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I can’t decide if this makes me a bad person, but after watching Logan’s Run, what stuck in my head was that Michael York is one of the least masculine leading men I’ve ever seen. Pictures don’t do it justice, but here’s one, and here’s another. And hey, more power to the 1970s for not forcing their leading men to be super macho.

Written by David Zelag Goodman in an adaptation of a book by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, Logan’s Run takes The Who’s plea “I hope I die before I get old” quite seriously. Set in a future where the planet has been ravaged, humanity survives by living in a giant domed city. But the dome is only so big, thus there needs to be some sort of population control. Upon turning 30, citizens take place in a bizarre, trippy ceremony/spectacle ending in death. But people are OK with this, because, hey, that’s just how things are. The few who try to escape are known as “runners”. Logan (Michael York) is a “sandman”, a person charged with stopping said runners. Logan eventually ends up running (hence the title), and taking a chick along for the ride (Jenny Agutter).

Certainly an interesting idea. Like too many 70s movies, though, Logan’s Run rather quickly becomes tedious and stays that way. The film runs just under two hours and it really feels like a half hour could have been chopped off without losing anything. Alternatively, a stronger film would have used the time to flesh out this version of utopia. Instead, we are left with only a vague concept of the futuristic society and its workings. Which is sad, because things like the all-knowing computer, Box (the totally ridiculous evil robot), and the totally sweet service that teleports hot chicks (generally) willing to have no strings attached sex to your room at the push of a button just aren’t given the time they so richly deserve.

My opening point aside, I actually think Michael York works here. There’s pretty much no way he’d get cast in the role today. Jenny Agutter is your typical female co-star. She’s a surprisingly strong character, though, for those who care about such things. And she does win an award for least convincing reason to disrobe (non-porn division). That’s another nice thing about the 70s. Nudity was strongly encouraged. That’s the version of history I choose to believe, at any rate. Richard Jordan is decent as the friend/company man, but he’s apparently the grandson of Learned Hand, so that’s awesome. Peter Ustinov shows up. As does Farrah Fawcett, in a completely unnecessary role. And yet, it is Farrah Fawcett. Working her into a movie was never a bad call.

The movie was nominated for two Oscars, Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography (Ernest Laszlo). It also was given a special achievement award for visual effects. And yes, the special effects look about 30 years old, but they are pretty cool.

Logan’s Run may be worth a viewing for its place in the scifi canon, but I’m not really sure it stands on its own. It doesn’t have a sense of humor or a sense of urgency. It doesn’t seem to be a particularly meaningful parable, and it doesn’t have a particularly gripping ending.

Trailer after the jump. I love old trailers. Read the rest of this entry »

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