Logan’s Run is a great example of what passed for Sci-Fi before Star Wars (1977) was released and presents a real 1970s vision of the future.
It’s the 23rd century (a century after the apocalypse, we’re told) and a bunch of happy nubile white people live in a world without strife inside the ultimate singles complex – a huge climate-controlled domed city that looks suspiciously like the Texas shopping mall it was filmed in (the now-defunct Dallas Market Centre).
Here they lounge around in skimpy disco clothing (although the women don’t wear any undies), do drugs, beam up sex partners on demand, and wait to turn 30, which is when their hand crystal starts blinking red and eventually turns black – then they get to float around in a cool zero-gravity arena and explode in front of a cheering crowd, in a quasi-religious “renewal” ritual called “Carousel” (pictured below).
Unbelievers go on the run and are hunted down and killed by ‘Sandmen’ – gun-toting cops employed by the city’s computerised overlords as a means of maintaining order – like Michael York’s square-jawed Logan 5 and his partner Francis 7 (Richard Jordan).
Either way, nobody gets to see 31.
When Logan discovers a clue about the runners’ hidden citadel, “Sanctuary”, his lifespan is abruptly abbreviated so he can go undercover as a runner – a harsh move that eventually turns Logan against his former superiors.
After meeting and falling for Jessica (Jenny Agutter), Logan joins her in an attempt to escape to the outside world.
Travelling through the ruins of Washington DC, they meet an old man (Peter Ustinov) – the first old person they’ve ever seen – and set out to bring him back to their futuristic city.
But Francis 7 is still in hot pursuit, determined to finish off both Jessica and Logan.
In the original novel by George Clayton Johnson and William F. Nolan, the “Carousel” was a population control measure – an idea somewhat buried in the film, which instead concentrates on Logan’s crisis of conscience and on making sure Jenny Agutter gets her flimsy chemise soaking wet at every opportunity.
Look out for Farrah Fawcett in a small role as an assistant to a devious plastic surgeon.
Her catfight with Jenny Agutter is definitely a highlight,
as is Jenny’s brief nude scene.
Roscoe Lee Browne
Michael Anderson Jr