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Logan’s Run

Logan's Run (1976) starring Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Richard Jordan, Peter UstinovLogan’s Run (1976) starring Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Richard Jordan, Peter Ustinov

Synopsis of Logan’s Run

Imagine a future world where everyone is young and beautiful, and can have anything they could ever want.  Except the freedom to leave.  And everyone faces mandatory death at the age of 30. Logan is a member of an elite police force called Sandmen.  They hunt down and kill “runners,” those trying to escape the fate that awaits on their 30th birthday. Logan is assigned to infiltrate the group of runners, and has his own “deadline” pushed forward.  Logan meets Jessica, a member of a clandestine resistance group that assists runners.  He decides to escape with her to Sanctuary. This is Logan’s Run. But a fellow Sandman frantically pursues …

Cast of characters in Logan’s Run

  • Logan (Michael York, Cabaret) – the loyal runner, who doesn’t have any issue with “the way things are.”  Although he finds his point of view changing once he faces imminent termination.
  • Jessica (Jenny Agutter) – Logan’s first lead into the underground society of runners. Jessica is more empathetic and compassionate that most. She becomes a reliable companion to Logan on their journey, and eventually much more.
  • Francis (Richard Jordan) – Logan’s partner, best friend, and now his hunter. Unlike Logan, he doesn’t question the system that they grew up in.
  • The Old Man (Peter UstinovQuo Vadis) – while searching for Sanctuary, Logan and Jessica find him living in the ruins of Washington, D.C.  A sweet old man, who has had no one to talk to for many years, except his cats.

Review of Logan’s Run

Logan meets Jenny for the first timeWhat would happen if American culture’s hedonistic tendencies kept growing? You’d end up with people having sex without any glimmer of love or commitment.  Logan’s Run begins with Logan 5 (Michael York) visiting the nursery with his best friend Francis (Richard Jordan) to look at his newborn son.  The son, Logan 6, that he will never know.  He first meets Jessica (Jenny Agutter) for a night of pleasure – “Let’s have sex.”  She changes her mind, leaving Logan both puzzled and interested in her.

Logan's flashing red life crystalSoon, the computer system that runs the city orders Logan to infiltrate the runners, and find out if the Sanctuary exists.  Sanctuary is a near-mythic place, but it might exist.  If it does, it threatens the order of the city – and must be destroyed.  Logan’s life crystal is turned black five years early – making him marked for death.

In theory, the people who reach the age of thirty go to the Renewal ceremony, where they are executed by laser, and supposedly reincarnated.  But the audience finds out later that this is a lie – they’re merely dead. And Logan, running and looking for Sanctuary with Jessica, finds out.

Farah Fawcett and Michael York in Logan's RunIt’s a fairly action-driven journey, as finding the exit from the City is dangerous enough.  The underground members don’t trust a Sandman, after all, and Logan’s nearly killed by a plastic surgeon. And yes, Farah Fawcett shows up in a minor role as the surgeon’s ditzy assistant. And once they leave the City, the danger doesn’t stop.

Neither Jessica nor Logan has ever been outside of the city, and it’s a harsh reality check.  They run into a variety of dangers, beginning a robot named Box (Roscoe Lee Browne, largely wasted here, unfortunately). Not to mention simply surviving in the outdoors. And Francis is tracking them

Peter Ustinov as the Old Man in Logans RunContinuing to search for Sanctuary, they stumble across an old man – played very well by Peter Ustinov. Slightly mad from years of loneliness, the old man is still a treasure trove of knowledge. About family. Marriage. Commitment.  And other things that this “brave new world” has forgotten, but desperately needs.  What will Logan and Jessica do with this knowledge?  You’ll have to watch and find out for yourself. Logan’s Run is an excellent movie, that I rate 4 out of 5 stars.

Editorial review of Logan’s Run courtesy of Amazon.com

If you can stifle the urge to laugh at its pastel unisex costumes and futuristic shopping-mall décor, this extravagant science fiction film from 1976 is still visually fascinating and provocatively entertaining. Set in the year 2274, when ecological disaster has driven civilization to the protection of domed cities, the story revolves around a society that holds a ceremonial death ritual for all citizens who reach the age of 30. In a diseaseless city where free sex is encouraged and old age is virtually unknown, Logan (Michael York) is a “sandman,” one who enforces this radical method of population control (but he’s about to turn 30 and he doesn’t want to die).

In Logan's Run, Michael York fires his Sandman weaponEscaping from the domed city via a network of underground passages, Logan is joined by another “runner” named Jessica (Jenny Agutter), while his former sandman partner (Richard Jordan) is determined to terminate Logan’s rebellion. Using a variety of splendid matte paintings and miniatures, Logan’s Run earned a special Oscar for visual effects (images of a long-abandoned Washington, D.C., are particularly impressive), and in addition to fine performances by Jordan and Peter Ustinov, the film features ’70s poster babe Farrah Fawcett in a cheesy supporting role. Jerry Goldsmith‘s semi-electronic score is still one of the prolific composer’s best, and Logan’s Run remains an interesting example of ’70s sci-fi that preceded Star Wars by less than a year.–Jeff Shannon