“Planet of the Apes”, it’s a science fiction film of 1968 directed by Franklin J. Schaffner. The film, which is based on the novel “La Planète des Singes” by Pierre Boulle, tells the story of an American astronaut named George Taylor (played by Charlton Heston) who crashes his spacecraft on a mysterious planet inhabited by monkeys intelligent people who enslaved humans.
The film is known for its surprising and iconic ending, which has inspired many parodies and copycats. It is also regarded as a science fiction classic and a social commentary on humanity’s intolerance and ignorance.
The film’s success has led to a number of sequels, spin-offs and remakes, most recently the film franchise launched in 2011 with the film of the same name directed by Rupert Wyatt and starring James Franco. This new franchise was a critical and box office success.
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The plot of “Planet of the Apesfollows the adventures of American astronaut George Taylor, played by Charlton Heston, and his crew, who crash their spacecraft on a mysterious planet inhabited by intelligent apes.
Taylor soon discovers that, on this planet, humans are considered inferior animals and are forced to live in inhumane conditions. Monkeys, on the other hand, are the dominant race and have developed an advanced and organized civilization. Taylor tries to escape and find a way home, but is captured and taken to a city ruled by monkeys.
There he meets the ape scientist Zira, who helps him escape and introduces him to her male counterpart Cornelius, an ape archaeologist who has uncovered evidence pointing to the existence of an advanced human civilization before the arrival of the apes. Taylor tries to convince the apes that humans are not inferior animals and that they have a right to be treated like humans, but is thwarted by the apes’ prejudices and politics.
The film reaches its climax with the iconic ending, in which Taylor discovers that he is on Earth, in a post-apocalyptic future where humans have destroyed their civilization and have become ape-like themselves.
The film’s plot is a social commentary on humanity’s intolerance and ignorance, and has inspired many philosophical and scientific reflections on human nature and our capacity for self-destruction.
Here are some of the main characters from the film “Planet of the Apes”:
George Taylor, played by Charlton Heston, is an American astronaut who crashes his spacecraft on a mysterious planet inhabited by intelligent apes. He is the protagonist of the film and tries to escape from the monkeys and find a way back home.
Zira, played by Kim Hunter, is an ape scientist who befriends Taylor and helps him in his escape. He is one of the few apes who does not believe that humans are inferior animals and tries to convince his fellow apes to treat them as human beings.
Cornelius, played by Roddy McDowall, is an ape archaeologist and companion of Zira. He has uncovered evidence that there was an advanced human civilization before the arrival of the apes, but is thwarted by ape prejudices and politics.
Dr. Zaius, played by Maurice Evans, is the head of the monkey science commission and the main antagonist of the film. He believes humans are inferior animals and tries to stop Taylor from revealing the truth about advanced human civilization.
Nova, played by Linda Harrison, is a young human woman who joins Taylor in her escape. He doesn’t speak, but he becomes an important symbol of humanity in the film.
There are other supporting characters as well, such as the spaceship captain, Landon, another crew member, and several chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans who hold positions of power in the ape civilization.
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“Planet of the Apesis a 1968 film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and produced by Arthur P. Jacobs. It is based on the 1963 novel “The Ape from the Planet of the Apes” by Pierre Boulle.
The production of the film was quite troubled and there were several difficulties in finding a director and actors who wanted to participate in the project. Initially, the director chosen was Blake Edwards, but his comedic style did not fit producer Jacobs’ vision. After a series of failed attempts, Jacobs found the right director in Schaffner for the project.
For the role of George Taylor, the producer contacted several Hollywood actors, including Burt Lancaster, James Garner and Marlon Brando. Eventually, the role was awarded to Charlton Heston, who had already played other strong and adventurous characters in films such as ‘Ben-Hur’ and ‘The Ten Commandments’.
The production of the film was also demanding in terms of creating the special effects and costumes of the monkeys. The costumes were designed by Morton Haack and made by 20th Century Fox. It took many hours to make up the actors into believable apes on the screen.
Despite the difficulties, the film was a critical and commercial success and became a science fiction classic. It inspired several sequences and remakes, including a television series in the 1970s, a reboot in 2001, and a trilogy of prequels between 2011 and 2017.
Distribution and Reception
“Planet of the Apeswas first released in the United States on April 3, 1968 by 20th Century Fox. The film was a huge box office success and earned over $33 million worldwide.
Critics received the film positively, praising the direction, special effects and plot. In particular, Charlton Heston’s performance was praised for its intensity and his ability to carry the film’s message forward. The monkeys’ costumes and makeup were also praised for their lifelikeness.
“Planet of the Apeswon the Academy Award for Best Costume Design and received a nomination for Best Original Score.
The film had a great cultural impact and inspired several sequels, remakes and adaptations. His iconic final scene, with the discovery thatPlanet of the Apes was actually the Earth of the future, has become one of the most famous of the cinema history.
Furthermore, the film addressed important issues such as racism, discrimination and evolution, giving rise to a cultural debate that has also developed outside the world of cinema.
“Planet of the Apes” is a science fiction film that features a dystopian and apocalyptic style, with strong political and social overtones.
Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner is characterized by the use of spectacular and panoramic shots, which emphasize the vastness of the environments and the solitude of the characters. Furthermore, Schaffner exploits the special effects to create a surreal and alienating atmosphere, which refers to the idea of an unknown and disturbing world.
The cinematography of the film, curated by Leon Shamroy, features a wide range of colors and a light that alternates dark and disturbing moments with other brighter and reassuring ones.
The film also presents itself as a political and social work, addressing issues such as racism, discrimination and violence. The representation of monkeys as superior beings and humans as inferior and primitive beings refers to the question of the relationship between the different races and the power relations that are established in a divided and conflicting society.
Finally, Jerry Goldsmith’s soundtrack helps to amplify the film’s dramatic atmosphere, with the use of unusual musical instruments and the alternation of moments of tension and quiet.
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The director of “Planet of the Apes” is Franklin J. Schaffner, born in 1920 and died in 1989. Schaffner was a very well known American director, who directed several successful films in his career.
Schaffner began his career as a theater director, working on Broadway and also winning a Tony Award for his direction of Edward Albee’s “A Delicate Balance.” Later, he moved to Hollywood and began directing films for the big screen.
Among his most famous films, in addition to “Planet of the Apes”, there are “Patton, General of Steel” from 1970, for which he won the Oscar for best director, and “Papillon” from 1973, with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.
Schaffner has been recognized as a highly versatile director, capable of adapting to different film genres and handling large productions with skill and creativity. He has also worked as an executive producer on a few films and directed several television films as well.
With “Planet of the Apes”, Schaffner has created a work of great cultural and social impact, which has inspired numerous generations of filmmakers and movie buffs.