Planet of the Apes (1968) Poster


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During breaks in filming, actors made up as different ape species tended to hang out together, gorillas with gorillas, orangutans with orangutans, chimps with chimps. It wasn't required, it just naturally happened.
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.
All the ape actors and extras were required to wear their masks even during breaks and in between shots because it took so much time to make them up. Because of this, meals were liquefied and drunk through straws.
Charlton Heston was sick during much of the film with the flu. Rather than wait for him to get better, the producers felt that his hoarse voice added something to the character of Taylor. According to Heston's diary, after filming the scene where Taylor and Nova are forcibly separated, he wrote that he was feeling like hell while shooting because of his illness, and felt even worse "every time that damn fire hose hit me".
Producer Arthur P. Jacobs enlisted several journalists to play background apes. This was a clever way of ensuring that they would write about the film.
There were three other endings suggested for the film's climax, but the one favored by Charlton Heston ultimately won out.
(at around 1h 15 mins) The "See No Evil Hear No Evil" gag was entirely ad libbed on the set of the day of shooting. It was kept in because people found it amusing when the film was threatening to get too serious.
Turning down the part of Zira was one of Ingrid Bergman's greatest regrets. Much surprised at how well the finished film turned out, she later confided to her daughter Isabella Rossellini that in hindsight the film would have been an ideal opportunity for her to "disregard her regal bearing". She also regretted missing the opportunity of working with Charlton Heston.
In the original script, the female native humans were all bare breasted. This idea was quashed by Fox to appease censors.
Kim Hunter reportedly found the facial ape prosthetics so claustrophobic that she took a Valium each morning while being made up as Zira.
The sound effect of the rocket ship hurtling through the atmosphere of the ape planet and then landing in the lake is the exact same sound effect used for the Batmobile in motion from the TV show Batman (1966), also produced by 20th Century-Fox.
Allegedly, Jerry Goldsmith wore a gorilla mask while writing and conducting the score to "better get in touch with the movie." He also used a ram's horn in the process. The result was the first completely atonal score in a Hollywood movie.
(at around 1h) The movie's line "Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape." was voted as the #66 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
(at around 57 mins) In the scene at the Ape City natural history museum, a large claw of a strange animal can be seen prominently displayed several times on a pedestal at the top of the stairs. It is the plaster cast made of the foot of the monster that attacks the spaceship in Forbidden Planet (1956).
One of the first films to have a major large scale merchandising tie-in. Merchandise related to the film included toys and collectibles, action figures, picture and story books, trading card sets, books, records, comics and a series of graphic novels from Marvel Comics.
The apes don't make their first appearance until 30 minutes into the film.
It was a tough shoot for all concerned in the Arizona heat--not just for the actors in the ape make-up but also for Charlton Heston, who spends most of the film half-naked, being brutalized by the elements and the simians. As Heston noted in his autobiography, "Even rubber rocks hurt", so they should.
Linda Harrison, who plays Nova, was having an affair with producer Richard D. Zanuck at the time of production. In the year of the film's release, Zanuck divorced his first wife and married Harrison. The couple were married for nine years and had two children.
John Chambers' outstanding make-up effects pioneered in the film were based on a technique he had used during World War II to give disfigured veterans a normal appearance. Chambers spent many hours watching the apes at Los Angeles Zoo, studying their facial expressions. Several other productions were delayed due to the fact that many of Hollywood's top make-up artists were working on this film. Leftover make-up supplies were later used on Michael Conrad, playing an ape-like alien, in Lost in Space: Fugitives in Space (1968). The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave Chambers an Honorary Award for make-up (which was not an Oscar category until 1981) for this achievement, the second time that a make-up artist received an Academy Award--'William Tuttle' (qav) was the first, for 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964). Chambers' award was presented by Walter Matthau and a chimpanzee in a tuxedo.
Charlton Heston (Taylor) and Linda Harrison (Nova) are the only actors to appear in both this film and the remake, Planet of the Apes (2001).
Linda Harrison (Nova) was pregnant with producer Richard D. Zanuck's child and was starting to show towards the end of the shoot, which required careful posing on her part to conceal it.
There are no female gorillas or orangutans in the film.
In reality, Pierre Boulle thought his novel was his worst.
The actors in ape costume had to eat their lunch in front of a mirror so as to monitor any changes to their make-up. They also had to use straws for their drinks. Naturally, in those days, a lot of the actors were smokers too so they were all issued with cigarette holders. Kim Hunter found the whole experience so laborious that she eventually gave up eating when in full make-up.
During the hunt scene an unclothed Charlton Heston had to run through the poison oak undergrowth of Fox's Century Ranch.
Some of the discordant musical sounds were created by using stainless steel kitchen mixing bowls.
Early scenes in the movie where the spaceship crash-lands in the lake were filmed at Lake Powell, which is formed by a dam on the Colorado River on the Utah-Arizona border.
This film contains Charlton Heston's first nude scene.
The apes' village is modeled on the work of legendary Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí and the Göreme Valley in Cappadocia, Turkey.
The make-up team consisted of over 80 make-up artists.
Director Franklin J. Schaffner deliberately used odd, skewed angles and hand-held cameras to create a disorientating effect, much like what Charlton Heston's character experiences in this brave new world.
The heat in the desert scenes at the opening of the film proved so intense that many of the cast and crew fainted, including director Franklin J. Schaffner.
When Franklin J. Schaffner came on board as director, one of his first acts was to re-imagine the apes' society. In the script he was given, the apes lived in a hi-tech world. Schaffner wanted it to be more primitive (this also helped to significantly reduce costs).
The opening scene set on the space rocket was actually the very last scene to be filmed.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks preventing 20th Century-Fox from committing to the project was its fear over how the ape faces would appear on screen. Eventually they coughed up $5,000 for a test scene to be shot with Charlton Heston playing alongside the made-up Edward G. Robinson as Dr. Zaius and James Brolin as a character called Mr. Cornelius. The studio was very excited about the results of this test but still delayed green-lighting the film for a further six months. It was only after Fantastic Voyage (1966) became a hit and showed the viability of science-fiction as a genre that "Planet of the Apes" was given the go-ahead, but without Robinson, as he suffered from a weak heart and didn't think he could endure the day-to-day rigors of performing in the ape make-up.
Except for the beginning fade-in and ending fade-out and the lap dissolves in and out of the main credits, this film is edited entirely with cuts.
When adjusted for inflation, the movie holds the world record for the highest make-up budget (then £345,542), which represented about 17% of the total budget (£2 million).
The spaceship the astronauts crashland in was re-used in The Illustrated Man (1969), Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), and the short-lived TV series Planet of the Apes (1974).
(at around 11 mins) Shortly after the astronauts have crash-landed, Taylor is asked where he thinks they are; having no idea, he sarcastically responds, "We're some 320 light years from Earth on an unnamed planet in orbit around a star in the constellation of Orion." In the original novel the story takes place on a planet in orbit around the star Betelgeuse, which is in the constellation of Orion.
The fourth astronaut Stewart was originally written as a man.
Michael Wilson was brought in to do a rewrite of Rod Serling's screenplay. Wilson's contribution is most evident in the kangaroo courtroom scene, Wilson being an embittered target of the blacklisting Joseph McCarthy "witchhunts" of the 1950s.
At one of the first test screenings, a woman walked up to Charlton Heston and asked him how he was. Heston had no clue who she was until she revealed that she was Kim Hunter. He simply hadn't recognized her as he hadn't seen her outside of her ape make-up.
Filming lasted May 22-early August 1967 (copyright 1967). Due to the stifling summer heat, all four sequels were wisely shot during the winter months.
Charlton Heston was first exposed to Planet of the Apes (1968) when producer Arthur P. Jacobs sent him a copy of the novel. Heston was not impressed with the book but nevertheless sensed that it had the potential for an interesting film.
The first director to spot the potential in Pierre Boulle's novel was Blake Edwards. He brought on board leading sci-fi writer Rod Serling, who produced nearly 40 drafts of the screenplay. While Serling was able to come to grips with the structure, he gave full credit to Michael G. Wilson for the final screenplay.
Both Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter spent a lot of time at zoos studying the apes, McDowell at the San Diego Zoo and Hunter at the Bronx Zoo.
Two nine-foot statues of the Lawgiver were made. The original used in the first, second and fifth films ended up in Arthur P. Jacobs' back yard as the sole prop he kept from the movie. The other was given to Sammy Davis Jr. by Jacobs and was kept by him for many years. Jacobs kept the original Lawgiver statue in his backyard until his early and untimely death in 1973 at age 51. His widow, Natalie Trundy Jacobs, kept the statue in her backyard even as she moved residences. Several movie stars and celebrities can be found in photo archives standing next to the Lawgiver statue, including Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson, Kim Hunter, Andy Warhol and a pregnant Natalie Wood. In December of 1998, Natalie Trundy Jacobs sold the original Lawgiver statue through an online auction hosted by The Time Machine, a web-based memorabilia retailer dealing in photos and celebrity autographs. The winning bidder was an avid "Planet of the Apes" collector, Ed Gogin of Orange County, California, who outbid 20th Century-Fox, which wanted the Lawgiver statue for its archives and marketing purposes. In December of 2010 Gogin was featured in Hollywood Treasure: Joe's Judgment Day (2010) with his other "Apes" memorabilia. The copy of the Sammy Davis Lawgiver statue was sold at his IRS estate auction for the singer's unpaid back taxes to a Hollywood actor and friend of Roddy McDowall. This Lawgiver statue was featured in the 1998 AMC documentary, Behind the Planet of the Apes (1998), as part of AMC's 30 Year Anniversary campaign "Apes Go Classic".
Of the original five "Ape" films, this was the only one to show the Fox logo before the film, and the only one that doesn't feature Natalie Trundy (who plays three different parts in the other four).
The spaceship is inscribed with the acronym ANSA rather than NASA. The meaning of this in-joke is uncertain. The ship itself has been named by fans as the USS Icarus, after Greek mythology's ill-fated flight pioneer.
The rifles used by the apes are remodeled American M1 semi-automatic carbines, primarily used during World War II.
Ingrid Bergman regretted turning down the part of Zira, as it would have given her the opportunity to act without relying on her beauty.
Although it is widely believed that the budget for the ape make-up was $1 million, associate producer Mort Abrahams later revealed in an interview that the make-up was "more like half a million . . . but a million dollars made better publicity". Abrahams was certainly qualified to know, since his function was more as the active line producer through Planet of the Apes (1968) and Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970).
Producer Arthur P. Jacobs bought the rights to Pierre Boulle's novel before it was even published.
Although Charlton Heston's character is listed in the credits as "George Taylor", the name "George" is never seen or heard in the film. He is referred to only as "Taylor".
Charlton Heston was always producer Arthur P. Jacobs' first choice for the part of Taylor. Marlon Brando was considered as a back-up possibility.
(at around 39 mins) The famous quote "Human see, human do" is based on an old children song that goes, "When you clap, clap clap your hands,/The monkey claps, claps claps his hands. Monkey see, monkey do/Monkey do the same as you."
The water pool where the astronauts enjoy a swim was built on the Fox Ranch by producer Arthur P. Jacobs for his adaptation of Doctor Dolittle (1967).
The producers considered Ursula Andress, Raquel Welch and Angelique Pettyjohn for the role of Nova, but they were either unavailable or uninterested.
J. Lee Thompson was going to direct the movie, and co-owned the rights with producer Arthur P. Jacobs. He had to back out, though, as he was directing Mackenna's Gold (1969). At some point, Blake Edwards was considered for the job. Jacobs hand-picked Franklin J. Schaffner to direct, particularly after the recommendation of Charlton Heston, who had worked with Schaffner on The War Lord (1965). Thompson finally entered the "Apes" series in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) and returned for Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973).
Rod Taylor was considered for the role of George Taylor.
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Pierre Boulle's original novel also featured a twist ending, although slightly different from the film. The spacecraft crew does, in fact, land on another planet, some 350 light-years from Earth. The main character, Ulisse (Taylor in the film) escapes, from the ape authorities with Nova, and they return to Earth, after another 350 light-years, only to find that Earth has undergone the same evolution (it is therefore not that great a departure for the film to have set the story on Earth the whole time). The novel adds a further twist, however: Ulisse/Taylor's story has been told in flashback, after he and Nova fled Earth as well and left a message in a bottle floating through space to warn off anyone else who might stumble across either planet. The bottle is discovered by an old married couple named Jinn and Phyllis, who are later revealed to be chimpanzees themselves. They dismiss the story, saying that no human could be intelligent enough to write it.
There was an attempt by censors to have the final scene edited for profanity but Charlton Heston was able to argue that his character was actually asking God to damn those responsible for the destruction of the world to hell, rather than simply using the Lord's name in vain.
The final scene with Taylor coming across the Statue of Liberty was suggested by Rod Serling. According to rumor, Pierre Boulle was greatly upset by this ending, but later warmed to it, preferring this new ending over the very different ending he had written. The skeletal remains of the torch appear as "set decoration" in the final episode of Lost in Space: Junkyard of Space (1968).
In the novel, the ape society is technologically comparable to the 1950s or 1960s, with cities, automobiles, televisions, etc., technology left over from the planet's human population. However, the budget could not accommodate the setting, so a more primitive depiction of ape society was used.
The astronauts return to Earth, i.e., the planet of the apes, on 11/25/3978, which is a Saturday.
Given that Taylor and Nova travel for several days north up the coastline before discovering the remains of the Statue of Liberty, the story takes place in what was New Jersey.
The filming location of the classic final scene has been erroneously thought to be Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, but is in fact Malibu, California. For die-hard fans who want to visit the true location, it is a secluded cove on the far eastern end of Westward Beach, between Zuma Beach and Point Dume. Ignore the wide curving beach by the car park and clamber over the rocks to the east until you get to the quiet, often deserted, little beach surrounded by cliffs. (The Statue of Liberty was an optical effect skillfully achieved with a matte painting blended into a still existing rock structure.)
at around 50 mins) When Cornelius and Zira are showing Taylor the map of the Forbidden Zone, you can see that the coastlines on the map strongly resemble the current New York, New Jersey and Connecticut shorelines (once you take into consideration the 2000 years of a post-nuclear apocalyptic world's dramatic land mass shift). Although the Hudson and East rivers are gone, you can clearly identify on their map Long Island, Long Island Sound, Lower New York Bay, Staten Island and the Atlantic Ocean.
A subplot for the final passages of the film about Nova being pregnant was shot but discarded.
Some viewers claim that the windows of the Icarus, when viewed from inside at the beginning, resemble the eyes of the Statue of Liberty. When the Icarus is half submerged and tilted upwards, its shape resembles one of the points of Liberty's crown.

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