Beneath the Planet of the Apes

Year: 1969

Production: Apjac / 20th Century-Fox

Director: Ted Post

Starring: James Franciscus, Charlton Heston, Linda Harrison, Kim Hunter

Screenwriter: Paul Dehn, Mort Abrahams

Based on characters created by Pierre Boulle. Novelization (1970) by Michael Avallone

95 minutes; Color

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 bring about a holocaust, wiping out apes, mutants and human alike. In its replacement of whimsical satire by an altogether harsher judgment about the prospects for intelligent life on Earth, this film is arguably stronger than its original.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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