Planet Of The Apes, 1968-1974: a 'good' franchise?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Siegmund, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. Siegmund

    Siegmund Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Britain, Europe
    I'm only really familiar with the first four films ( Conquest....) but I though they were all good films. If the sequels didn't quite match up to the original (a tough call), they certainly didn't disgrace it.

    I found 'Beneath...' a little bit boring in places, but full of good ideas and interesting concepts.

    I like 'Escape....' somewhat more, not least because of the very clever way they thought up to extend the franchise. The government conspiracy angle is chilling and the way the mood of the film shifts is very well-managed. The downer ending does make me a bit angry, though. I presume that the 'bad guy' was meant to be a satire on Henry Kissinger?

    'Conquest....' I remember as another good, and unexpectedly violent film. You certainly root for the apes!

    'Battle..' I only saw once, when I was very young and I don't recall it that well. I remember enjoying it, but suspect time has not been kind to it.

    Roddy MacDowell was a tremendously charismatic lead figure for this series. He was also great in the sadly short-lived tv series (playing a 'same-but-different' character) which I saw before the film series.
  2. videoman

    videoman Forum Resident

    Lake Tahoe, NV
    My recollection (last time I watched them all was the mid 90s). is that it suffered from smaller and smaller budgets with each film. By the time you get to “Battle” you’re almost better off watching the TV series.
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  3. Texastoyz

    Texastoyz Forum Resident

    Texas, USA
    You bet your boots it was. The only way it suffered was that the budgets got smaller as they went on. The plots got larger in scope but Fox fearing another Dr. Doolittle sized disaster opted to keep a tight rein on the costs.They did the best they could and with the capable director J. Lee Thompson, they often succeeded.
  4. Trace

    Trace Senior Member

    Washington State
    I just bought this a few weeks ago.


    This has all 5 original movies, commentary, featurettes, etc. Looking forward to re-visiting them all in the near future, as soon as the weather starts turning for the worse. Should be great viewing for a stormy weekend.
  5. Shawn

    Shawn Forum Resident

    I think the first four films in the series are great (the 5th, eh), but as videoman mentions above, the budgets got smaller and smaller which certainly hurt the series.
  6. videoman

    videoman Forum Resident

    Lake Tahoe, NV
    Which is the one without McDowell? “Beneath”? It was weird that he was gone for one movie with someone else playing his character and then he comes back.

    I liked the first three. I thought the last two were plodding and dull. But YMMV.
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  7. Timeline Man

    Timeline Man Time Traveler from Naples

    In 2005, for a Yahoo Group I created (named "Apecalypse Now"), I wrote detailed timelines for the original pentalogy of the "Planet of the Apes" movies (1968-1973). I also wrote timelines for the alternate universe of the 1974's TV series and the Tim Burton universe.

    I launched a new POTA blog featuring my work - now finally revised and polished.
    I named the blog: Time Travelling on the Planet of the Apes.

    Hopefully you'll enjoy this. I will add more and more contents within weeks.

    Thank you so much.
  8. Jack Lord

    Jack Lord Forum Resident

    Washington, DC
    I like them all as well as the TV series.
  9. Timeline Man

    Timeline Man Time Traveler from Naples

    It was an excellent saga.

    BENEATH was a very bleak "sci-fi" epic story. Sure as hell, one of the best sequels in movie history. I like James Franciscus as lead, he was perfect.

    ESCAPE is my least favourite out of the 5 movies. Said that, it was a nice "drama" movie with some interesting themes underlying the main plot.

    CONQUEST was a beautiful sci-fi movie filled with memorable scenes.

    BATTLE was a terrific adventure movie, despite its smaller budget. It was the most "comic bookish" entry in the series. I would say this is my favourite movie right after BENEATH.

    Summing it up:

  10. apesfan

    apesfan Forum Resident

    Saw each Apes films as they were released. This series was incredibly popular in those years and as all things during 1967-74 such as music, art, film, politics it was of its time and very prescient also.

    Planet is always considered the best but Conquest was always my favorite. Bruce Surtees cinematography, Tom Scotts score -jazzy, primitive, militaristic, done with no more than a 15 piece band with no strings, the politics of J.Lee Thompson and Paul Dehn two Englishmen who understood American society and its politics more than most, and Roddy McDowall an actor that made the part of Caesar eternally memorable.
    Seeing this film on opening day at the Embassy Theatre at 46th street with a pristine film print was glorious. The window display with atleast one hundred lobby cards and poster configurations then walking down the hall with my father to the huge screen with that great opening with the bright red gorilla stage left with the rest joining him stage right with that great theme. Even then I had a peculiar feeling that their was a prolouge and soon after my suspicious mind was right along with an ending and some miscellaneous violence. The 2008 bluray is a Japanese theatrical release or should I say the seemeless branched riot is.
    The Phoenix Arizona version showed to gage the audience is what should be dug up and released on home video. Sound is a problem with all the Apes films as are the prints if they even are any prints left, Im sure Fox knows where the best elements are but as my personal history with engaging the video people has been "fustrating" to say the least. They were polite though.

    The home videos dont do it justice, maybe a 4k bluray with the rest of the series one day. The 50th anniversary of Pota 68 has passed unless Fox rationalized that they have till 2024 and the "Go Ape" 50th anniversary. Just hoping.
    I digress though, the Apes films have made billions how about a million to finally make a perfect original set, us original fans mostly over 55 might not have long to go.:help:
    With Fox or Disney ,wink wink, the future is precarious to say the least.
    Im writing this after a nap and the elections on my mind so forgive the platitudes. These films mean much to me and they deserve a final proper transfer for the ages. My order is
    Battle... Take care, John M.
  11. apesfan

    apesfan Forum Resident

    I remember your old site and was a member of the yahoo apes site run by James. I stopped visiting since if a member got political he was reprimanded. Amazing, you cant get political on a Planet of the Apes site. Rory, may he rest in piece, was a great font of simian knowledge and corrected me on more than one occasion.
    I preferred a more grown-up diatribe about the Apes influence on science fiction- its film and sound and technical issues, their music, cinematography, politics, and so forth. Nothing wrong with dolls and puzzles as the Apes films were revolutionary in that sector also but since I was a boy I liked more cerebral things along with poster/lobby card, and other exploitation aspects of film.
    Boy do I sound like an jackass. Im starting to wake-up and now seeing an orangutan on MsNBC and CNN. I want to go back to sleep. My wife went to vote and Ill probably go later. These times it seems are a very good time for the Apes films and what they represent. John M...
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  12. Siegmund

    Siegmund Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Britain, Europe

    I don't think the POTA franchise was ever about special effects (the make-up aside), it was more about concepts and storytelling. Even the first film was relatively cheap (the 'Ape City' was made into an adobe affair because the money just wasn't available) but if you have quality actors, writers, a good director and a good DP, you stand a good chance of making a good film.

    I'm presuming that the failure of Doctor Doolittle cast a cloud over Arthur P. Jacobs' reputation, which meant he had to work with increasingly smaller budgets - even though the franchise was always profitable? I always presume it ended with Battle...because he died?

    I'd forgotten that MacDowell wasn't in Beneath.....
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  13. Siegmund

    Siegmund Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Britain, Europe
    Great stuff! :)

    Interesting that POTA is not the automatic favourite of many people on here so far.

    I love Zira's line to Taylor: 'Alright, I'll kiss you - but you're so damned ugly!' (sic)
  14. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles

    It started out strong and ended up weak.
  15. Timeline Man

    Timeline Man Time Traveler from Naples


    I've heard that POTA has been originally scanned at 4K, restored and then downsampled to 2K for the (current) blu-ray release.
    I've also found an article about a company which did 4K scanning and restoration for ESCAPE.
    I guess all other POTA movies have been scanned at 4K and restored as well, so hold on.
  16. LitHum05

    LitHum05 El Disco es Cultura


    (Ha ha, that one never gets old).
  17. LitHum05

    LitHum05 El Disco es Cultura

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  18. Timeline Man

    Timeline Man Time Traveler from Naples

    Hahahah epic.
  19. The first film is a classic. A sharp, smart screenplay by Rod Serling and Michael Wilson (with some uncredited rewriting by a third person and, yes, they came up with the goofy Ape jokes like "I never met an ape I didn't like", "human see, human do", etc. some of which, while amusing, are really obvious) and terrific direction by Franklin J. Schaffner ("Patton", "The War Lord", "Papillion"). Heston embodies Taylor and his cynical attitude works perfectly for the film.

    The second film has some really good ideas but the smaller budget limited Ted Post to what he could do and caused the scale to be reduced. It's still a solid film.

    Escape turns the first film on its head with a very human heart but takes a very dark turn in the third act. Well made and holds up remarkably well.

    Conquest works very well even with an even smaller budget and the film being recut to reduce the violence in the film.

    Battle is one step below a mediocre TV movie with a very low budget and not much to make it worthwhile.

    The reboot by Tim Burton, despite terrific make up, is a horrible, horrible film.

    At least the films after that were pretty good. I'm waiting to see if they remake "Planet" again and if they do a decent job of it.

    "Planet" looks pretty good on Blu-ray although I would have expected a 4K this year but, given that it's a catalog title and older, I doubt Fox will give it it's due.

    My favs in order;

    Battle (even episodes of the TV series are better than Battle)

    Tim Burton reboot.
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  20. LitHum05

    LitHum05 El Disco es Cultura

    You forgot the excellent Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack.
  21. Yeah. Jerry was the MAN. I know John Williams gets lots of kudos and he got lots of Oscars but Goldsmith was a brilliant composer on the level of Bernard Herrmann. "Alien", "Planet", "Patton", "The Omen", "Chinatown"etc.
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  22. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    I thought Escape was well done.

    It was interesting because it was the opposite of a man in an ape's world.

    It was apes back in the present day human world.

    I thought it was an interesting contrast.
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  23. James Slattery

    James Slattery Forum Resident

    Long Island
    My friend and I when we went to see the last 3 films were amused at how the audience was rooting for the apes over the humans. Even as teenagers, we thought that was pretty stupid. And I'll never forget going to see the one time only showing on opening day of the last film, all 5 movies playing together. There were about 2000 people lined up to get into a theatre that sat around 1000. After they turned half the crowd away, they almost had a riot and someone smashed one of the theatre doors. After around an hour the crowd mostly dispersed. My friends and I had gotten dropped off by car and had no immediate way home so we hung around. Finally, the manager came out and there were some seats left and we wound up getting in in time for the 2nd movie but luckily they showed the first one again after the 5th. A fully day of apey goodness!
  24. apesfan

    apesfan Forum Resident

    Keeping hopes up thankyou...
    I heard the same that Escape and or Beneath got a 4k upgrade and Planet got a 2k resto some years ago but I dont think any of these upgrades were ever used, remember it was 2008 when the bluray and last upgrades for home video were done.
    The sound is problematic also in that the elements of Planet are in mono with no way of, in 2008, to seperate and use the original sound optical audio mix. The sound elements for the sequels have seperate music tracks hence the music only tracks on the 2008-09 mix which are not the original soundtrack mixes for cd/lp and thats good. The music only tracks contain much more and at times totally different recordings and orchestrations.
    Vidiot knows much about the laserdisc and most all the video history of Apes going back to Magnetic Video in 1979.

    Never has an asset been so terribly mistreated and so recklessly mishandled than the Apes original 5 films. Urban legends of stereo music and EFX stems were rampant pertaining to Pota 68 in that a friend of mine and myself met a spook at a Beatle fest in Connecticut that had knowledge of all five Apes films with stereo or usable seperation tracks.
    It never was proven but the Apes films when premiered on Hbo/Cinemax in the early 1990s had wonderfull sounding audio and great video. Some of the sequels got this great audio from the Playhouse Video release in 1985. Then when laserdiscs of Apes happened the audio and video was a disgrace. Fox did not give the transfer artists any elements that were worth a damn.
    A three way phone call ensued with Harry Pierson of Perfect Vision magazine, myself and Bart Pierce/Lewis Lagrone of Fox was a mystifying affair to say the least. Again Vidiot knows more technical details.
    I could go on forever. If my memory is off I apologize, John M.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
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  25. apesfan

    apesfan Forum Resident

    Checked your profile ,very interesting and similiar to many of my past events. I got a degree in Film and Writing for Mass Media but kept it all as a hobby to my mothers chagrin. Inherited her love and appreciation of music. She worked at CBS in the late 1950s given voice and music/piano lessons to many in film and tv. In her family are a few people with the surname of Rappaport (sp) meaning Jerry Goldsmith is something of a 5th cousin or so. My mom past away when I was finishing college so I missed the opportunity to find out more and learn more about family and her amazing teaching and piano ability. Im a mediocre piano player but better Oboe and Sax player.
    As usual writing all over the place. Take care, John..
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