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Beneath the Planet of the Apes

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Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) starring James Franciscus, Kim Hunter
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Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) starring James Franciscus, Kim Hunter

Beneath the Planet of the Apes is a rescue mission. Astronauts are sent from Earth to search for the missing Taylor and his crew from Planet of the Apes. They go through the same issues, only to fall into a final war between the apes and the mutant humans.

Noteworthy moments

  • The gorillas moving the chimpanzee “peace protesters” out of the way. They were going to be violent about it, until Dr. Zaius ordered them otherwise. Clearly a shout-out to the student protests of the time.
  • Brent, drinking from the underground water fountain. Where he’s nearly forced to drown Nova! All for the human mutants to demonstrate their telepathic power over the “weaker” minds.
  • Brent’s interrogation by the telepathic human mutants. Who don’t have to be mute, unless they want to.
  • The mutants’ “weapons of peace”.
  • The reveal at the end, where the mutants worship a nuclear warhead.
  • The final confrontation. You’d think it would make a sequel impossible. But instead, it’s: Escape from the Planet of the Apes.

Cast of characters

  • James Franciscus (Marooned 1969, Valley of the Gwangi) … Brent. Last survivor of the rescue mission, sent after Taylor and his crew. He spends the majority of the film hunting for him, with Nova.
  • Kim Hunter (A Matter of Life and Death, The Seventh Victim) … Zira. The sympathetic Chimpanzee scientist. She helps Brent as best she can.
  • Maurice Evans (Bewitched, The Red Skelton Hour) … Dr. Zaius. The Orangutan in charge. He’s one of the few who knows about the history of their world. He’s determined to find Taylor as well. To silence both him and Brent.
  • Linda Harrison (Planet of the Apes, Cocoon) … Nova. Taylor’s love interest, who accompanies Brent on his search for Taylor. She’s mute, until the ending of the film. She calls out, “Taylor!”
  • Charlton Heston (The Omega Man, The Agony and the Ecstasy) … Taylor. The sole survivor of the original mission. He’s the subject of Brent’s search. And, in the finale of the movie, he’s actually found.

Secondary characters

  • Paul Richards … Mendez
  • Victor Buono (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Batman) … Fat Man. One of the council of the human mutants.
  • James Gregory (The Manchurian Candidate, The Love God) … Ursus. The Gorilla general. He’s very intelligent, and canny. As well as being violent and vicious when his job calls for it. Although he ignores Zaius’ warning against pulling down the mutants’ “god”/warhead.
  • Jeff Corey (You’ll Find Out, Battle Beyond the Stars) … Caspay
  • Natalie Trundy … Albina. A mutant, she commits suicide, as the Apes invade the city.
  • Thomas Gomez (Come to the Stable, Key Largo) … Minister
  • Don Pedro Colley (Sugar Hill) … Negro. The “enforcer” of the mutants. Since they’re a peaceful people, he telepathically tries to get Brent and Taylor to murder each other.
  • David Watson … Cornelius
  • Tod Andrews (From Hell It Came) … Skipper. Skipper of Brent’s rescue mission. He doesn’t survive long.
  • Eldon Burke … Gorilla Sgt.
  • Gregory Sierra … Verger

Editorial review of Beneath the Planet of the Apes courtesy of

In the acclaimed sequel to Planet of the Apes, another astronaut (James Franciscus) crashes through the time barrier searching for the missing Taylor (Charlton Heston). The daring rescue leads to a subterranean city where mutant humans, who practice mind control, worship a weapon capable of destroying the entire planet. Both an action-oriented science-fiction adventure and a wry commentary on today’s world, it’s imaginative entertainment for fantasy buffs of all ages. 

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