James Franciscus, who had spent most of his career playing doctors and lawyers, so welcomed the opportunity to wear a costume that could best be described as minimal. Franciscus was a natural athlete and keen tennis player, so was in great shape for the shoot.
Charlton Heston donated his salary to charity.
Pierre Boulle, author of the original novel, wrote a screenplay entitled "Planet of the Men" in his native French. It featured a messianic Taylor fourteen years after the events of Planet of the Apes (1968), and involved a human uprising against the apes, following which they revert back to their primal state. The studio obviously chose to ignore his concept, and made this movie instead (although the original script did feature an uprising - the chimpanzees against the other apes).
The only film in the original series of five that does not star Roddy McDowall, who was committed to another project. Archive footage of McDowall as Cornelius is played at the start, and David Watson plays the character in the film proper. Despite this, McDowall is often pictured on video and DVD packaging for this film.
Despite the original being a significant success, the budget was slashed for this sequel. It went from $5 million to $2.5 million in one fell swoop. This was mainly due to 20th Century Fox teetering on the brink of bankruptcy following some majorly expensive failures, such as Hello, Dolly! (1969), Star! (1968) and Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) The recruiting of Ted Post as director was instrumental here as he was used to minimal budgets and shortened schedules from his work on television.
Originally, there was going to be a scene featuring a half-human/half-ape child. However, the producers were afraid that not only would the scene be too confusing, but that they would also lose their "G" rating.
Due to the smaller budget of this film, the vast majority of the extras cast as apes wore pullover masks instead of the famous ape make up.
Contrary to urban myth, the council chamber set was not reused in for the Krypton opening scene in Superman (1978). This film was filmed entirely in the United States, while Superman was made in the UK.
Orson Welles was offered the role of General Ursus, which he turned down. Burt Reynolds was considered for the lead role of John Brent, before James Franciscus was cast due to his resemblance to Charlton Heston. Don Medford agreed to direct the movie, but walked out after the budget was halved.
The sets of the mutants' council chamber are redressed sets from Hello, Dolly! (1969).
20th Century Fox producer Irwin Allen used the tiled tubular set of subterranean New York City for an episode of Land of the Giants (1968), and as an electrical power-duct in his television movie City Beneath the Sea (1969). In both cases, panels of red lights were inset into the tiled tube making it more useful in these later projects. The same set would be used in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) as corridors between sections of the Ape Management complex (utilizing white lights).
This was the first appearance of Natalie Trundy in the "Apes" series. She and actor Norman Burton are the only actors to play both a human and an ape in the series.
All five original "Planet of the Apes" movies were number one at the U.S. box office when released. "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" spent two weeks as the number one top grossing film: the week of May 31, 1970, it made $3,595,936, and the week of June 7, 1970, it made $3,146,395.
According to writer Paul Dehn, the idea for the film came about because of the iconic imagery of the first film's climax.
Jeff Corey (Caspay), Kim Hunter (Zira) and James Gregory (General Ursus) all died within the space of a month in 2002: Corey on August 16 (age 88), Hunter on September 11 (age 79) and Gregory on September 16 (age 90).
Several sources (including the official novelization, comic adaptation, and music CD soundtrack), reveal Brent's first name as 'John'. His dying fellow astronaut, called only Skipper, wears a nametag which, when magnified in freeze frame, appears to be Maddon or Maddox. Don Pedro Colley's character is named "Ono Goro" in the script -- Colley was bemused to discover that he was credited as "Negro" in the end titles.
The film went through extensive rewrites, including one by star James Franciscus.
The 'official' budget is $3 million. However, director Ted Post stated the budget was $2.5 million. Another historian claims it was $4.7 million. All these discrepancies can be found in the Blu-ray 40 Year Box Set; under special feature documentaries for Planet of the Apes (1968); Beneath; and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973).
Charlton Heston (George Taylor), Kim Hunter (Zira), Maurice Evans (Dr. Zaius) and Linda Harrison (Nova) are the only actors to reprise their roles from Planet of the Apes (1968).
Roddy McDowall was unable to appear in the film due to scheduling conflicts. He was in Scotland directing his film The Ballad of Tam Lin (1970), the only film he ever directed.
"Ursus" is Latin for "bear."
In an interview about the sequel, Linda Harrison said that James Franciscus took the film rather too seriously.
It took a lot of persuasion for both Charlton Heston and Kim Hunter to reprise their roles for this film; Heston didn't believe in making sequels, as a rule, and Hunter had such an ordeal with the rigors of dealing with the makeup appliance during the first film.
The first film in the original film series not to have the 20th Century Fox logo at the beginning of the film. This would become a trademark of the films that would continue for all the following entries in the original film series.
Thomas Gomez's final appearance in a film, and Gregory Sierra's first.
The film takes place in 3955.
Ernest Borgnine was considered for General Ursus.
Natalie Trundy, wife of producer Arthur P. Jacobs, is the only person to portray each of the 3 groups across the four sequels: mutant (Beneath), human (Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)), and ape (Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)).
Originally, the makeup designs for the mutants disfigurement was going to look more graphic. The designs were soon changed so as to appease the film censors.
Altogether, Charlton Heston has approximately 18 minutes of screen time.
The name and topographical configuration of the underground subway station are inconsistent. The real "Queensboro Plaza" station in New York City is above ground, serving elevated tracks. The nearby "Queens Plaza" station and tracks are located underground. Although considering 2,000 years have passed, and the geo-physics landscape would have changed burying much of the original cityscape anyway, this is still a pretty glaring oversight.
There were two series of Planet of the Apes action figures released back in the '70s by Mego. General Ursus was included in the second; the only character of that line not featured in the prime-time television series Planet of the Apes (1974). The TV commercials for the figures used the 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) theme, since Planet of the Apes had no real theme music.
Director Ted Post found it more of a challenge in working with a modest budget than he imagined.
Brent tells his dying skipper that the ship's clock read "three-niner-5-5." When Skipper mumbles back, "3955," Brent says, "If that's when it stopped working." This is a very shrewd assessment on Brent's part. In the first film, Taylor reads his ship's clock before abandoning ship. It reads 11 25 3978. This means that Brent's clock stopped at least 22 years (earth time) before they crashed..
Ted Post directed Beneath, which is the second of five Apes films. After numerous conflicts with producer Mort Abraham's, Post never again worked on the Apes franchise. Post also directed Magnum Force, the second of five Dirty Harry films. After numerous conflicts with star Clint Eastwood, Post never again worked on the Dirty Harry franchise.
Arch Oboler contributed an uncredited revision to the screenplay.
Second of the original five Planet of the Apes movies.
James Gregory and Gregory Sierra were also on the television series Barney Miller (1975).
This is essentially the Planet of the Apes franchise formula superimposed onto HG Wells' 1895 classic The Time Machine; which focuses on Earth millrnia into the future when civilization has degenerated and devolved into two subspecies: The Morelocks and the Eloi. The Eloi are godlike creatures (but with limited intelligence) which dwell on the earth enjoying all it's pleasures whereas the Morelocks are the underclass living underground desperately struggling for survival. That story has been projected onto the story, where we have the apes as the Eloi, and the deformed humans underground as the Morelocks.
When Brent and Nova begin to wander underground they have started at Queensboro subway station. The next place they come across is the New York Public Library (located in midtown Manhattan at 42nd St and Fidth Avenue). The next place they come across is the New York Stock Exchange building, located downtown at Wall St, a distance of approximately 3-4 miles from the NYPL. Then they appear at Radio City Music Hall which is at 51st St and 6th Avenue, back uptown beyond even the NYPL, indicating they are going up and down the island of Manhattan after crossing under the East River from Queens.
An alternate ending was written where Taylor, Brent and Nova escape the underground city prior to the detonation of the bomb, which was not a doomsday device as it is in the finished film. They return to Ape City and, along with Zira and Cornelius, release the humans from the cages and a new order is begun. The script ends hundreds of years later with the Lawgiver teaching a group of ape and human children, who sit in harmony together. The final shot of the script shows a mutated gorilla emerging from the underground and fatally shooting a flying dove. (The "Lawgiver Scene" was resurrected as the framing structure for Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973).)
Charlton Heston was reluctant to reprise the role of George Taylor for this movie, believing that Taylor's struggles were what drove the first movie, and that story had already reached its conclusion. A sequel, in his opinion, would be a lackluster "Adventures amongst the monkeys". He eventually agreed to appear on condition that his scenes had to be shot within a two week period. He also insisted that Taylor had to be killed. He agreed to a compromise in which he'd disappear in the beginning of the film and reappear to die at the end. Heston claims in the documentary Behind the Planet of the Apes (1998) that he personally suggested the ending, saying, "Why don't I just set off this bomb and destroy the world. That's the end of the sequels."
In the next film, Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), it is stated that Dr. Milo raised Taylor's ship from the inland sea where it crashed and sank, and then studied it and learned how to operate it. For the timing to make any sense, Dr. Milo would have had to be working on it during the events of this film (possibly arriving at "Dead Lake" during Planet of the Apes (1968); having gained information from Cornelius and Zira during the weeks Taylor had been imprisoned prior to the hearing).
After General Ursus' rally, Zira says to Cornelius, "At least our child, when it's born, won't be breast-fed on bile." This infers that Zira had been pregnant when she spoke these words; in Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971) she says that she had known she had been pregnant "since well before the war" that had destroyed the Earth (also inferring that the couple had engaged in pre-marital sex, as they had apparently married during the brief time span in between the first two films).
When Brent tells Taylor about the existence of the bomb, he describes it as having Greek Letters, "Alpha... and....." Taylor finishes the sentence as he recognizes the type of device being described, adding "...and Omega!" Less than a year after this, and probably filmed around the same time time, was Charlton Hestons next movie, The Omega Man, released in 1971, with Heston playing the titular last man on earth.