Escape from the Planet of the Apes

Year: 1971

Production: Apjac / 20th Century-Fox

Director: Don Taylor

Starring: Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Bradford Dillman, Natalie Trundy, Eric Braeden, William Windom

Screenwriter: Paul Dehn

Based on characters created by Pierre Boulle. Novelization (1974) by Jerry Pournelle

97 minutes; Color

This is the third of the five Planet of the Apes films. When the late UK screenwriter Paul Dehn - author of Quake, Quake, Quake (1961), a series of parody verses, illustrated by Edward Gorey, on the aftermaths of the nuclear age - had been working on the second ( Beneath the Planet of the Apes [1970]) he had been told it would be 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 arrived in the contemporary USA and immediately become the center of a violent controversy which results in their deaths, but not before the female who featured in the first two films has given birth to a baby ape. This mixture of satire and action/adventure is much more sentimental than its hard-edged predecessors, but more entertaining than those that followed.

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