In the year 1991, seven years after the death of Cornelius and Dr. Zira, apes have gradually attained the beginnings of the sentience displayed by the displaced apes from the future, only to become the slaves of humanity. While the subservient apes are viewed as a convenience by those who don’t want to perform menial tasks, they have relieved many humans of low-paying jobs and a virtual police state has arisen to deal with the resulting security issues among both species. The child of Cornelius and Zira, has been secretly harbored and raised by circus ringmaster Armando. In public, they still pretend to be human master and simian slave, and his ability to speak and read is carefully kept secret; any indication of this kind of intelligence could doom the evolving ape race, as the government still intends to prevent the rise of ape-kind (and the subsequent fall of man) at all costs. Still, it is known that the child of Cornelius and Zira survived the parents’ deaths, and Armando is still suspected of hiding the child years later – and maintains his innocence and ignorance of the accusations. But that changes when Armando’s charge is unable to contain his disgust at the mistreatment of an ape a pro-human-labor demonstration, shouting “Lousy human bastards!” Armando covers for him and is taken into custody for disturbing the peace. Left alone, Armando’s ape is taken in and becomes just another part of the ape slave trade, this time for real. He witnesses first-hand the torturous conditioning to which his fellow apes are subjected, but he keeps his intelligence hidden, even after he is sold at auction to Governor Breck, who has Armando in custody. Breck amuses himself by allowing the ape to name himself by pointing to a random word in a book; the name he picks for himself is Caesar.
Armando isn’t exactly treated gently either, as his interrogation by Breck’s men becomes more brutal. Finally, faced with the authenticator – a lie detector which will reveal that he was covering for Caesar all along – Armando leaps out of a skyscraper window to his death. This is the last straw for Caesar; he has already been organizing a campaign of deliberate disobedience and property destruction. But with Armando’s death, Caesar rallies the ape slave population toward a more violent form of revolt. Caesar himself is captured and tortured, but he has left an impression on a member of Breck’s staff, who helps him fake his own death and escape. Surviving his “execution” at the hands of Breck’s Ape Management bureau gives Caesar’s followers the push they need: the real revolt begins in earnest, and Ape Management is the first agency to fall. An armed response from the governor’s troops only incites more violence, and Caesar leads his brethren into battle. The overwhelmed human police forces are but the first casualties in an all-out massacre; they’re expecting barely-domesticated animals who will scatter at loud noises, not an organized fighting force. But is the last night of humanity’s rule of the Earth simply going to start the countdown to the inevitable end of the apes?
Cast: Roddy McDowall (Caesar), Don Murray (Breck), Natalie Trundy (Lisa), Hari Rhodes (MacDonald), Ricardo Montalban (Armando), Severn Darden (Kolp), Lou Wagner (Busboy), John Randolph (Commission Chairman), Asa Maynor (Mrs. Riley), H.M. Wynant (Hoskyns), David Chow (Aldo), Buck Kartalian (Frank – Gorilla), John Dennis (Policeman), Paul Comi (2nd Policeman), Gordon Jump (Auctioneer), Dick Spangler (Announcer), Joyce Haber (Zelda), Hector Soucy (Ape with chain)
Notes: After playing human zoologist in Escape From The Planet Of The Apes, Natalie Trundy returns as a different character (in full ape makeup). Where Escape From The Planet Of The Apes had reduced the size of the “ape” cast and rebooted the film series in modern-day settings to save money, Conquest ironically has more extras in full ape makeup than any of the previous Apes films, along with a not-inexpensive “near future” redress of its L.A. locations.
LogBook entry by Earl Green