Beneath The Planet Of The Apes

Planet Of The ApesTaylor and Nova explore further into the Forbidden Zone, beyond the ruins of the Statue of Liberty, where a gigantic wall of fire stretches across the horizon and sudden earthquakes rip through the ground at their feet. Taylor goes to explore onward, telling Nova to find Dr. Zira if he fails to return. Taylor is unaware that another expedition has been launched to find his missing ship and crew, and that disaster has befallen them as well: astronaut Brent and his crew are sucked into the same time anomaly and arrive on the future Earth. Brent survives the violent landing and discovers Nova roaming on her own, following her back into ape territory. There, he witnesses not only the evolutionary advancements of the apes, but an all-too-familiar sight: the apes are divided over whether to strike into the heart of the Forbidden Zone, or face a famine that threatens their food crops. General Ursus calls for war, and demands support from Dr. Zaius. The scientific elite – mainly evolved chimpanzees – are concerned about the rallying cry for war, while the gorilla military considers calls for peace to be a sign of weakness. Dr. Zaius is cautious: nobody even knows what’s in the Forbidden Zone, or indeed if there’s anything or anyone upon which to declare war. Despite his earlier mistrust of Dr. Zira and Cornelius, Zaius leaves them in charge and reluctantly joins the military advance into the Forbidden Zone.

Brent, still trying to fulfill his mission objective of finding Taylor’s expedition, flees from ape country into the Forbidden Zone. They find a subterranean complex there, filled with the sound of machinery: obviously the product of some kind of intelligent life. While Brent is relieved to finally meet (apparently) human beings underground, he’s horrified by what they tell him: they worship their god – an atomic bomb that survived the Earth-consuming holocaust intact – and they’re not afraid to unleash their god’s fury upon an invading force of apes, even if it leads to a chain reaction that could wipe out the entire world. The final revelation is even more disturbing: despite their outward appearance, these humans have been mutated almost beyond recognition. They throw Brent in a cell with Taylor, but the reunion is anything but a happy one: in order to take out both the apes and the mutants, Taylor is more than ready to detonate the holy bomb himself…

Order the DVDsscreenplay by Paul Dehn
story by Paul Dehn and Mort Abrahams
directed by Ted Post
music by Laurence Rosenthal

Cast: James Franciscus (Brent), Kim Hunter (Zira), Maurice Evans (Dr. Zaius), Linda Harrison (Nova), Paul Richards (Mendez), Victor Buono (Fat Man), James Gregory (General Ursus), Jeff Corey (Caspay), Natalie Trundy (Albina), Thomas Gomez (Minister), David Watson (Cornelius), Don Pedro Colley (Negro), Tod Andrews (Skipper), Gregory Sierra (Verger), Eldon Burke (Gorilla Sergeant), Lou Wagner (Lucius), Charlton Heston (Taylor)

Original title: Planet Of The Apes Revisited

Notes: Charlton Heston wanted the first Planet Of The Apes sequel to be the last – he agreed to appear in only as many scenes as could be shot in a two-week period, and only if the character of Taylor was killed off. If you noticed that new star James Franciscus bore more than a passing physical resemblance to Heston’s appearance in the majority of the first film, it’s no accident: 20th Century Fox hoped that, in trailers and other advertising for Beneath The Planet Of The Apes, Franciscus’ strong resemblance would help them conveniently gloss over the fact that Heston was putting in little more than a cameo appearance. Also absent from the cast, due to being booked for other projects, was Roddy McDowall – the only Planet Of The Apes live-action project of the 20th century from which he was absent.

LogBook entry by Earl Green