|Planet of the Apes|
|Riffed by||RiffTrax Presents|
|Riffers||Matthew J. Elliott|
|Date Released||September 1, 2009|
Planet of the Apes is a 1968 American science fiction film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner. The screenplay by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling was based on the 1963 French novel La Planète des singes by Pierre Boulle. The film stars Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Maurice Evans, Kim Hunter, James Whitmore, James Daly, and Linda Harrison. It was the first in a series of five films made between 1968 and 1973, all produced by Arthur P. Jacobs and released by 20th Century Fox. The film tells the story of an astronaut crew who crash-land on a strange planet in the distant future. Although the planet appears desolate at first, the surviving crew members stumble upon a society in which apes have evolved into creatures with human-like intelligence and speech. The apes have assumed the role of the dominant species and humans are mute creatures wearing animal skins.
Astronauts George Taylor (Charlton Heston), John Landon (Robert Gunner), Dodge (Jeff Burton) and Lieutenant Stewart (Dianne Stanley, uncredited) are in deep hibernation when their spaceship crashes in a lake on an unknown planet after a long near-light speed voyage, during which, due to time dilation, the crew ages only 18 months. As the ship sinks, Taylor finds Stewart dead and her body desiccated. They throw an inflatable raft from the ship, and climb down into it; before departing the ship, Taylor notes that the current year is 3978 AD, 2,006 years after their departure. Once ashore Dodge performs a soil test and pronounces the soil incapable of sustaining life.
After abandoning their raft, the astronauts set off through a desert. Eventually, they encounter plant life. They find an oasis at the edge of the desert and decide to go swimming, ignoring strange and eerie scarecrow-like figures. While they are swimming, their clothes are stolen. Pursuing the thieves, the astronauts find their clothes torn to shreds, their supplies pillaged and the perpetrators — a group of mute, primitive humans dressed in torn clothes — contentedly raiding a cornfield. Taylor is attracted to one of the humans, whom he later names Nova (Linda Harrison).
Suddenly, armed, uniformed gorillas on horseback charge through the cornfield, brandishing firearms, snares, and nets. They capture some humans and kill the rest. Dodge is shot in the back and killed. Landon is wounded and rendered unconscious. Taylor is shot in the throat. The gorillas take Taylor to Ape City, where his life is saved after a blood transfusion by two chimpanzees, an animal psychologist Zira (Kim Hunter) and surgeon Galen (Wright King). While his wound is healing, he is unable to speak.
Taylor discovers that the various apes, who can talk and are in control, are in a strict caste system: gorillas are the police, military, hunters and workers; orangutans are administrators, politicians, lawyers and priests; and chimpanzees are intellectuals and scientists. Humans, who are believed by the apes to be unable to talk, are considered vermin and are hunted; either killed outright, enslaved, or used in scientific experiments.
Zira and her fiancé, Cornelius (Roddy McDowall), an archaeologist, take an interest in Taylor, whom Zira has named "Bright Eyes". Taylor attempts to communicate by writing in the dirt, but Nova, who has been following him around, attempts to destroy his writing with her hands. The letters she doesn't destroy are obliterated by Zira's and Cornelius's superior, an orangutan named Dr. Zaius (Maurice Evans). Back in his cage, Taylor steals Zira's pencil and notebook and uses it to write the message: My name is Taylor. Zira and Cornelius become convinced that Taylor is intelligent, but upon learning of this, Dr. Zaius orders that Taylor be castrated.
Taylor manages to escape and during his flight through Ape City finds himself in a museum, where Dodge's stuffed and eyeless corpse is now on display. When Taylor is recaptured by gorillas, he overcomes his injured throat, and roars one of the film's most famous lines, "Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!"
A tribunal to determine Taylor's origins is convened by the president of the Assembly (James Whitmore), Dr. Zaius, and Dr. Maximus (Woodrow Parfrey). Dr. Honorious (James Daly) is the prosecutor. Taylor mentions his two comrades. The court produces Landon, who has been subjected to a lobotomy that has rendered him catatonic, and unable to speak.
After the tribunal, Dr. Zaius privately threatens to lobotomize Taylor if he does not tell the truth about where he came from. With help from Zira's socially-rebellious nephew Lucius (Lou Wagner), Zira and Cornelius free Taylor and Nova and take them to the Forbidden Zone, a taboo region outside Ape City that has been out of bounds for centuries by Ape law. A year earlier, Cornelius led an expedition into the Forbidden Zone that found a cave containing artifacts of an earlier non-simian (believed-to-be human) civilization. The group sets out for the cave to answer questions Taylor has about the evolution of the ape world and to prove he is not of that world.
Arriving at the cave, Cornelius is intercepted by Dr. Zaius and his soldiers. Taylor, now armed, holds them at bay, threatening to shoot them if necessary. Zaius agrees to enter the cave to disprove their theories and to avoid physical harm to Cornelius and Zira. Cornelius displays the remnants of a technologically advanced human society pre-dating simian history. Taylor identifies artifacts such as dentures, eyeglasses, a heart valve and, to the apes' astonishment, a talking children's doll. More soldiers appear and Lucius is overpowered, but Taylor again fends them off.
Dr. Zaius is held hostage so Taylor can escape, but admits to Taylor that he has always known that a human civilization existed long before apes ruled the planet, and that "the Forbidden Zone was once a paradise, [man] made a desert of it… ages ago!" Taylor is skeptical, and prepares to search for answers, but Dr. Zaius warns him that he may not like what he finds. Once Taylor and Nova have ridden off on horseback, Dr. Zaius has the gorillas lay explosives to seal off the cave and destroy the remaining evidence of the human society. He has Zira, Cornelius and Lucius charged with heresy.
Taylor and Nova, at last free, follow the shoreline and eventually discover the beach-covered remains of the Statue of Liberty, revealing that this "alien" planet is actually post-apocalyptic Earth. Taylor dismounts the horse, and falls to his knees in despair and anger, condemning humanity for destroying the world.
Cast and CrewEdit
- Charlton Heston as George Taylor
- Roddy McDowall as Cornelius
- Kim Hunter as Zira
- Maurice Evans as Dr. Zaius
- James Whitmore as President of the Assembly
- James Daly as Honorious
- Linda Harrison as Nova
- Robert Gunner as Landon
- Lou Wagner as Lucius
- Woodrow Parfrey as Maximus
- Jeff Burton as Dodge
- Buck Kartalian as Julius
- Norman Burton as Hunt Leader
- Wright King as Dr. Galen
- Paul Lambert as Minister
- Dianne Stanley as Stewart