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Escape from the Planet of the Apes

Entry updated 16 April 2018. Tagged: Film.

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Film (1971). Apjac/Twentieth Century Fox. Directed by Don Taylor. Written be Paul Dehn, based on characters created by Pierre Boulle. Cast includes Bradford Dillman, Kim Hunter, Roddy McDowall, Natalie Trundy and William Windom. 97 minutes. Colour.

This is the third of the five Planet of the Apes films. When screenwriter Paul Dehn had been working on the second (Beneath the Planet of the Apes [1970]) he had been told it would be the last, so he decided to end the film by destroying the whole world with an atomic explosion. Four months later he received a telegram from Fox saying: "Apes exist, sequel required." His ingenious answer was to send three of the apes by Time Travel back to before the world exploded. They land in the Pacific Ocean and are taken to the nearest Zoo, in Los Angeles (see California), where they immediately become the centre of a violent controversy which results in their deaths after they inadvertently let their keepers know they can talk (see Apes as Human), but not before the female who featured in the first two films has given birth to a baby ape – in hiding, as the American government wants to abort it. This mixture of Satire and action/adventure is much more sentimental than its hard-edged predecessors, but more entertaining than those that followed. The novelization is Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1974) by Jerry Pournelle. [JB/PN/JC]


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