STARRING: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly, Linda Harrison, Robert Gunner, Lou Wagner, Woodrow Parfrey, Jeff Burton, Buck Kartalian, Norman Burton, Wright King and Paul Lambert
EARNED (Worldwide): $32.5m
AWARDS: None (2 Oscar Nominations for Best Costume Design and Best Original Score)
An astronaut crew crash lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved.
It’s the year 3978, a spaceship with four crew members crashes down on a planet. One of the crew members dead, the other three make their way out to explore the planet where they soon learn that they’re not alone as the planet is inhabited by intelligent apes.
Even though the film has been parodied to death over four decades and the ending has been spoiled to the point that it’s the cover of the DVD/Blu Ray packages, Planet of the Apes is still a really well put together film, even though dated by now. After all, we’ve come along from rubber ape suits and makeup to the CGI technologically we have now for the last few Planet of the Apes films. The films opening thirty minutes for example has some of the most beautifully shot cinematography in cinema thanks in part to Leon Shamroy and Schaffner’s direction. The ape’s dialogue of cliches about humans (‘human see, human do’ for example) actually add to the films everlasting charm and the script’s dialogue and themes actually still feel relevant today. Of course the film primarily rests on Charlton Heston’s performance as the cynic Taylor who leaves Earth because of his despise for mankind as a whole, making him somewhat unlikable to some in the films first act before the apes appear.
FAVOURITE SCENE: The films reveal in the final scene.
FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!’ – George Taylor
DID YOU KNOW?: Roddy McDowall, an experienced actor, recommended to his companions in makeup that they should frequently add tics, blinks and assorted facial gestures to add a sense of realism and keep the makeup from appearing “mask-like”. McDowall reportedly became a merry prankster with the makeup, driving home with his make-up on, and shocking some of the other drivers on the freeway.