johnlink ranks LOGAN’S RUN (1976)

There is a special place for 70s sic-fi. I’m not sure it is always a good place, but it’s a special place. Some 70s sci-fi is all-time-great stuff. Other 70s sic-fi is a psychedelic mess. Somewhere in the vast space between those two concepts is where LOGAN’S RUN resides. It’s a movie I had never seen before, but now I can say that I have.


I watched LOGAN’S RUN (1976) on 1.31.15. It was my first viewing of the film.

Soaked in bright primary colors in an aesthetic very clearly entrenched in the middle of the 1970s, LOGAN’S RUN is a movie set in the 23rd century. Some catastrophic event occurred, and people have moved into a domed city outside of Washington DC. People voluntarily give up their lives at 30, hoping to be reincarnated in new babies. Some people, called runners, decide to… well… run for it before they hit their expiration date. Another group of people, the sandmen, hunt them down.

One such sandman is Logan (Michael York). He does his job diligently, and he’s all too happy to execute runners. He soon meets Jessica (Jenny Agutter) and shuts down her skepticism about their accepted reality. He is then assigned by the AI which runs the city to venture outside the city walls to find something called The Sanctuary which supposedly houses the runners.

As might be expected, Logan soon doubts his orders and becomes a runner himself as he and Jessica try to escape the sandmen, specifically his former partner Francis (Richard Jordan). The outside world holds questions to which our heroes try to seek answers, some of which come in the form of an Old Man (Peter Ustinov).

LOGAN’S RUN is a movie which feels like it was designed with some psychedelics in the filmmakers’ system. A sex lair scene is particularly trippy, though the constant use of primary colors and bright lights baths the entire film in this sort of mind-assaulting visual. The cinematography is almost always interesting with plenty of unique shots forcing odd perspectives. Once the movie gets outside, it reverts to a more traditionally shot film. Even the score moves from electronic instruments to a standard score. Thematically, the movie is clearly making a point about society moving indoors being a detriment to humanity.


The movie also assaults ideas of the sexual revolution as a positive even as it has a couple of blatantly gratuitous nude scenes in its skewering. Sex is a commodity, and we first meet Jessica as a woman fighting against that idea. She turns down Logan, and they later end up in the aforementioned sex lair where they literally have to claw their way out of hordes of people trying to drag them into sexual deviation.

The movie doesn’t trust youth. The big bad is not ever really present. Most movies of this genre reveal some guy who is old who is hypocritical about people offing themselves in their youth. That sort of film deals in the jealousy the old have for the young. But LOGAN’S RUN, instead, has a computer AI running things. Fortunately, it turns out to be the most easily defeated and structurally deficient computer in history.

As this is the 1970s projecting into the 2270s, there is much to roll your eyes at. The computer systems are laughable, there is no camera system monitoring anything, and the escape seems all too easy. Yet the movie also predicts texting and a Siri like intelligence in phones. So it has that going for it. Which is nice.

LOGAN’S RUN is a weird, flawed, and somehow fun movie. Agutter and York manager to be likable despite having very little chemistry. Ustinov is wonderful in his small role. These characters turn out to be people we root for. And that fact helps save a movie which is undeniably dated. If you haven’t seen LOGAN’S RUN, it is worth giving a go as long as you are content to bask in that 70s vibe for a couple of hours.




FINAL SCORE: 6.25 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on January 31, 2015.

One Response to “johnlink ranks LOGAN’S RUN (1976)”

  1. Haven’t seen it in a long, long time. You’ve peeked my interest to go back and re-visit it.

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