Logan’s Run is a 1976 science fiction film based on the novel of the same name by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. It depicts a dystopian future society in which population and the consumption of resources are managed and maintained in equilibrium by the simple expediency of killing everyone who reaches the age of thirty, preventing overpopulation. The story follows the actions of Logan 5, a “Sandman,” as he “runs” from society’s lethal demand.
Within a domed city, Logan 5 (Michael York) watches as an infant’s hand is implanted with a Lifeclock, a crystalline device that changes color as a person ages. As someone approaches his “Last Day,” the Lifeclock blinks red and finally turns black, at which time the person must report to Carrousel, where—he or she is told—there is the hope of Renewal, a sort of reincarnation.
Logan is a Sandman, responsible for hunting down and killing Runners, people who refuse to report to Carrousel when their Lifeclock expires. Logan is accompanied by his friend, and fellow Sandman, Francis 7 (Richard Jordan).
The two watch a Carrousel ceremony as the participants assemble in an arena, are lifted up by an invisible force and appear to be struck by electric arcs and vaporized while the cheering audience shouts, “Renew!”. Neither Logan nor Francis have known anyone who succeeded in this, but Francis believes that Sandmen always renew. After helping Francis hunt and kill a Runner, Logan gathers the Runner’s personal effects, which include a small silver ankh.
At home, searching for recreational sex on “The Circuit”, Logan meets Jessica 6 (Jenny Agutter), who wears a collar with an ankh pendant. After discussing with Logan why it’s wrong to run, Jessica leaves, deciding not to have sex with him.
At Sandman headquarters, Logan turns in the items he recovered from the Runner he and Francis killed, including the ankh. The computer, scanning the ankh, explains to Logan that it is the symbol for a group assisting Runners who are trying to reach “Sanctuary” and gives him a secret assignment: find Sanctuary and destroy it. So that he can pass as a Runner, the computer advances Logan’s Lifeclock so that it blinks. When Logan asks what he should do if he needs assistance from another Sandman, the computer refuses to answer, implying that no other Sandman will know of this mission. When Logan then asks if his Lifeclock will be restored to its previous setting once he has completed his assignment or if anyone has actually ‘renewed’, he again receives no response. Keep reading…
This wasn’t the film I was planning on watching tonight if I’m honest, but I’m quite glad I did. This is one of those films that I’ve only ever seen bits of, and I’ve never actually seen it all the way through.
I love stories of dystopian societies anyway so this was a real treat. Michael York does a fantastic job as Logan battling to escape from the society. It was great how they really just down played death and, apart from the runners, no one really cared about it.
A couple of gripes about this film though. The sets were obviously models which were OK quality. I’m not sure of the budget of the film, but they could have spent a little more on them! The special effects were a bit poor. Most of the effects were just like multiple coloured clouds or something. The wide angle shots of Washington covered in vines was also a bit dodgy. It’s like they were using the 1950′s handbook on how to make scenery look real.
One thing I would like to have seen more of is how it all came about. How did it get there? Who put it there?