21 July 2013

Beneath the Planet of the Apes

Beneath the Planet of the Apes 1970
  • Director: Ted Post
  • Based on the novel by Pierre Boulle
  • Cast: Charleton Heston, Roddy McDowell, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, Linda Harrison, James Franciscus, Paul Richards, Victor Buono, James Gregory, Natalie Trundy
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor/actress in:
    • Charlton Heston – Hamlet, Soylent Green, El Cid, Ben Hur, Planet of the Apes
    • Roddy McDowell – Overboard, The Poseidon Adventure, Inside Daisy Clover, Cleopatra, The Longest Day
    • James Franciscus – old TV programs I suppose
    • Paul Richards - ditto
    • Victor Buono – ditto and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte
    • James Gregory - ditto
    • Natalie Trundy – ditto and the other Planet of the Apes sequels 
  • Why? Part of series
  • Seen: Once or twice back then. Now: July 19, 2013.

It’s hard to say if this one is sillier than the first one but at least they got rid of Charlton Heston for most of it.  It’s rather exciting at moments and it carries a kind of crude antiwar message which probably had more impact in 1970, the year of its release, when the US war in Vietnam was really heating up.
This is not the story of good vs. evil, it’s more evil vs. evil with the humans and simians alike obsessed with religious fanaticism and violence.
There are some rather intriguing concepts. The underground ruins of New York two thousand years after destruction is one. Another is mind control, but the moral of the story is murky and extremely pessimistic. It’s hard to see how they’re going to get a sequel out of this one!
In all, it’s somewhat better, if grimmer, than the first one.
Let’s say

2 1/3 * of 5

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