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RODDY MCDOWALL WAGES 'BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES'

Roddy McDowall in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes Year: 1972 Rating: ****1/2

Like RETURN OF THE JEDI would a decade later, ending the original STAR WARS franchise with a more accessible forest location along with big-budget science-fiction style lighted-corridors throughout dark steely fortresses, so the original ape series concluded with BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES costing the least amount of money... only you wouldn't know since the new exterior locale (where both apes and humans can speak) takes place in what seems like something from a sparsely affordable Robinson Caruso production...

Yet not entirely since at the end of the previous film, CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, there was an unseen and, herein, narrated-about (by John Huston) nuclear war after Roddy McDowall's Caesar took over... so the wilderness setting has a built-in explanation of the world going back to scratch... but there's also an underground compound of the previous formidable city after the holocaust: where the slain governor's main interrogator Severn Darden, with eerie post-nuke fallout garb, is now the main baddie...

Titles from BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES

But that's only on the humanoid side since there's Claude Akins as the gorilla antagonist, who's more part of the central story at the central village, posing the biggest threat while forgetting about what McDowall's Caesar had done to make apes rule the now secondary, semi-enslaved humans: his goal is for gorillas to lord over the now passive, domesticated chimps, including Natalie Trundy and Bobby Porter as Caesar's treehouse-dwelling wife and son...

And not since Maurice Evans' know-it-all Zaius, preferring ancient religion over science, had there been an integral intellectual orangutan... only here, Paul Williams is Caeasar's affable sidekick, spouting time-travel exposition alongside CONQUEST black actor Hari Rhodes's relative Austin Stoker: all three ultimately doing BATTLE against the monstrous nuclear-effected humans with the unpredictable gorillas in what's an otherwise imperfect conclusion that's never boring, and always with an intriguing and suspenseful, adventurous hurdle to climb.

Roddy McDowall in BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
Roddy McDowall in BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES with Paul Williams
Roddy McDowall in BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
Roddy McDowall, Austin Stoker and Paul Williams in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Roddy McDowall, Austin Stoker and Paul Williams in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Natalie Trundy in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Claude Akins in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Roddy McDowall and Paul Williams in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Roddy McDowall in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Claude Akins as General Aldo in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Severn Darden in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Austin Stoker and Paul Williams in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Severn Darden and France Nuyen in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Roddy McDowall, Austin Stoker and Paul Williams in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Roddy McDowall, Austin Stoker and Paul Williams in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Matte Painting from Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Matte Painting from Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Paul Williams in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Roddy McDowall, Austin Stoker, Paul Williams Battle for the Planet of the Apes (used in ARGO)
Roddy McDowall, Austin Stoker and Paul Williams in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Roddy McDowall, Austin Stoker in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Severn Darden and France Nuyen in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Bobby Porter in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Bobby Porter in Battle for the Planet of the Apes with Natalie Trundy
Richard Eastham and Severn Darden in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Severn Darden in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
John Landis (not the director) in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Gorillas from Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Paul Williams and Claude Akins in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
John Huston in Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Roddy McDowall in BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES

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