Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes PG

The Sound of Sci-Fi


Please note: This was screened in April 2018

Franklin J. Schaffner
Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter
107 mins, 1968, USA

Composer Jerry Goldsmith’s seminal score for this sci-fi classic, about three astronauts marooned on a futuristic planet where apes rule and humans are slaves, has quite rightly passed into legend and set a standard for sci-fi film scores that has rarely been bettered.

When Colonel George Taylor (Charlton Heston) crash lands his spacecraft on what seems to be an unfamiliar planet, he is captured and held prisoner by a dominant race of rational, articulate apes. The ape community however is riven with internal dissension, centred in no small part on its policy toward humans, who, on this planet, are treated as mindless animals. Befriended and ultimately assisted by the more liberal simians, Taylor escapes--only to find a more terrifying obstacle confronting his return home.

Goldsmith chose to compose his iconic score entirely in an avant garde style, using such innovative techniques as looping drums into an echoplex tape delay, using his orchestra to imitate the grunting sounds of apes, having horns blown without mouthpieces and instructing his woodwind players to finger their keys without using any air. And kudos too must surely go to any composer who insists on wearing an ape mask himself whilst conducting his sonic masterpiece.

Image title