Logan's Run (1976) - Run Logan Run!
Capricorn 15's. Born 2244.
Enter the Carousel.
This is the time of renewal.
The year is 2274 and everyone lives a beautifully ordered sterile life in huge geodesic domes until the age of 30 when they are “renewed” (i.e. killed). Based on the novel Logan's Run (1967) by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, Logan's Run describes a society in which people are required to commit ritual suicide at the age of 30 (21 in the original novel), or are gunned down by 'Sandmen' who maintain peace and order. This has resulted in an inexperienced society of the perpetually young, in which no one questions the social order and those that do are terminated without thought. It has become a totalitarian regime which is presided over by a decrepit artificial intelligence.
Logan’s Run (1976) was directed by Michael Anderson and follows the progress of Logan 5 (Michael York), a renegade Sandman and his girlfriend Jessica 6 (Jenny Agutter) as they flee the city in search of the mythic Sanctuary within which they will be saved from their ritual termination. They are pursued by Sandman Francis 7 (Richard Jordan) Logan’s former friend and now arch enemy.
However, once outside the domed city they find the crumbling remains of Washington DC, complete with rundown old monuments and moss covered walkways. They come across an old man (Peter Ustinov), who embodies the living proof that society does not have to dispose of its members at the age of thirty. It transpires that the technique was originally a method of population control, but has taken on a religious meaning. Logan heads back to the city and after being caught and interrogated confuses the Al to the extent that it self destructs. The people flee the city as it explodes around them.
Jessica 6: A friend of mine went on carousel. Now he's gone.
Logan 5: Yes, well, I'm sure he was renewed.
Jessica 6: He was killed.
Logan 5: Killed? Why do you use that word?
Jessica 6: Isn't that what you do? Kill?
Logan 5: I've never killed anyone in my life. Sandman terminate runners.
The special effects and modelwork of the domed city are interesting, but the cityscape represents a rather naively realized future, which, far from looking like the ambiguous Utopia it purports to portray, actually resembles a vast theme park. There is effective use of matte art depicting Washington D.C.’s crumbling architecture. The film won an Oscar for it’s visual effects and was nominated for art direction and cinematography.
Jerry Goldsmith composed the excellent score for Logan’s Run. The film wasn’t a huge hit on release but successful enough to spawn a short-lived television series. William F. Nolan wrote two sequels, Logan's World and Logan's Search, published after the film's release. A remake of Logan’s Run with Ryan Gosling starring as Logan is set to start filming in the near future.
(At the climax of Logan’s Run there is a shot of a man with his hand up in the Vulcan salute, it looks like Star Trek will still be popular even in the 23rd century)
The critics wrote -
“A rewarding, futuristic film that appeals both as spectacular-looking escapist adventure as well as intelligent drama” (Variety)
"The special effects are impressive: too impressive, perhaps, for the players, who - possibly to keep up the appearance of an advanced society - are persuaded to act very woodenly indeed... There is plenty of fantasy adventure, and just to show that violence hasn't been quite forgotten the finale indulges in the usual explosions and crashing masonry." (Dilys Powell)
"A nitwit sci-fi saga... The movie, silly but affable, has some rather short-sighted social notions, and its portrait of an oppressive future society looks no more menacing than the California beach culture run riot. Everyone is bland and pretty, decked out in outfits that look like togas designed by Frederick's of Hollywood. The special effects are rather more elaborate, but not necessarily more convincing." (Time)
"Logan's Run" is a vast, silly extravaganza that delivers a certain amount of fun, once it stops taking itself seriously. That happens about an hour into the film, but even the first half isn't bad if you're a fan (as I am) of special effects and cities of the future and ray guns and monorails whizzing overhead. The movie was made on a very large budget - the figure $9 million has been whispered about Hollywood - and it looks it." (Roger Ebert)