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Planet of the Apes as American Myth: Race, Politics, and Popular Culture [Paperback]

By Eric Greene (Author)
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Item Number 93581  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   286
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 31, 1998
Publisher   Wesleyan
ISBN  0819563293  
EAN  9780819563293  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
A lively exploration of the Planet of the Apes films as racial allegory.

In 1968, Planet of the Apes became a megahit movie both in the US and abroad, inspiring four film sequels, two TV series, several comic series, and hundreds of millions of dollars in worldwide merchandising. The Apes films confronted some of the most controversial issues of the time, including Vietnam and the Black Power movement, all the while remaining crowd pleasing box office hits.

Eric Greene uses rare photographs, transcripts, and extensive interviews with the writers, directors, actors, and producers to read the Apes saga as a profoundly American myth. Greene also looks at the attempts of filmmakers like Oliver Stone and James Cameron to remake the myth for the 90s. This enjoyable and meticulous book gives the reader an insider's look at the complex relationships between race, politics and popular culture in America.

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Eric Greene currently resides in Los Angeles. Eric Greene was born in 1968.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Thoughtful Discussion  Mar 22, 2007
Eric Greene's book is a thoughtful discussion of the ideas present in the Apes movies. Even if the makers might deny that they intended them to be social commentary, the Apes movies certainly inspire a review of the social scene in the 1960's from which these movies sprang forth.

By comparison, how something like Star Wars can be praised as mythology and the Apes movies ignored is beyond me.
The "Sacred Scroll" for serious Ape-o-philes!  Jul 20, 2006
I can count on the fingers (and fully-opposable thumb) of one hand the number of books that have impressed, entertained, and inspired me as much as this one.

It doesn't hurt that I grew up as a hardcore Ape-o-phile. Still, had "Planet of the Apes as American Myth" been a mere nostalgic retrospective, it would not have riveted me as it did. Something strange happened as I read Greene's lucid, insightful and cogent commentary. I came to understand, finally, just why the Apes series and the world it evoked had, during my pre-teen and teen years, intrigued me on so many levels at once...and why the series' admittedly outlandish sci-fi premise always had to it the ring of truth. Reading this book, I felt vindicated. It was as if the author said, "You were right all along, Paul. These films really DID matter -- and here's why."

Like the final scene in the original 1968 film, Greene's book forces you to look back at all that preceded it (in this case, the POTA films & TV series) in an entirely new light. For Apes fans this is, quite simply, a MUST-READ.

(Paul McComas is the author of UNPLUGGED, TWENTY QUESTIONS, and the upcoming comedic coming-of-age novel PLANET OF THE DATES.)
Not just about race...  Mar 10, 2005
The Ape movies were not just mirrors to show us our racial problems but also to show solutions to them. But it wasn't just about race, but also about foreign affairs such as the Cold War and the Vietnam Conflict, religion vs. science, nature vs. nurture, the fears of a nuclear holocaust, even our treatment of animals and how we treat women.
The book really helped me to understand the movies with a detailed background about the times in which the movies were created. The book also has a touch of humor even while explaining about what the films were trying to say or show. Sometimes without even knowing it.
Engrossing, intelligent, and eminently readable  Feb 16, 2005
Greene also does the text commentary on the 35th anniversary DVD of the original PLANET OF THE APES movie, and you can see why he was chosen. His deep insights into that film, and the ones that follow, are an absolute joy to read. If only the producers of the dismal remake of PLANET OF THE APES had read Green's book, they'd perhaps have understood how deeply symbolic and profound the original was. Although this is a scholarly work, it is also just a whole heck of a lot of fun. Five stars.
Planet of the Apes as an American "Animal Farm?"  Oct 6, 2004
As far back as Aesop, the creative community has realized that talking animals can be especially effective surrogates for making social commentary. This book is an extensive treatment of this issue and therefore is especially for those interested in the mythical and social aspects of the Planet of the Apes series. Needless to say, if you want to know more about the movies as movies or you're interested in an apes price guide, you should probably look elsewhere. However, those looking here will not be disappointed with Greene's spot on ability to weave social analysis from the various naunces of the apes movies.
From 1968 to 1975 the apes series produced five movies and two separate television series. This is a very prodigious production rate commensurate with the series' ability to key into the American psyche. Much like the Simpsons today, the apes series gave its writing staff a chance to touch on issues like the war in Vietnam and race relations from an artistically safe vantage point. Like our fast food the Planet of the Apes series was a uniquely American foray into the land of Aesop. It was, perhaps our American "Animal Farm."

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