Four sequels and a TV series bred contempt, but this first visit to Pierre Boulle's planet, bringing a welcome touch of wit to his rather humourlessly topsy-turvy theory of evolution, remains a minor sci-fi classic. The settings (courtesy of the National Parks of Utah and Arizona) are wonderfully outlandish, and Schaffner makes superb use of them as a long shot chillingly establishes the isolation of the crashed astronauts, as exploration brings alarming intimations of life (pelts staked out on the skyline like crucified scarecrows), and as discovery of a tribe of frightened humans is followed by an eruption of jackbooted apes on horseback. The enigma of the planet's history, juggled through Heston's humiliating experience of being studied as an interesting laboratory specimen by his ape captors, right down to his final startling rediscovery of civilisation, is quite beautifully sustained.
Cast and crew
|Director:||Franklin J Schaffner|
|Screenwriter:||Michael Wilson, Rod Serling|