in ,

Logan’s Run


‘…Interesting to hardcore sci-fi fans and cultural historians, Logan’s Run is all dressed-up with nowhere to go…’

Sigh. The poster for Logan’s Run looks pretty good. Michael York has a good Han Solo look, blaster in his hand. Jenny Agutter has a Carrie Fisher look too, and there’s deadly robots and the promise of action at more than walking pace. But Logan’s Run was a disappointment to those seeking sci-fi action in 1976, and despite considerable efforts by this critics to put lipstick on this particular pig, Michael Anderson’s film is pretty stodgy fare.

The first problem is that this really isn’t for kids; based on a novel by William F Noland and George Clayton Johnson, Logan’s Run belongs to the dystopian strand that featured Planet of the Apes, The Omega Man, Soylent Green and more worried looks into an uncertain future. After the teenage revolt of the late sixties and early 70’s, we imagine a future in which the yoof rule, and anyone older than 30 faces certain death on the mystical Carousel. Logan (York) is a Sandman, a cop with a responsibility for hunting down runners, those who refuse to accept their time is up and leg it towards Sanctuary, a semi-mythical destination point that turns out to be a weed-encrusted Washington DC inhabited by waffle-merchant Peter Ustinov and a lot of smelly-looking cats.

Yup, if the last twenty minutes of Star Wars was not an assault on the Death Star, but a long scene of Peter Ustinov reading from TS Eliot’s poems about cats, would we still love it? Logan’s Run was meant to pay off with the jaw-dropping sight of the world’s first person/hologram, but the underwhelming sight of this on a tv screen is a complete let-down. Otherwise, there’s a unhealthy obsession with sex; Logan and his gal undress to pose for killer robot Box (Roscoe Lee Browne) only to get dressed immediately; the key scene here is cut. And a whole orgy sequence was shot but is omitted, probably the right move.

Credit Star Wars for putting the fun and derring-do back into adventure cinema; Logan’s Run reeks of adult ideas, ugly knee-jerk politics, and semi-serious lectures about the direction of the human race. Some of the production design looks sleek, but the film’s second half, dull and preachy, would send children of all ages to sleep. Interesting to hardcore sci-fi fans and cultural historians, Logan’s Run is all dressed-up with nowhere to go; fortunately it proved to be the last gasp of the hell-in-a-hand-basket warnings about the future.


Leave a Reply
  1. Can’t remember being so picky back in the day when sci fi often came with dods of exposition and lectures. Kind of fitted into The Omega Man end-of-the-world genre and before those Jedi came along to turn sci fi into cowboys and Indians. The two leads were good to watch and that kind of made up for a lot else. Wouldn’t have rated it any higher than you but seem to remember it was decently enjoyable. May well go back and revise those notions.

    • It’s good for the reasons you mention, but kind of stuff and preachy too. Even Omega Man manages to keep the lecturing down to a minimum….

            • In sci-fi, I remember Jenny Agutter better for her cameo in Red Dwarf: Psirens. As for much of the acting in Logan’s Run, I may not be as impressed with it in retrospect. Having first seen some of it when I was a kid, I did think then that Michael York was heroically impressive.

              • Always interesting to compare our impressions of films at different ages. I remember being impressed with John Wayne and bogart on telly as a youngster and still enjoying them now.

                • It’s indeed fascinating how children could be so wondrously impacted by famous films when first seeing them via the early limits of TV. Particularly 2001: A Space Odyssey in my case.

  2. I’ve survived my 30’s…twice! Luckily, carousels make me dizzy. I can’t see Jenny Agutter in a movie without thinking of the movie September, set in Scotland, also starring sandman Michael York, but I digress. Still hard to imagine suicide as a sort of Gov’t cult religion…(clearing throat), and when I visited Eden Project in Cornwell, I did check my palm for crystal implants. Subtitle could have been Planet of the homo saps… “Hell in a handbag?” hmmm, into how many purses have you peaked?

    • Stop the press, I’ve just googled Spetmeber, never heard of it, and what a cast! Thanks for putting such pearls before me! Actually, maybe you’re right about putting too much faith in government, they seem to calculate the damage to the population of what they do….is going to hell in a handbag a local expression? Never thought about it, will have to investigate myself! Eco project sounds just like Logan’s world, these Bucky-ball domes give the game away!

      • You see, that’s why we do what we do. You write brilliant film commentary and we engage in hopefully witty repartee! Americans claim the ‘hell in a handbasket’ slang as their own, and it was ‘heaven’ not hell as in not a care in the world. But I doubt it since others claim a handbasket was the thing used to cart off heads after guillotining… The earliest mention is 1682, something about Whigs and popish plots and devils fetching one to ‘hell in a handbasket.’ I’m delighted I could mention a poignant movie I adore, of which you knew naught! It’s a gem hiding as a plaid paean to family, loss, longing, and how nature never judges.

    • It’s not boring, but doesn’t quite work for me. The politics are interesting, but of their time. But worth a whirl on the Carousel!

Leave a Reply