70s Flashback: Logan’s Run

 

In this first ’70s Flashback feature–a sporadic examination of some of the Me Decade’s greatest flicks punctuated by various clips–we’ll take a look at Logan’s Run. The film is one of the most gloriously cheesy efforts of the 1970s (which is really saying something given that the era also gave us such cultural obsessions as pet rocks and The Brady Bunch Variety Hour). But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t also terrific fun. Based on the classic sci-fi novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, the movie is set in a 23rd-century domed city that seems to be paradise on Earth. As the trailer so eloquently puts it, “there’s just one catch.” In this society, when you reach the age of 30 you must report to Carousel–a bizarre arena where the city’s residents participate in a deadly “renewal” ceremony that has them literally going out in a blaze of glory. Those who refuse to renew face the wrath of status quo-protecting guardians known as Sandmen.

Shortly after meeting the beautiful Jessica (the underrated Jenny Agutter), ennui-stricken Sandman Logan 5 (Michael York, in an unbelievebly hammy/awesome performance) is given a secret assignment to track down runners who may have reached the safe haven known as Sanctuary. The trouble is, he’ll have to go on the run himself to do so. Burdened with this unwanted responsibility, Logan suddenly finds himself squaring off against Francis 7 (Richard Jordan), his best friend and fellow Sandman. With Francis in hot pursuit, Logan and Jessica attempt to reach Sancturay. Along the way, they encounter such characters as a futuristic makeover maven (Farrah Fawcett-Majors in a cameo), Box (Roscoe Lee Browne), a killer robot who really doesn’t serve much of a purpose other than look really cool, and a cat-obsessed old man (Peter Ustinov) whose very existence proves that Carousel is a lie.  It’s all pretty fantastic, even if most of it was shot in a Dallas, Texas shopping mall. To celebrate this cinematic masterpiece, here’s a variety of rare clips that explore the movie’s world and its continuing legacy.

First up is the “Advance Preview of Selected Scenes” trailer that was sent to movie theater owners nationwide in 1976 by MGM with hopes of getting advance bookings. It features plenty of deleted/alternate footage that has never been available elsewhere. (This is frustrating given the film’s various VHS/Laserdisc/DVD and Blu-ray releases over the years). Let’s take a look:

Here’s a rare ad for the film’s TV debut that plays up Farrah Fawcett-Majors’ role:

Following the success of the film, CBS decided to bring the adventures of Logan and company to the small screen. Recasting the leads of Logan and Jessica with Gregory Harrison and Heather Menzies and giving the pair a wacky android sidekick (Donald Moffat, later of The Thing), the show ran for 14 episodes before being cancelled. It remains unavailable on DVD, which is a shame because it is tremendously goofy fun. Here’s a TV spot from the show’s repeat run on the Sci-Fi Channel in the UK:

This scene pretty much sums up every episode of the series:

And here’s a fan-made trailer that imagines what Logan’s Run would have looked like if it were originally released in 1936:

DISCO LOGAN’S RUN! I REPEAT, DISCO LOGAN’S RUN!

Finally, musicians Brian Reitzell and Roger Manning Jr. (whose various film soundtrack work includes Lost in Translation) released Logan’s Sanctuary in 2000. This concept album/quasi sequel to the film imagined what happened next to Logan, Jessica and company. The highlight is this epic fist-pumper that brings to mind Kipp Lennon’s equally terrific theme song to Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. You’re welcome.

Read more about it!

-The fascinating saga of Mego’s Logan’s Run toys

-Information on the various Logan’s Run comics (also see here)

-The Logan’s Run Wikipedia page

-A tribute to everyone’s favorite robot killing machine, Box! (Plankton, fish and protein from the sea not included)

-The World of Logan’s Run

-A review of the Logan’s Sanctuary album from The A.V. Club

-Logan’s Run, The Pillow

  • Rebel Ed

    I read “Logan’s Run.” I liked “Logan’s Run.” “Logan’s Run” is a good Science Fiction story. Then, they made a movie called “Logan’s Run.” As Lloyd Bentsen might softly say; “Logan’s Run…you’re no Logan’s Run.”

  • James

    I don’t think LOGAN’S RUN is cheesy, and I own the DVD. What is cheesy is looping 10 seconds of video of some stupid robot and playing some lame disco music. The “Search For Tomorrow” video was pretty good, though. I enjoyed all those shots of Jenny, including the nude one!

  • Rufnek

    I didn’t care for Logan or his Run when the film first came out. Never cared much for Michael York even in the relatively brief period he was considered “a star.”

    • Raysson

       Rufnek or Rebel Ed:
      Like you, I didn’t care for LOGAN’S RUN when it came out in 1976. The movie came out around  the summer of that year opposite the number 1 movie of 1976…”THE OMEN”,which was a runaway boxoffice horror masterpiece with Gregory Peck and Lee Remick…..LOGAN’S RUN did minimal business at the boxoffice going up against some strong competition films like “ROCKY”,and “NETWORK”,not to mention got really getting hammered and creamed at the boxoffice in the summer of 1976 when Universal re-release JAWS back into theatres that same year. LOGAN’S RUN was in fact cheesy 1970′s science fiction with cheesy special effects.

      BTW….I didn’t even care for the short-lived television series LOGAN’S RUN that was on CBS neither…which lasted one season and produced 14 episodes. Never cared much for Michael York in the 1976 theatrical version or Gregory Harrison who starred in the television version.

  • Robert

    I have a friend who was one of the “tight extras,” the extras who are up close to the main action. He’s visible in two scenes behind Michael York, and in the finale scene where the young people stare in wonder at the old man. It’s kind of cool to watch the movie and see a friend!

  • William Johnson

    If a remake is made the special effects will be better and the big question I have been thinking about since hearing about a possible remake: will there be female and nonwhite sandmen?

  • Mick

    Logan’s Run is my favorite film of all time. I remember seeing it in a theatre when I was 14 years old and I was blown away. All my friends favored Star Wars but I could not be swayed. Logan’s Run had something to say about our youth obsessed culture and is especially prophetic about our willingness to dispose of our senior citizens.

  • dave millard

    I oved this movie, even if it is kind of cheesy. Fell in love with Jennie Agutter back then, and was lucky enough to meet her on an airplane to London once..
    People seem to forget that this movie was one of Farrah Fawcett’s first, if not her debut..

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  • LoLo

    Must have seen ‘Logan’s Run’ a dozen times when it was released. Still a great, fun movie which I hope they don’t remake. It’s perfect just as it is.

  • K C Albertina

    Always thought the first half of the movie was better than the last half, which is the only reason I can’t put it with my all time favorites, but it’s still pretty good. But I have to admit that Jenny Agutter was one of my first crushes as far as actresses go and I still enjoy watching her movies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000096018904 Sparrowlord01

    I loved that movie when I was a kid. We saw it at a local Drive In Theater. It’s based loosely on the Nolan novels “Logan’s Run”, “Logan’s World”, and “Logan’s Search”. But it departs in many major aspects. Read the books and maybe the remake they are planning will be closer to them. Although certain scenes were definitely worth watching. And watching, and watching…..

  • jhagen1022

    IHIS WAS A GREAT FUTURE MOVIE GREAT IDEA FOR A CITY EXCEPT ITS COVERED AND ONLY LIVE TO 30 AND THE PUTTING YOURSELF ON THE CURCUIT IS A GREAT IDEA.

  • Lenny Cassioppi

    One of my alltime favorites. I even have a grandson named Logan now.

  • Bob62

    Awful cheesy, and it screamed 1970′s, but it’s one of those flicks you can watch over and over