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Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Planet Of The Apes (1968)

Starring Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore
Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

In the distant future, a team of astronauts crash land on an alien world where apes are the dominant species, and humans are treated as dumb animals.

A landmark film in many respects, this well-known science fiction picture ushered in numerous sequels and a television series, and recent remakes have pushed the concept forward in new directions with more elaborate makeups and cutting-edge special effects.  But the impact of the original is still potent, with John Chambers' ape makeup designs holding up well, and the notion of an ape society that closely mirrors our own at the forefront.  With that emphasis on ideas, and its famous twist ending, the film almost plays like a big-budget episode of The Twilight Zone, and non-coincidentally Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling collaborated on the screenplay.  Heston's entertaining performance, though it seems a trifle barbaric today, is without doubt a key part of the film's long staying power.

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