Rod Serling

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Planet of the Apes (1968) Review


Extraordinary
The monkey movie that started it all and the only memorable picture to come out of the laughable and sometimes unbearable saga of talking ape movies, Planet of the Apes still beats with a steady heart 30 years after its conception.

This memorable adaptation of the novel Monkey Planet, authored by Pierre Boulle (the same guy who wrote The Bridge on the River Kwai), was brought to life by the infamous producer Arthur Jacobs, who eventually oversaw the production duties for the entire Apes saga. No studio except Fox would touch the project with a ten-foot pole, despite the participation of Rod Serling, who co-authored the screenplay adaptation of Boulle's novel (and which led to 30 drafts), Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, and Kim Hunter (Stella from A Streetcar Named Desire), and the amazing ape makeup by first-timer John Chambers.

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Seven Days in May Review


Excellent
Classic political intrigue, with Kirk Douglas, Fredric March, and Burt Lancaster wrapped up in a plot to overthrow the president! Heavy stuff, courtesy of Rod Serling's master writing. Unfortunately, when the going gets good -- really hitting a fever pitch on day seven -- the story goes limp and the ending is a big letdown. Still, Lancaster is unparalleled in a rare bad guy role, helped amiably by a solid supporting staff. One of Frankenheimer's best works.

Requiem for a Heavyweight Review


Excellent
Rod Serling's tale about a washed-up heavyweight boxer (Anthony Quinn) and his corrupt manager (Jackie Gleason) is as relevant as ever, considering the sad fates of greats like Muhamed Ali. In fact, Quinn's Mountain Rivera opens the movie being beaten to a pulp by a young Cassius Clay (later to become Ali). It feels real, even though it's fiction, as this exploration of the afterlife of a boxer proves far more harrowing than what goes on inside the ring.
Rod Serling

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