Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


Logan-6 (Michael York) makes an appalling discovery
LOGAN'S RUN (1976). Director: Michael Anderson.

In the 23rd century, people live in huge domes by the sea and are only allowed to live until age thirty. At that time there occurs the ritual of the carousel, where people who have reached the deadline are either destroyed or renewed, (apparently a form of reincarnation). People who do not wish to take part in this ritual and hope to reach a ripe old age instead become "Runners" who are tracked down and killed by law officers known as "Sandmen." One of these Sandmen is Logan-5 (Michael York), who is given an assignment to trace over a thousand missing runners to a secret place known only as Sanctuary. He also learns to his horror that no one has ever been renewed, and then is technologically aged to near-death so he can masquerade as a runner. Quite understandably, Logan decides to become a runner himself, and takes off with a young woman named Jessica (Jenny Agutter), who is part of the Sanctuary network helping runners, but it's a question of what they'll find even if they manage to escape ... Logan's Run has an intriguing premise and the first half of the film is quite entertaining, but the second half (in which the story veers from the novel, which was already loosely adapted) becomes increasingly stupid and tedious, with a frankly ridiculous and almost comically simplistic finale. York [Something for Everyone] gives an excellent performance (the film is not really worthy of it) and perhaps demonstrates star charisma in this more than in any other movie. Jenny Agutter [Dominique] is also quite good as Jessica, as is Richard Jordan as another Sandman, and friend of Logan's, named Francis. Unfortunately Peter Ustinov is a little too weird as an old man our intrepid pair encounter, and Farah Fawcett-Majors is simply terrible as a nurse to a cosmetic surgeon. The surgeon, Doc, is played with flair by Michael Anderson, Jr., the son of this movie's director, in an exciting laser surgery-run-amok scene; Anderson Jr. had many credits, perhaps the most famous of which is In Search of the Castaways. The FX in the film are variable, but there are some striking shots of a deserted, half-ruined Washington, D.C.  Jerry Goldsmith has contributed his usual adept musical score. An interesting aspect of the film is that homosexuality seems completely accepted in the futuristic society, however flawed it may be in other respects. Logan's Run was, I believe, very successful, and influenced later films as much as it was influenced by earlier ones. The following year a very short-lived TV series was made from the film. NOTE: In the novel everyone must die at only 21!

Verdict: Semi-literate Hollywood "sci fi" with more than a few lively moments. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

Very astute review of one of my nostalgia-favorites, Bill. I was 10 years old when my dad, a huge fan of sci fi and horror, brought me to this. I was dazzled by the fabulous production design, gorgeous stars, revealing costumes and the sexy, hedonistic themes. You are right, the plot veers off during/after Logana and Jessica make their escape, but I don't mind, and character turns by the great Roscoe Lee Browne and Peter Ustinov keep it interesting. But the production and concept of this film remain brilliant--I have the Blu-Ray version and have watched it several times already!!

Still have crushes on all of em--Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Farrah Fawcett (Majors!), Richard Jordan--wish I could run into all of them at that futuristic "Love Shop" as in the movie!! (Sorry, TMI!)

Thanks for covering ANOTHER one of my favorites!!

William said...

My pleasure! I think I liked this more when I first saw it, although it does have its moments. I read one recent review of the film that praised the movie and Agutter, but knocked York's performance and acting skills, which I thought was strange, as I've always believed York was a very talented actor, even if his looks, with the broken nose and all, are an acquired taste.

Much of the "Love Shop' sequence was left on the cutting room floor due to censorship, unfortunately.