In the Dark

The School of Savagery

Planet of the Apes
Produced and distributed by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Tim Burton
Screenplay by William Broyles, Jr., from Pierre Boulle's novel

Ghost World
Produced by Capitol Films, United Artists, and John Malkovich
Directed by Terry Zwigoff
Screenplay by Daniel Clowes with Terry Zwigoff
Released by MGM-UA

The 1968 film Planet of the Apes was based on French novelist Pierre Boulle's 1963 Swiftian satire. On screen, the adaptation became a wildly popular and, not coincidentally, satirically tamer narrative.

The movie resembles an expanded Twilight Zone episode. That's not surprising: Rod Serling worked on the screenplay. Charlton Heston plays an astronaut whose rocket takes a wrong turn and somehow passes through the spacetime continuum to crash on Earth in the distant future. There, he discovers that apes have gained control of the planet and made humans their slaves. Once established, the conceit of a species-dominance switch enabled the movie to deploy a series of arch parallels to the "real world" issues of the late 60's, the kind of groaners that Serling could never resist: man's inhumanity to man, fractious race relations, small-minded xenophobia, the dangers of high-tech weaponry, etc. All of this was allegorized through ape makeup. Where, the film demanded to...

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