It is quite a small irony that Charlton Heston (Moses) is the star of this movie. He builds the franchise well as Taylor the self-absorbed commander reduced to animal in a cage. He plays the role well but has plenty of help. Kim Hunter and Roddy McDowall (one of the most underrated actors who have been)and Maurce Evans do their best to steal the show. (Particularly Evans who's proves the screen presence of a great stage actor cuts through any amount of makeup. The passion and interaction of the characters as they argue their cases mirrors the arguements of the times which is one of the movie's strengths. Well shot and quite a spectacle considering the scale of the movie. The franchise that follows never comes to this level and the amount of parody it has spawned doesn't cut it. But this one is a winner. It only remains to see if the remake can match it.
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Peter Ingemi (DaTechGuy)
I am a blogger who hosts a Saturday evening Radio show on WCRN 830 AM out of Worcester Mass. I blog about politics, religion, baseball and doctor who at datechguy.wordpress.com I also cover … more
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Many early science fiction films are now, quite inadvertently (and in most cases undeservedly), objects of camp attention: we laugh at the silly makeup, tin-can special effects, and the naive "high-tech" dialogue.Planet of the Apes is no such film. Its intelligent script, frightening costuming, and savagely effective conclusion (which needs no big-budget special effects to augment its impact) remain both potent and relevant. When Colonel George Taylor (the fabulous Charlton Heston) crash lands his spacecraft on what seems to be an unfamiliar planet, he is captured and held prisoner by a dominant race of hyperrational, articulate apes. However, the ape community is riven with internal dissention, centered in no small part on its policy toward humans, who, on this planet, are treated as mindless animals. Befriended and ultimately assisted by the more liberal simians, Taylor escapes--only to find a more terrifying obstacle confronting his return home. Heavy-handed object lessons abound--the ubiquity of generational warfare, the inflexibility of dogma, the cruelty of prejudice--and the didactic fingerprints of Rod Serling are very much in evidence here. But director Franklin Schaffner has a dark, pop-apocalyptic sci-fi vision all his own, and time has not dulled the monumental emotional impact of the film's climactic payoff shot. If you don't know what I'm talking about here, you owe it to yourself to check out this stone classic, and even if you do, see it ...