Film (1970). Apjac/Twentieth Century Fox. Director Ted Post. Written by Paul Dehn, Mort Abrahams, based on characters created by Pierre Boulle. Cast includes James Franciscus, Linda Harrison, Charlton Heston and Kim Hunter. 95 minutes. Colour.
In this first and best of four sequels to Planet of the Apes another time-warped astronaut (Franciscus) crashlands on the ape world. Like his predecessor he is captured, befriended by the sympathetic chimpanzee Zira (Hunter), and meets the girl savage (Harrison). But when he escapes with her Underground and discovers the remains of New York City the film goes off in a blacker direction: he finds a race of deformed, telepathic Mutants who worship a nuclear Doomsday Bomb, and meets the astronaut hero (Heston) of the previous film, now half-crazed and venomous, who ultimately detonates the bomb and brings about a Holocaust, wiping out apes, mutants and humans alike. In its replacement of whimsical Satire by an altogether harsher judgement about the prospects for intelligent life on Earth, this film is arguably stronger than its original. The novelization is Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) by Michael Avallone. [JB/PN]
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