All new! The revolt of the apes. The most awesome spectacle in the annals of science fiction!

Directed by J. Lee Thompson

Reviewed by Deep Red

Aka A Conquista do Planeta dos Macacos

OK, more monkey business it is. I really am missing my horror though, watching It’s Alive [2008] last night just made me pine more. So, what have I got left to watch? Well, next is Battle for the Planet of the Apes [1973], then the Tim Burton one and finally Rise of the Planet of the Apes [2011]. I’ve seen them all before although this is the first time I’ve watched the extended version of this. I said when I reviewed ‘Escape’ that it was probably the second best of the original series behind the original, I’ve totally changed my mind, this is, in fact I would put this on a par with the original, it’s that good. It is very much a film of its time, as are all the films in the original series. What with ‘Rise’ and the imminent Dawn of the Planet of the Apes [2014] boasting spectacular state-of-the-art effects amongst other things the original series really has to be seen through the eyes of a film buff with a penchant for 70s sci-fi I suppose. I’m not a huge science fiction fan myself but I do love 70s horror so I can appreciate the age and relative quality of these films even today. Am I a huge ‘Planet of the Apes’ fan? Yes, I can go for a bit of the old ape-on-ape action from time to time.

Anyway, Roddy McDowall plays talking ape Caesar, son of Zira and Cornelius. It’s set ten years after ‘Escape’ when apes have replaced household pets, cats and dogs have been wiped out by a plague, and are slaves to humans. Caesar stills lives at the circus with Armando (Ricardo Montalban) from ‘Escape’ and when he and Armando go to the city to distribute flyers for the circus, he witnesses apes being treat cruelly by their human masters. Caesar shouts “Lousy human bastards!” at two policemen which Armando takes the blame for but while Caesar is hiding he ends up in slavery himself and is bought by Governor Breck (Don Murray). The governor’s aide, MacDonald (Hari Rhodes) puts him to work. Meanwhile, Armando is interrogated and ends up jumping through a window.

Caesar, the only talking ape, leads a revolt and eventually he is captured and tortured until he speaks. MacDonald manages to save Caesar from execution by electrocution….

In some ways this film is barking mad, in others it’s utterly fascinating. It’s very nicely made and a film you can really get into, well I did. The ape makeup is as loopy but endearing as ever, these films are the roots of the whole ‘Apes’ saga and despite the whole thing getting a facelift I highly recommend them. The 70s really were an incredible time for cinema and in a personal way I prefer them to the more recent entries just out of sheer nostalgia I think.