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The Making Of Planet Of The Apes Book Review


J.W. Rinzler does it again.

Author J.W. Rinzler (best known for the masterfully done Making of Star Wars books) has hopped over to another great sci-fi franchise in “Planet of the Apes” with the new book from Harper Design “The Making Of Planet Of The Apes.” In this oversized hardcover book, Rinzler tackles the original 1968 film (although the follow-ups are mentioned throughout). The book kicks off with a foreword by Charlton Heston’s son Fraser C. Heston who shares memories about his father and his career as well as being on the set of Apes. After that, we get a deep dive into all aspects of the making of the original Apes.

In terms of textual content, there’s so much to go through here. Not only do you get summaries of the original Apes novel by Pierre Boulle as well as 3 drafts of the film script, but there’s a wealth of information about the development history (who knew Paul Newman once wanted to do it?), Rod Serling and the other writers involvement, production troubles, Heston coming onboard, Fox studios, the ending, location scouting and shooting, casting, sets, costumes, and make-up, filming of certain sequences including the iconic ending, post-production, Jerry Goldsmith’s groundbreaking score, the film’s release and legacy, and, to quote “Spaceballs,” “Merchandising, merchandising, merchandising.” But wait, there’s more! Rinzler recounts memories of Apes, how the book came about and where he culled material from, there are spotlights on artists like Don Peters and Emil Kosa JR., and backgrounds on Charlton Heston, director Franklin J. Schaffner and esteemed author Pierre Boulle.

Writing aside, there are hundreds of photos to gaze at here as well. Highlights include concept art, sketches, B&W and color glossy film stills, high quality behind-the-scenes photos (love the construction of the Statue of Liberty set picture), and photos of costume and make-up tests including one with James Brolin! The book concludes with an appendix, bibliography, acknowledgments, and an index.

If you’re a “Planet of the Apes” enthusiast like myself, this is pure heaven. Whether you love seeing rare photos or are eager to learn stories about the film’s various levels of production, J.W. Rinzler has you covered. The sheer amount of content and work that has gone into this book (and all of Rinzler’s books for that matter) are nothing short of astonishing. As someone who loves stories of Hollywood history, I was particularly blown away to see a picture of Edward G. Robinson as Dr. Zaius. I’m always fascinated by stories of cast members that were almost in movies because it’s fun to think about what the movie could have been like had they been in them. There’s a lot of that here as the movie underwent several changes from cast to script. In the end though, everything somehow came together perfectly as “Planet of the Apes” is one of cinema’s best.

December 30, 2018 - Posted by | Book review | , , , , ,

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