Welcome to the 23rd century. Life is perfect. Mankind has achieved its goal of a utopian society. There is no starvation. There is no war. There is no disease. There is no poverty. The population faces no threats. To combat the uncontrollable possibility of overpopulation, a simple mechanism is put in place. At 30, each member of society must enter a celebration called Carousel. Those worthy will be reborn in a new body with a new identity.
Not everyone embraces this mandate. Many citizens run instead of entering Carousel when their time is due. These runners are tracked and executed by the vicious police force known as Sandmen. Logan 5 (York) is one of these Sandmen, dedicated to the service, enforcing the laws with a deep-rooted disgust of runners. Logan and his partner Francis (Jordan) track and kill a runner during Carousel, and pick over his belongings for evidence. When Logan asks the all-knowing computer for information on the runner’s belongings, he is tasked with infiltrating a group of renegades and finding the secret location of “Sanctuary.”
Logan takes on his new assignment with confidence, roping in a beautiful young woman named Jessica (Agutter), who he believes to be a renegade able to lead him to sanctuary. Logan leads Jessica to Cathedral, where savage youngsters live outside of the law. To gain her trust, he spares the life of a runner. Francis follows and terminates the runner, beginning his own investigation of Logan and Jessica.
Logan’s journey takes him into the arms of a corrupt plastic surgeon (and his hot bodied assistant, Holly (Fawcett)). As he gains Jessica’s trust, he also learns the secrets of Carousel, the city, the police and how humans came to the utopia they’ve built. He is forced to question everything he values…for himself, Jessica and all mankind.
Logan’s Run was nominated and won many awards for the art, cinematography, costumes and set design. The city is reminiscent of Disney World’s Tomorrow Land. The citizens boast vibrant green, red and yellow wardrobes, making the black Sandman uniforms stand out in contrast. The traveling pods are shot in a mix of models and actual size cars, adding to the continuity. Possibly the signature character of the film is the bizarre robot, Box (Browne); a humanoid whose body reflects the lights around him. His presence triggers a transformation in Logan’s beliefs and shifts the film onto a much larger stage.
Logan’s Run is based on the novel of the same name by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. Director Michael Anderson made every effort to translate the fantastic narrative to the big screen, mixing epic external shots of the cityscape with minute details, like the buttons on the Old Man’s coat. Logan’s Run is considered one of the landmark science fiction films, and it deserves that accolade. The technology imagery may not hold up, but the film’s underlying social commentary remains relevant.
York (Murder on the Orient Express, The Omega Code) plays Logan as a stiff, hard-nosed cop who undergoes a transformation as all he knows is relegated to a tiny speck of knowledge in the big picture. Agutter (An American Werewolf in London, The Eagle Has Landed) plays a perfectly innocent Jessica. Jordan, who was unforgiving and headstrong as Francis, went on to success in films like The Hunt for Red October and Gettysburg.
Logan’s Run wasn’t a favorite with critics, but it gathers new fans over thirty years after its release. The 1970’s produced several groundbreaking films in the horror and sci-fi genres, and Logan’s Run deserves its place alongside Soylent Green, Star Wars and Jaws.
The DVD release includes a commentary track with York, Anderson and costume designer Bill Thomas. There is also a behind-the-scenes documentary, trailer, and scene selection. The film is presented and subtitled in English and French. Logan’s Run has a running time of 119 minutes.