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USA 1976
Directed by
Michael Anderson
120 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Logan's Run

Fans of Dr Who and Lost in Space, but probably few others will enjoy this lavishly tinpot sci-fi/fantasy film set in the year 2274 when what is left of the human race lives within the protective confines of a computer-operated city. Although every citizen’s need is taken care of it is on the condition that no-one lives past thirty at which time they are given the chance (allegedly) to re-incarnate via the "Carousell".

Logan 5 (Michael York) is a "Sandman" whose job is to terminate “Runners”, people who refuse to comply with the arrangement. He is given the assignment to deal with a colony of troglodytes who help the Runners but he realizes that he is being used by the operating system and decides to escape to the outside world with one of the Runners, Jessica 6 (Jenny Agutter). Another Sandman, Francis 7 (Richard Jordan), is sent in pursuit.

Based on a 1967 novel of the same name by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson the film began production in 1968 with the hope of cashing in on the then-current success of 2001: A Space Odyssey  and Planet of the Apes but a vexed production history during which time, writers, cast members, directors and producers came and went, dragging the process out for the best part of a decade. 

The result is a camp treat with all that you could want in terms of lame acting (Michael York is only marginally out-hammed by Richard Jordan), a laughably silly script and for its pre-CGI day lots of now very cheesy-looking SFX by special effects artists L. B. Abbott and Glen Robinson who picked up Oscars for their work.

To be fair the latter along with the art direction, production design and so on are impressive with most of the film’s budget of $9 million, a hefty amount for its day, being spent creating a future world, a mix of nine specially built stage sets and dressed real locations with post-production taking eight months.  

Evidently the film-makers had some aspirations to make a thought-provoking even edgy film but although the result was a commercial success, even in its day it was regarded with more derision than serious consideration.

FYI: Stanley R. Greenberg writer of the dystopian Soylent Green (1973) was attached to the project for a while and he came up with the idea of the carousell.

Jenny Agutter had had her screen breakthrough in the Australian classic, Walkabout (1971) whilst Farrah Fawcett who had become a big name thanks to Charlie’s Angels received a prominent credit as Farrah Fawcett-Majors despite her limited role.




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