but on earth itself, long ago laid waste by atomic war and repopulated in the absence of "something better than man" by the species' simian forebears (a plot point, it bears mentioning, first broached in a throwaway line from Robert Sherwood's 1935 play The Petrified Forest). The film's use of the Statue of Liberty, glimpsed as a mossy Ozymandian ruin, was original not to Boulle but to a Serling draft while the employment of this image as (to quote writer David Holowka) a "dipstick of the Apocalypse" could be found in previous years on the covers of Amazing Stories, Astounding Science Fiction, Fantastic Universe, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, as well as gracing the frontispiece of John Bowen's 1958 cataclysmic chronicle After the Rain. In the near half century since Planet of the Apes, the New York landmark has been laid low in similar fashion in such films as Independence Day (1996), Deep Impact (1998), A.I. (2001), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), Children of Men (2006), and Cloverfield (2008), which sends the statue's severed head rolling through midtown Manhattan - proving, if nothing else, Planet of the Apes' stinging moral that what goes around sure does come around.
By Richard Harland Smith
Planet of the Apes Revisited: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of the Classic Science Fiction Saga by Joe Russo and Larry Landsman, with Edward Gross (MacMillian, 2001)
Timeline of the Planet of the Apes: The Definitive Chronology by Rich Handley (Hasslein Books, 2009)
Planet of the Apes as American Myth: Race and Politics in the Films and Television Series by Eric Greene (McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 1996)
ArchiTakes: On Architecture in New York and Beyond, www.architakes.com
Robert Altman: Jumping Off the Cliff by Patrick McGilligan (MacMillan, 1989)
Planet of the Apes
TCM Remembers - Kim Hunter
KIM HUNTER, 1922-2002
Kim Hunter, the versatile, distinguished actress who won the Supporting Actress Academy Award for her portrayal as the long-suffering Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and appeared as Dr. Zira in three Planet of the Apes movies, died in her Greenwich Village apartment from an apparent heart attack on September 11, 2002. She was 79.
Born Janet Cole in Detroit on November 12, 1922, where her mother was a concert pianist, she made her professional debut at 17 with a small theatre company in Miami. She gained notice immediately with her strong voice and alluring presence, and eventually studied at the Actors' Studio in New York.
She made a striking film debut in an eerie, low-budget RKO horror film, The Seventh Victim (1943), produced by Val Lewton. She played a similar ingenue role in another stylish cult flick, When Strangers Meet (1944) - a film directed by William Castle and notable for featuring Robert Mitchum in one of his first starring roles. Hunter's big break came two years later when Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger cast her in their splendid romantic fantasy, Stairway to Heaven (1946).
Despite her growing popularity as a screen actress, Hunter returned to the stage to make her Broadway debut as Stella in Tennessee Williams'A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). When Elia Kazan adapted the production for the silver screen, she continued her role as Stella opposite Marlon Brando, and won an Oscar as best supporting actress. A few more film roles followed, but sadly her screen career entered a lull in the late 1950s, after Hunter, a liberal Democrat, was listed as a communist sympathizer by Red Channels, a red-hunting booklet that influenced hiring by studios and the Television networks. Kim was blacklisted from both mediums despite never having been labeled a Communist, yet as a strong believer in civil rights she signed a lot of petitions and was a sponsor of a 1949 World Peace Conference in New York. She was widely praised in the industry for her testimony to the New York Supreme Court in 1962 against the publishers of Red Channels, and helped pave the way for clearance of many performers unjustly accused of Communist associations.
Hunter spent the next few years on the stage and didn't make a strong impression again in films until she was cast as Dr. Zira in the Planet of the Apes (1968), as a simian psychiatrist in the classic science fiction film. The success of that film encouraged her to continue playing the same character in two back-to-back sequels - Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) and Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971). Hunter spent the remainder of her career on the stage and television, but she a terrific cameo role in Clint Eastwood's Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil (1997), one of her last films. She is survived by her daughter Kathryn, from her first marriage to William Baldwin, and her son Sean, from her marriage to actor and producer Robert Emmett.
By Michael T. Toole
TCM REMEMBERS J. LEE THOMPSON, 1914 - 2002
Oscar-nominated director J. Lee Thompson died August 30th at the age of 88. Though he worked in several genres, Thompson was best-known for his action films. Thompson was born in Bristol England on August 1, 1914. After graduating from college he became a playwright and it was the appearance of one of his plays on London's famous West End that got him noticed by the British film studio, Elstree. His first filmed script was The Pride of Folly in 1937 and others appeared sporadically until his career was side-tracked during the war when Thompson served in the RAF as a B-29 tail gunner. (He also reportedly worked as a dialogue coach on Hitchcock's Jamaica Inn, 1939.) Thompson's directorial debut came in 1950 when he adapted his own play Double Error to the screen as Murder Without Crime. Throughout the decade he directed a variety of dramas and comedies until hitting it big in 1958 with Ice Cold in Alex (released in the US minus 50 minutes under the title Desert Attack). It was nominated for three BAFTAs and was enough of a commercial success that Thompson landed the film that made his career: The Guns of Navarone (1961). This enormous international hit snagged Thompson an Oscar nomination for Best Director. He immediately followed that with the original Cape Fear (1962) and his reputation was set. Though Thompson remained active almost three more decades he didn't reach that level again. He worked on Westerns (Mackenna's Gold, 1969), horror films (Eye of the Devil, 1967), literary adaptations (Huckleberry Finn, 1974) and others. During this time, Thompson directed two Planet of the Apes sequels but was kept most busy working with Charles Bronson, for whom he directed nine films. Thompson's last film was in 1989.
KATRIN CARTLIDGE, 1961 - 2002
The news of actress Katrin Cartlidge's death at the age of 41 has come as a shock. It's not just the age but the thought that even though Cartlidge was already a major actress--despite a slender filmography--she held out the promise of even greater work, a promise that so few artists of any type can make. "Fearless" is perhaps the word most often used to describe Cartlidge but emotions are never enough for an actor; much more is required. Director Mike Leigh said she had "the objective eye of an artist" while remarking on her "her deep-seated suspicion of all forms of woolly thinking and received ideas."
Cartlidge was born in London on May 15, 1961. Her first acting work was on the stage, in tiny independent theatres before she was selected by Peter Gill for the National Theatre. Cartlidge also worked as a dresser at the Royal Court where she later made one of her final stage appearances. She began appearing in the popular British TV series Brookside before making her first film in 1985, Sacred Hearts. A small role in the Robbie Coltrane-Rik Mayall vehicle Eat the Rich (1987) followed before Cartlidge had her first leading role in Mike Leigh's scathing Naked (1993).
Cartlidge never took a safe approach in her films. She told The Guardian that "I try to work with film-makers who I feel will produce something original, revealing and provoking. If something provokes a reaction, it's well worth doing." You can see this in her choice of projects. Before the Rain (1994) dramatized violence in Macedonia in the wake of the Yugoslavian break-up and made Cartlidge something of a star in the area. She appeared in Lars Von Trier's controversial look at redemption, Breaking the Waves (1996), Leigh's sharply detailed story of aging friends Career Girls (1997), as one of Jack the Ripper's victims in From Hell (2001), as a call girl trying to leave the business in Clair Dolan (1998) and in the Oscar-winning film about Bosnia-Herzegovina, No Man's Land (2001). Her last work included a BBC adaptation of Crime and Punishment (2002), playing Salvador Dali's wife Gala in the BBC comedy-drama Surrealissimo (2002) and an appearance in Rosanna Arquette's directorial debut, Searching for Debra Winger (also 2002), a documentary about women in the film industry.
Cartlidge died September 7th from septicaemia brought on by pneumonia.
By Lang Thompson
TCM Remembers - Kim Hunter
Remake - Planet of the Apes
The story behind this new version stretches all the way back to 1993 when the film first attracted interest as a possible remake. Oliver Stone was co-producing and Arnold Schwarzenegger was tentatively set to star with Philip Noyce (Patriot Games, 1982) directing. This delicate set-up soon collapsed. Over the remaining years there were a variety of people considered for the project: For director, Stone himself, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Chris Columbus, Robert Rodriguez; For writer, Sam Hamm (Batman, 1989), Graham Yost (Speed, 1994); For stars, Ben Affleck, Ben Kingsley, Gary Oldman, Johnny Depp. These names come from reports in trade papers or reliable sources but with such constant change they may have been little more than temporary considerations.
The people who actually made the remake came together in Spring of 2000. That's when the chaos finally settled into Tim Burton directing and Mark Wahlberg starring with key roles of apes going to Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Roth and Michael Clarke Duncan. One unusual choice is Kris Kristofferson as a human rebel. (Oddly enough Wahlberg is doing another remake immediately after Planet, this time of Charade). Filming started last November and took place in L.A., Arizona, Australia and Hawaii. The budget is rumored to be in the $100 million range (as compared to $5 million for the original). Though the story's broad outline is known, the details have been kept tightly guarded with only comments that the film isn't so much a strict remake as a rethinking of the original series. And what about the famous ending of the original? Supposedly Burton and company have avoided that entirely and instead filmed six different endings to confuse any spies or leaks. Linda Harrison, who appeared in the first two original films in the series, says on her website that she's doing a cameo in the new one. There are also unconfirmed rumors of cameos by George Clooney and Spike Jonze (Wahlberg's co-stars in Three Kings and apparently real-life friends). We do know that you can spot Burton regulars Glenn Shadix and Lisa Marie.
You might be curious about Charlton Heston, star of the original film. Reports have been sometimes yes and sometimes no about whether he would appear in the remake, supposedly as an ape this time around. Heston apparently did a make up test and was only able to commit to one day's work. Still, he's not currently listed in the cast but who knows what surprises await?
Remake - Planet of the Apes
You know the saying, "Human see, human do."- Julius
I'm a seeker too. But my dreams aren't like yours. I can't help thinking that somewhere in the universe there has to be something better than man. Has to be.- George Taylor
Imagine me needing someone. Back on Earth I never did. Oh, there were women. Lots of women. Lots of love-making but no love. You see, that was the kind of world we'd made. So I left, because there was no one to hold me there.- George Taylor
It's a mad house. A mad house.- George Taylor
Doctor, I'd like to kiss you goodbye.- George Taylor
All right, but you're so damned ugly.- Dr. Zira
Edward G. Robinson was the original choice for the role of Dr. Zaius, and actually filmed a test scene with Charlton Heston to prove to the executives at Fox that make-up could be used to create believable simians. However, Robinson suffered from a weak heart and didn't think he could endure the day-to-day rigors of performing in the ape make-up. He and Heston had previously teamed up in The Ten Commandments (1956) and would do so again in Soylent Green (1973).
During breaks in filming, actors made up as different ape species tended to hang out together--- gorillas with gorillas, orangutans with orangutans, chimps with chimps. It wasn't required, it just naturally happened.
There is a resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico that claims that final scene ("Damn you!") was filmed on their beach. This is not true. According to a recent documentary, the scene was filmed on Zuma Beach in Southern California.
In the novel, the apes are technologically very advanced. However, the budget could not accommodate the visual scope and magnitude of such a futuristic society, so a more primitive depiction of ape society was used.
Although Charlton Heston's character is listed in the credits as 'George Taylor', the name 'George' is never seen or heard in the film. He is referred to only as 'Taylor'.
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 November 1964, according to an November 8, 1964 New York Times news item. On March 10, 1965, Daily Variety 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 October 17, 1966, Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety announced that the film would be a joint venture between Jacobs' independent production company, Apjac Productions, and Twentieth Century-Fox. Although a October 24, 1966 Hollywood Reporter 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 June 25, 1967 Los Angeles Times 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 June 1967 Hollywood Citizen-News article. According to the Hollywood Citizen-News article, no actor was permitted to leave the set while in makeup. A June 15, 1967 Daily Variety article reported that no publicity stills of the sets or actors would be distributed until the film's release. The Daily Variety article added that it took three to four hours to apply the ape makeup, with another hour required to remove it. The June 25, 1967 Los Angeles Times 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, 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, 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 Daily Variety 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.
Released in United States Winter February 1968
Re-released on video in USA August 11, 1998.
1998 Video re-release is restored, remastered, and THX certified.
Released in USA on video.
Selected in 2001 for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.
Released in United States Winter February 1968
Voted One of the Year's Ten Best English-language Films by the 1968 National Board of Review.