Beneath The Planet Of The Apes (1970)

Beneath The Planet Of The Apes opens where the original Planet Of The Apes movie (1968) closed.

We find that not one but two spacecraft have actually landed on the planet.

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The second craft contains our hero, Brent (James Franciscus) - an astronaut launched on a search and rescue mission in an effort to find the missing astronaut Taylor (Charlton Heston). Brent's ship passes through the same bend in time and crash-lands on Earth in 3955.

With the help of Taylor's mute girlfriend, Nova (Linda Harrison), Brent finally locates Taylor in an underground fortress in the Forbidden Zone guarded by telepathic mutant humans who worship the ultimate in destructive power - an unexploded nuclear missile called the Alpha Omega bomb.

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At the same time, the apes are suffering a famine and General Ursus (James Gregory) convinces Dr Zaius (Maurice Evans) to invade the Forbidden Zone in search of food and some understanding of the legendary evils said to lurk there. They and the mutants become locked in deadly combat.

Brent and Nova are killed, and the Alpha Omega bomb is ultimately detonated by a dying Taylor and the planet is destroyed.

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Roddy McDowall was unavailable for Beneath The Planet Of The Apes, making this the only in the series of films in which he does not appear. In his place, British actor David Watson put on the chimp make-up to play Cornelius. His impersonation of McDowall's distinctive voice is spot-on.

Maurice Evans, Kim Hunter and Linda Harrison reprised their roles from the original. The film was made for $3 million and earned $7.2 million in its original release.

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TRIVIA
The original title for Beneath was Planet Of The Apes Revisited. The studio had also briefly considered Planet Of The Men.

The faces of the mutants were inspired by a photograph in the medical textbook, Gray's Anatomy. Director Ted Post advised the makeup team to create faces without an epidermis (skin covering) that would expose muscles and blood vessels.

The set used for the mutant church was also seen as the Harmonia Gardens in Hello, Dolly! (1969).

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Brent
James Franciscus
Dr Zira
Kim Hunter
Dr Zaius
Maurice Evans
Nova

Linda Harrison
George Taylor

Charlton Heston
Cornelius

David Watson
Mendez

Paul Richards
Fat Man

Victor Buono
General Ursus

James Gregory
Albina

Natalie Trundy
Negro
Don Pedro Colley
Minister

Thomas Gomez

Director
Ted Post