Posts Tagged ‘the bomb’

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (Ted Post, 1970)

31 July 2008

Wooden sequel to Planet of the Apes, beginning where the last one left off: chimps Zira (Kim Hunter) and Cornelius (Roddy McDowall), orang utan Dr Zaius (Maurice Evans) and humans Tyler (Charlton Heston) and Nova (Linda Harrison) are on the beach and Tyler and Nova ride off to have the big revelation that explains why everyone speaks English: this is a post nuclear America. Cut to another crashed ship – some crew are presumably dead, Captain Maddox (Tod Andrews) is dying and Brent (James Franciscus) doesn’t have a hair out of place. They seem to have come looking for Taylor’s mission, although this would make no sense given the distances involved and the lack of any means of sending a mayday call. Brent goes a wandering and bumps into (small world) Nova, who can’t tell him where Taylor is because she can’t speak, but they travel together to witness an ape war council and to meet Zira and a strangely changed Cornelius (David Watson). We find out – in flash back – that Taylor vanished through a rock.

The gorillas want to annex the Forbidden Zone for more agriculture, and to liquidate more humans. This is going to tred on the toes of an odd sect who are protecting the area with telepathic special effects and who worship a nuclear missile in St Patrick’s Cathedral. (I must come back here when I’ve read Riddley Walker.) The sect with their masks doesn’t make sense, and their pacifism only allows them to force their enemies to kill each other (so that’s okay then) but if necessary they will use the missile. Taylor, noted hater of human and, more recently, apekind and no fan of the nuclear apocalypse, decides that he will set it off – although preumably Heston’s wish to kill the franchise is the real logic at work here.

Sequels are just retreads of the original with a bigger budget (although actually I believe this one was smaller. More apes, more humans, more apocalyptic special effects – but equally more confusion. Obviously we get the segregation of apes and treatment on humans as being a commentary on race and racism, but 1970 is surely a little late to credit someone as “Negro” in the cast.

The other point that stood out is when Zira is hiding Brent and Nova, blood is noticed on her face. Zira explains that Cornelius had struck her. This is accepted as fair enough. But then women here are simply to serve men and reproduce.