vintagegeekculture: The Hall of Statues from “Beneath the...


The Hall of Statues from “Beneath the Planet of the Apes.”

Though much of his initial script was not used except for the broad outlines and a few details, it was screenwriter Paul Dehn (as in Goldfinger) who came up with the idea of setting the Planet of the Apes sequel around mutants with mental powers who worshiped an unexploded atomic bomb. He did a lot of worldbuilding around the mutant society and its history, but alas, very little of it ended up on screen. On describing the Hall of Statues in his screenplay: 

“Mendez rose from his throne. A door slides back and he enters a long corridor, lined with statues, past which he unhurriedly stalks. At first we should think that the statues are semi-representational, impressionistic sculptures in the modern manner of our own 20th century - of, the small-headed woman of Henry Moore, the grotesque elongations of Giacometti, the half-human, half-bird-headed fantasies of Elizabeth Frank. But as we pan Mendez past them, it should rapidly dawn on us that they are strictly representational, totally realistic statues of Mutants; and the names and dates on the plinths tell us that they are Mendez’s ancestors: Mendez XXV, Mendez XXIV, XXIII, XXII, XXI etc. As Mendez walks, we are so to speak moving back in time; and as the dates become earlier, each statue’s appearance approximates closer to the human norm. The last few are no more grotesque than the busts of the in-bred, later Medici on the steps of the Uffizi in pre-war Florence: ears of unequal size; a tiny face lapped by folds of circumambient fat; an outsize nose, an undersized chin. We end on Mendez I - a normal, handsome, strong-jawed, military-moustached, grizzle-haired soldier in the 20th century uniform of a five-star US General. The date: 1997 - B.3. In front of this, Mendez pauses for a moment - seeing (without turning) out of his side-eye - and whispers in a sort of agony: ‘Forefather, why can we not all look like you?’ This shocks us, because it is directly contrary to his public teaching that all Mutants are beautiful.”

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