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Planet of the Apes 5: Battle for

1973       Roddy McDowall

The Finale of the Apes Saga

All four predecessor films have received such staunch support and enthusiastic reception from both the public and a huge segment of the press - ranging from publications aimed at the intelligentsia to mass-circulation outlets - that the films have been made virtually in response to popular demand. The current entry, "Battle For The Planet Of The Apes," follows the original and three earlier sequels, "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes," "Escape from the Planet of the Apes" and "Beneath the Planet of the Apes."

Starring Roddy McDowall, Natalie Trundy, Lew Ayres, Severn Darden and John Huston, the 20th Centruy-Fox release premiered in 1973.

In all other respects "Battle For The Planet Of The Apes" maintains the style and quality of its ancestors. Perhaps the question most frequently asked about the "Ape" pictures is why it is necessary to employ such skilled - and therefore expensive - actors for the simian roles. Superficially it would seem prognathous simian visages and the bent, shambling walk would

inhibit thespian nuances to the point where it wouldn't matter who played them. Actually, the opposite is the case. Projecting character through these restrictions requires consummate artistry, and many fine actors have welcomed this challenge. Basically of the action genre, the films have attracted, in addition to a wide general audience, the attention of film buffs who have formed a substantial "Apes" cult. Reviewers also have been appreciative, and the series has achieved recognition on two levels -pure escapist entertainment and as social commentary. As did its predecessors, "Battle For The Planet Of The Apes" works in all these areas. For action there is a pitched battle between apes and mutants, a murder, two exciting chases and a hand-to-hand battle in the treetops. For social and philosophical observation there is a political power struggle, a contest between good and evil in the same individuals. Some of the settings suggest the Garden of Eden while others present a horrifying projection of the possibilities of the Atomic Age. These concepts are translated to film under the direction of J. Lee Thompson, director of "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes," whose list of distinguished credits includes "The Guns of Navarone." Paul Dehn, author of the previous three "Ap.e "- screenplays, wrote the original story of "Battle For The Planet Of The Apes," and John William Corrington and Joyce Hooper Corrington wrote the screenplay. Associate producer Frank Capra, Jr. served in a similar capacity on "Escape" and "Conquest." In addition to Roddy McDowall's four appearances in the series, Natalie Trundy has had roles in all but the first, and Severn Darden also co-starred in "Conquest." In motion pictures there is an axiom which states that sequels are risky business. There has long been a tendency in the industry to hop on the bandwagon when someone comes up with a particularly successful idea - but more frequently than not the sequels prove to be pale carbon copies of the original and suffer the fate they deserve. Hence there can be no greater tribute to the basic worth of Arthur P. Jacobs' production six years ago of "Planet of the Apes" than the fact that a fourth sequel has just been completed. Click here for more

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