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Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes(1968)

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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 plante 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.