Statue of Limitations


I’m in Sight & Sound again. Right at the back. You could rush out and buy one or you could read this tweet. The magazine has a regular column about end sequences in celebrated movies, and I plumped for PLANET OF THE APES.

We’ll never run out of things to say about this ending, and I was glad to find a couple of bits I hadn’t seen mentioned in print before. Growling thespian Peter Mullan once cited a childhood viewing of this movie as the thing which made him realize that movies could be about ideas, and it’s still a great illustration of that point. My childhood encounters with this, and THE TIME MACHINE and THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN were particularly important stages of my mental development, such as it is. They’re all kind of unresolved (what will happen to Charlton now?) but at the same time perfect and complete. The last thing you need is a sequel to round things off.

Also — have you ever noticed, that the name Franklin J. Schaffner is just incredibly satisfying to say? Try it!

10 Responses to “Statue of Limitations”

  1. Among his credits Franklin J. Schaffner directed the film version of Gore Vidal’s The Best Man and the first version of The Legend of Lylah Clare starring Tuesday Weld.

  2. Congratulations on your article.

  3. Thanks!

    I’d love to see the Weld/Schaffner Lylah. I love The Best Man — far more than Patton or Papillon.

  4. Tony Williams Says:

    Yes, I’d like to see that version of LYLAH CLARE also if it survived.

  5. It was made for TV, and therefore may be available on tape. (I hope) It was quite something.

  6. Some of FJS’s TV work survives, notably 12 Angry Men, but most of the kinescopes of that period are John Frankenheimer’s, since he paid to have them all recorded.

  7. Looks like all the imdb reviews are people who saw it when it aired 50+ years ago.

  8. As long as none of them is F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre, there’s a chance.

  9. I only ever think of the Simpsons now when I see the film (though this scene was much funnier a couple of decades ago when the thought that a film, no matter how inappropriate, could be turned into a blockbuster stage musical was a hilarious satire rather than a bitter truth!) :

    While the original shock ending of the first film is great I always remember (and treasure) staying up late during the Summer holidays as a kid and watching a late night BBC screening of Beneath The Planet of the Apes. After the even more upsettng ending of that film, I still remember sitting stunned as the television channel shut down, leaving me with only the whine of the close down signal for comfort!

  10. I think Film 2 is the weakest of the series — it took me years to catch a screening, and I was quite disappointed — but the ending is certainly bold. The later sequels all seemed really good when I was a kid. Not so much, now.

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