Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sorry, But I've Really Gotta "Run" Today!

People can be one of a few ways when revisiting their childhood favorites of the big and small screen. Some look back at things they adored as youngsters and recognize them as crap, sometimes even finding them unwatchable. Some hold on to their feelings for a certain movie or TV show and see none of its possible flaws. Me? I can usually see the man behind the curtain, the gears in place behind the facade and the wires, the models, the fake backdrops and so on. I just sort of tend to not give a shit! Love is love and, nostalgic person that I am, I tend to retain my affection for the things I enjoyed as a youth, warts and all. It's possible that I happened to adore product that was good to start with and thus has held up over time, but it's more likely that, then as now, I simply have no taste! Ha!

The earliest posts here at The Underworld described how 1973's The Three Musketeers and the tie-in paperback version of the source novel served as my entree to the world of movie stars. Anyone who was on the cover of that book became a sought after screen performer for me. So, when 1976 brought the sci-fi paranoia epic Logan's Run to the screen, my nine year-old eyes were elated to see Michael “D'Artagnan” York starring in another movie. The (then) futuristic world of the film was both captivating and terrifying to my tender mind and the movie quickly became a favorite. (One poster for the film laid the intriguing plot out in far more detail, which is why I'm including both here.) It would very soon be eclipsed, both in notoriety and quality, by 1977's Star Wars, but even now I like to watch it for reasons which might become more clear in this post.

The story of Logan and his run first saw the light of day in a novel written in 1967, the year I was born. Taking place in the year 2116, it featured a world in which everyone is born with a crystal in his or her palm that changes color every seven years, turning black at age twenty-one. On that day, the person in question willingly enters a Sleepshop where so-called Sandmen put them to painless death, making room for another life in the tightly-controlled society. If anyone should happen to try to avoid this fate, he is referred to as a “runner” and is tracked down by a Sandman where a more violent end typically awaits him. Logan, a Sandman, eventually becomes a runner himself in order to investigate an underground network of runners and their aides.

The rip-snorting success of 1968's Planet of the Apes led to a resurgence of science-fiction films, but not without a certain amount of hesitancy from the studio heads. Charlton Heston was seemingly the only person who could guarantee a green light for most post-apocalyptic sagas, having starred in Apes, appeared in the sequel Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) and then headlined 1971's The Omega Man, being practically the only man left after a plague in that one. 1973 brought the overpopulation nightmare Soylent Green which also starred Heston. As a film version of Logan's Run was being developed by MGM, it hit several stops and starts and even was considered “dead” for a while. Thus, MGM, the makers of Soylent Green as well, felt safe in borrowing the whole Sleepshop concept for a centerpiece involving the willing demise of Edward G. Robinson's character. (In the source novel, he'd been injured in a riot, later dying of pneumonia.)

Thus, when the plans for Logan's Run were suddenly reactivated, the film would have to have a different mode of genocide at its core. This was hardly a problem since the script for the movie only followed the basic setup of the plot and little else (thereby joining a multitude of other flicks who've offended avid readers by not remaining true to, nor, according to many, being “as good as” the book!)

The movie proceeded with Michael Anderson (Around the World in 80 Days and The Wreck of the Mary Deare) directing. A bright, shiny, Utopian city was created with elaborate models and the use a of newly-built shopping center in Texas, deemed forward enough in design to suggest the year 2274 (but which now looks remarkably like 1974!) Expert cinematographer Ernest Lazlo was pegged to photograph it and innovative, multi-talented composer Jerry Goldsmith was hired to create the music.

Veteran costumer Bill Thomas was placed in charge of the clothing for the film. Youngsters were given outfits in shades of yellow, mid-range citizens were garbed in green and those getting on in years wore all red. The Sandmen wore black with grey accents while medical personnel wore silver. Initially, the young, carefree, nubile citizens were to be scantily clad, but when it was realized how much body makeup would be needed for all those extras, a more covered-up look was adopted.
Logan's Run had Michael York as the title character, a Sandman whose duty is to track down runners who have decided not to report to their scheduled demise on Lastday. Here, however, the inhabitants of the domed city are permitted to live until the age of thirty, not just twenty-one. Also, most aren't particularly afraid to die because of the ritual of Carrousel, a rousing ceremony in which those who have reached their time limit don red and white costumes and enter a coliseum where they are lifted into the air by a sort of gravitational pull. There they are blasted into oblivion, but believed to “renew” - in other words be reborn as an infant on the following day in order to start all over again. At least that's what the brochure said...
Spectators cheer their friends on towards renewal, firmly believing that as their human forms are decimated before their eyes, their spirits are reborn thereafter in a freshly born baby. (I found the ritual - complete with creepy hockey masks - quite terrifiying as a kid.) Not everyone is down with the concept of renewal, though. That's where the runners come in. When a person decides not to take part in Carrousel, they flee the city as fast as they can, searching for “Sanctuary” and desperately trying to evade the multitudinous Sandmen who are assigned to wipe them out.
York's best friend is Richard Jordan, a fellow Sandman. The two men zealously pursue their profession, never understanding why anyone would choose not to “renew” and taunting their prey with lines like, “Runner!... RUN, runner!!” before joyously zapping them to death with their ray guns. These guns, by the way, really did emit a green glow. This is not a special visual effect added in post, though they did present problems occasionally when they didn't fire correctly on cue. (Once the task of doing away with their target is done, they alert the command center and a “clean-up” crew wafts in on flying, one-man devices which mist the corpse with a solution that disintegrates the runner, clothing and all, within seconds! As a kid, this part creeped me out royally.) The world they live in is for the most part a free, hedonistic one in which all the necessities and amenities of life are provided and sex is there for the taking at most any time. Additional treats such as The Love Shop, in which a never-ending orgy is in place or The New You, in which a person can show up and instantly obtain a different face, are also available. Best of all, however, is the “circuit.” York's apartment has an alcove in it and with the flick of a remote control, a sex partner who has decided to put him or herself out there for the night is transported right into his living room! (Hilariously, his first click brings a man to the room. The guy seems interested, but York takes a pass. At least we know that in this ideal world of youth and free love, the gays are still present!)
York's second option arrives in the form of pert Jenny Agutter. She's garbed in a most revealing outfit that is missing most of one side. Despite having put herself up for action, her mood shifts when she sees where she is and she doesn't wish to proceed. It's got nothing to do with skin and bones York wafting around in a ginormous robe. It's that he's a Sandman and she lost a friend that day at Carrousel. She's clearly one who isn't 100% on board with the whole “renewal” thing. York notices an ankh on her neck, but before anything else can be discussed, Jordan arrives with two dames up for anything. He whips out a smoke bomb/inhalant drug and the party starts as Agutter slinks out of the room.
Things take a major change for the worst where York is concerned when he is selected for a special mission by the supercomputer that appears to run everything (and whoever it was that provided the female voice for it was terrifically, yet mundanely, terrifying.) It seems he is to have his life-clock accelerated to flashing red, which means his time is up, in order to convincingly pose as a runner and find out about a network of folks who are helping runners escape from the city. He is to find and destroy their ultimate destination of Sanctuary. York is crushed to discover that he is not, apparently, going to get the remaining four years of his life back either!

Knowing that Agutter is a questioning soul when it comes to the status quo about death at thirty, he tries to use her to get to the underground society who aid runners. During a Sandman mission to find a new runner, he and Agutter wind up in a place called Cathedral, where a passel of vicious children called cubs have amassed and who joyously cut up anyone who enters that they can. York finds the runner, but amazingly enough lets her go, thus proving his loyalty to Agutter. Unfortunately, Jordan has witnessed this and now knows that something is amiss with York.

York, in order to investigate further, goes to a The New You location where a runner he killed earlier obtained an all new face. Here we meet Miss Farrah Fawcett (-Majors), playing a cheerful and sunny receptionist. She flirtatiously takes York into the facility where a cosmetic surgeon (played by Michael Anderson Jr, the director's son) is startled to see a Sandman requesting such a procedure. The surgery is handled by a rather threatening-looking, multi-armed device that uses laser beams in order to both cut and heal the skin during the re-imagining.
Unfortunately, Anderson gets a call telling him to dispose of York and so the machine is set to cut, but not heal! Thereafter a fight ensues with Agutter grappling briefly with Fawcett while York fights for his life against Anderson, the spider-like machine pouring out dangerous laser beams all the while.

As York and Agutter attempt to leave the makeover office, Jordan arrives, angry and loaded with questions. York manages to fight him off, but now he truly is a runner himself. He and Agutter frantically scramble for a way out of danger and wind up entering The Love Shop. The Love Shop mists the entrants with some sort of drug on the way in, apparently to either enhance the experience or to further break down any potential inhibitions. You see, no one in the place has any clothes on and there are endless shadowy configurations of bodies, writhing and reaching. It's like a space-age Sodom and Gomorrah, but without the judgement. This entire sequence is done in slow-motion, with the hero and heroine separated by the throng of love-makers and trying to get through all the flesh to the next destination in their trek. Jordan gets his own share of unwanted action as he trudges through all the drug-hazed flesh in pursuit of his prey.

Agutter knows her way around and soon she and York are descending deep into the bowels of the city where a collection of her friends are gathered. Trouble is, no matter what they say, the rebels don't believe that York is on the level. In fact, to this point, he is still basically performing his mission as instructed. He and Agutter are threatened with glowing pain gas-spewing javelins. Things get even worse when a bedraggled Fawcett shows up to proclaim York and Agutter as enemies. Just then, a fleet of Sandmen burst through and start firing everywhere. With York beginning to feel a connection to Agutter (something new in the otherwise anything goes/free love way of their world) and having still not located Sanctuary, he opts to continue on with his run, following the directions he managed to glean from the members of the underground.

From here, the movie becomes something of a mini Jean Valjean/Javert pursuit with Johnson hot on the heels of York, grittily determined to find him and kill him as just another runner. He chases the couple down into the rusty, wet mechanisms of the city's power plant, eventually shooting out a window that creates a massive flood of water. This carries York and Agutter to a dilapidated old elevator that York accidentally activates, taking the two of them up to a bizarre place indeed.
Before they have even arrived at the elevator's destination, frost has begun to form on their hair and clothes. Coming upon a heap of old furs and skins, they strip out of their wet, cold togs and cover up in the pelts. They are in the middle of an enormousm, icy, frozen habitat, the domain of something called Box, a vaguely human-like silver robot who toddles around on wheels. There are ice sculptures of penguins and birds all around. He seems almost a sort of zoo-keeper to these creations.

They soon find out that its more like a museum, with hundreds of frozen runners packed up and on display in rows! Box was a mechanism intended to process and freeze incoming food, but when that job ceased to exist, he began to do the same to any humans that came along. Again, a fight ensues and, again, Jordan is right on the heels of it. York and Agutter stumble out of the frosty cavern to find a sight they have never before beheld, the rising sun.

Outdoor air, wind, clouds, rocks... all of these are unfamiliar to them. There is a simultaneous Adam and Eve in Eden/cast out of Eden vibe as they familiarize themselves with this whole new world, punctuated by a nude swim together in a refreshing lake. They are delighted to discover that here, in the outer world, their life-clocks are clear and have no color indicators on them at all.

This more natural sort of paradise is not all a delight, though. For the first time, York and Agutter experience cold, hunger and true physical oppression. They trudge on and on, eventually coming upon the remains of Washington, D.C., the United States capital, or at least what is left of it. Having never witnessed anyone over the age of thirty, they are shocked by the visage of Abraham Lincoln at his ivy-covered memorial. Even more surprises are in store when they enter the Senate and find quite a few live cats, another thing they've never witnessed. There in a cluttered, dusty room, with books piled high and cats everywhere, one might expect them next to find an overweight woman sitting in a chair reading Soap Opera Digest while dipping pretzel rods into a tub of ready-to-spread frosting, but no... What they find there is the biggest surprise of all, a real live old man!Peter Ustinov is the old man, a sort of puttering, flaky chap who's forgotten his own name and whose only company is his collection of felines and the leftover collection of books that are everywhere. He occasionally quotes T.S. Elliot to himself and to anyone who might be listening. In an amusing scene, Agutter asks Ustinov if the “cracks” in his face hurt. They ask many questions of him, though he is only capable of answering some of them. They finally decide to take him back to the domed city in order to prove to everyone that life can proceed outside and extend beyond thirty (the only effect being the deterioration of one's health, the graying of one's hair, the discoloration and wrinkling of one's skin and apparent weight gain!) Before this can happen, though, the dogged Jordan makes his presence known again, so bent on wiping out York that he hasn't even stopped to think about the fact that he, too, has been existing on the outside with no ill effects.

When York and Agutter get back to the city, entering through a rapturous water intake system and holding their breath for an eternity, they leave Ustinov outside, promising to return as soon as they can. York decides that the smart thing to do is to stand on a balcony and scream like a total madman, complete with bulging eyes and gnashing teeth, to a crowd about to enter Carrousel! Naturally, he is carted off by Sandmen to the supercomputer which wants some answers. The computer doesn't like his answers at all and, conveniently, begins to fall apart at the seams, allowing for an ostensibly happy ending. (But who's going to do all the work now?! And will The Love Shop still be open 24-7??)

Logan's Run was a success at the box office, bringing in at least three times its cost (some reports are as high as five times.) The time was ripe for a a sci-fi explosion, what with advances in the special effects since the prior heyday of the genre in the 1950s. This time, instead of low-budget flicks, though, plenty of money was being poured into them. Unfortunately, for this film, the release of Star Wars the very next year signified a quantum leap in the tools of the trade and within a very short window, Run began to look quite dated and at times rudimentary. 1978's Superman continued the upward trend with 1979's Star Trek: The Motion Picture and 1980's The Empire Strikes Back sealing the deal.

Nevertheless, Run does have the distinction of being the first Hollywood film to employ the use of a hologram. During an interrogation scene near the end, York's head is shown multiple times, speaking various lines and rotating. The model work for the domed city is considerable in size and scope. It just isn't detailed (or photographed convincingly) enough for it to come across completely. Regardless, the movie was awarded an Oscar for Special Achievement in its visual effects. It was nominated as well for Art Direction and Cinematography (the awards going instead to All the President's Men and Bound for Glory, whose cinematographer was Haskell Wexler.) Composer Goldsmith employed the conceit of having orchestral music for the outdoor scenes and synthesized music for the ones set inside the dome. His sometimes unsettling work (for me, no one wrote chase music as well as he could) went unnoticed by awards committees, but he hardly had to fret. He was granted the Oscar that year for one of his other movie scores, the creeptastical music in The Omen.

One thing that hampered the film to a degree was a series of cuts. The chief one that affected the flow of the story took place in Box's ice world. There was a segment that had York and Agutter posing naked and in an embrace for one of his ice sculptures, discovering a true sense of intimacy in the process. (See the still here of the sculpting in progress.) With this removed (for the purposes of securing a PG rating), the pair inexplicably remove their wet clothes, then put them back on in a remarkably brief amount of time! The Love Shop sequence was reportedly three times longer, but was also cut due to content and nudity (frontal nudity was obscured, but boobs and butts were prominently featured and remain included in the final print.)

In these years before PG-13, a PG movie could get by with a fair amount of non-sexual nudity as well as violence, but there was a limit, especially given the erotic nature of some of it. The studio didn't want an R rating that could prevent younger audiences from attending (or even re-attending as was common then), but also wanted to aptly convey the hedonism and adult themes of the material. By today's standards, there is quite a bit of skin including a brief topless shot of Agutter, an actress who was never shy about shucking down for the cameras.

Casting-wise, things almost went an entirely different way. Jon Voight was the first choice to play Logan. When it didn't work out with him, Anderson remembered York, who he had directed the previous year in Conduct Unbecoming. The casting of York made a difference when it came to the leading lady. Lindsay Wagner had been the front runner, but fellow contender Agutter had more chemistry with York and the two made a far better fit together. William Devane was cast as York's Sandman pal, but dropped out, making Jordan an eleventh hour choice. Jordan and York, again, make a far more compatible looking duo than York and Devane would have. Ustinov was only fifty-five at the time of filming, so he was rather heavily made up to look old, including a pair of spotty, squishy “hands.” The makers had tried to obtain the services of seventy-seven year-old James Cagney for the part, but he had been firmly retired since 1968 (that is, until four years later when he was coaxed into returning to the screen in Ragtime.)

Anderson's follow-up to this was the bizarre killer whale epic Orca. It's failure led him to TV where he helmed the TV miniseries The Martian Chronicles three years afterwards. He would continue on, alternating films for TV and the big screen until 1999, but there was little of note. His sole Oscar nomination had come for 1956's Around the World in 80 Days, but George Stevens won for Giant.

York was at or near the peak of his stardom when he starred in this, but that level of fame didn't continue for very long. A cinema actor since the mid-'60s, he'd had supporting parts in such prestige pictures as Romeo and Juliet and Cabaret before landing the lead in the aforementioned The Three Musketeers and its immediate sequel The Four Musketeers. He's never stopped working (quite busily as a matter of fact!), but apart from small roles in the high-profile Austin Powers movies, he hasn't had the same type of fame and exposure he enjoyed in the 1970s.

Like York, Agutter's film career started in 1964, though is younger than he. Though she had worked in several movies and TV programs (including a bit as Julie Andrews' daughter in Star! in 1968), her breakthrough came in 1971's Walkabout. Films like 1977's Equus and 1981's An American Werewolf in London kept her (and her figure!) in the public eye. Just like York, she has continued to work busily and steadily, but not in too many attention-getting roles. She does have a cameo in this year's The Avengers.

Stage actor Jordan began in early-'60s TV before graduating to the big screen in 1971 with two Burt Lancaster movies, Lawman and Valdez is Coming. He also worked twice with Robert Mitchum in 1973's The Friends of Eddie Coyle and 1974's The Yakuza and with John Wayne in Rooster Cogburn in 1975. In 1976, he starred in the fondly-remembered miniseries Captains and the Kings. He continued to work on TV and in films such as Dune, The Hunt for Red October and Gettysburg. Sadly, he developed a brain tumor which killed him in 1993 at only age fifty-six. At the time, he was working on The Fugitive, but the role was ultimately played by Jeroen Krabbe when Jordan became too ill to continue. (At the time of his death, his live-in companion was the quarter-of-a-century younger Marcia Cross.)

The person playing Box, both vocally and with his body inside the wheeled contraption, was Roscoe Lee Browne. A veteran of many films and TV shows, known for his distinctive voice, he had worked for Alfred Hitchcock in 1968's Topaz and William Wyler in 1970's The Liberation of L.B. Jones. He'd also had a memorable supporting part in the John Wayne western The Cowboys in 1972. Continuing to work regularly right up to his death in 2007 at the age of eighty-one, he was the narrator of the 1995 critic's darling pig movie Babe.

In 1976, there really wasn't anyone as hot as Farrah Fawcett-Majors. She'd been acting since 1969 with a featured role in the infamous Myra Breckinridge and a recurring part on David Janssen's series Harry-O, but her marriage to Lee Majors and her new role on the massive hit show Charlie's Angels catapulted her to mega-stardom. She had a best-selling poster, her hair was the talk of the world (imitated by many a wannabee) and for a period of about two years she was famous in a way few people can ever imagine. There was something radically different and fresh about her. She was what she was at precisely the right time to be so.
You must remember that in these days, there was no such thing as the Internet or even VCRs. If a person loved a certain star, they got their fill from either snatching up tabloid magazines with her picture in them, making damn sure they were in front of the TV set when her series aired or else went to see movies she appeared in, multiple times if necessary. Fawcett had been suggested to the director of Logan's Run by York, who'd seen her playing tennis one day in the sun and thought she would be perfect for the small role of the cosmetic surgeon's assistant. Little did they know that by the time the movie opened, she would be a positive sensation thanks to the debut of Angels. This fact led to decent billing for her and a fairly prominent position in the advertising and poster art. It worked, too, because one reason a lot of people wanted to see Logan's Run was because Farrah was in it. Folks just wanted to see as much of her as possible. I know I did at the time, too.

When she left Angels after the first season, the wheels started to come off of her career. A lawsuit from the producers didn't help. What seemed like it would be a sure thing – a career on the big screen – petered out when flop after flop (Somebody Stole Her Husband, Saturn 3 and Sunburn) came forth. And since she was contractually required to return to Angels periodically, viewers could catch her there rather than shell out to see her substandard movies. It took quite a few years and some career reinvention before things were right again, though she never again matched the white hot fame she had in 1976 and '77. Still, her status as a show biz icon is secured. There's even a Barbie attempting to commemorate her legendary poster and famed hairstyle.
Anderson Jr first began as a ballet student, breaking into films as a young man in 1958 at the age of fifteen. He went on to appear in movies like 1960's The Sundowners (as the son of Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr), 1964's Dear Heart (as the son of Angela Lansbury, but shown here with Glenn Ford) and 1965's The Sons of Katie Elder (as the youngest brother of John Wayne, Dean Martin and Earl Holliman) among others. By 1976, he was chiefly a TV actor, having worked on The Monroes and guested on many other shows. Surprisingly enough, this was the first time he'd worked for his director father. In 1980, they would do so again in the miniseries The Martian Chronicles. He retired from a forty year screen career in 1998 and is nearing seventy now.

Ustinov had been making movies since his early twenties back in 1942. A two-time Oscar winner for Spartacus (1960) and Topkapi (1964), he'd been nominated previously for Quo Vadis (1951) losing to Karl Malden for A Streetczar Named Desire. In 1969, he earned a nomination for Best Original Screenplay for the prior year's Hot Millions, but lost to Mel Brooks for The Producers. At the time of Logan's Run he'd been toiling away in several Disney movies, but would soon inherit the role of Hercule Poirot in a series of Agatha Christie mysteries made for the big (and, later, small) screen. He died of heart failure in 2004 at the age of eighty-two. Notice the portrait of President Richard Nixon in this shot below. There was originally a reference to him from Ustinov in the script, mentioning that he'd been known as “Tricky something,” but this was deleted in order to avoid controversy.
Does this little girl (playing one of the less violent “cubs” in the movie) look familiar? Little Michelle Stacy was a very busy child actress from 1974 until 1980. She appeared on Mannix, Police Woman, Eight is Enough, The Incredible Hulk and in the movies Demon Seed and Day of the Animals, also providing the voice of Penny in Disney's The Rescuers. She is perhaps best known, though, for her hilarious role as one of the passengers in 1980's Airplane! She's the cute young thing who orders coffee and remarks that she likes it “black, like my men.” Exiting the business immediately after, no one seems to know what became of her apart from her enrollment at USC in 1990. Reportedly, future Olympic gymnast Mitch Gaylord and his brother Chuck are also on hand here as cubs. I do believe this is him in the second picture below in the green rags.The film was a big enough success to inspire a rather low-rent, re-envisioned TV series version by the same name. This gave MGM a way to utilize all the costumes and some props left from the movie. It ran from September of 1977 to January of 1978 with fourteen episodes produced (of which only eleven saw airtime before cancellation.) In the TV show, Logan (played by Gregory Harrison) was joined by Heather Menzies (of The Sound of Music), an android (played by Donald Moffat) and the obligatory robot as he made his run across a post-apocalyptic America. In constant pursuit was Randolph Powell as his Sandman ex-friend. The series had a cabal of elderly citizens in charge of the domed city, who called all the shots and who promised an extended life span to Powell if he brought Harrison back. With her long, blonde, feathered hair, Menzies was sort of a conglomeration of Agutter and Fawcett.
It's fashionable now for people to make fun of the sometimes crappy effects of Logan's Run. The aforementioned model work isn't too hot and the destruction during the escape from Box's lair is particularly rough. Some of the work during Carrousel, though, is good and the machine belonging to the doctor at New You remains threatening looking. What's interesting is that some of the details of the movie have come to pass in a way. The circuit method of having a sexual partner delivered to one's door has come true via the Internet in all ways except for the actual transportation method. Those up for action can log on and obtain a partner rather swiftly. The use of lasers for surgery (including cosmetic) is no longer science-fiction and computers are utilized every bit as heavily as what's seen in the movie. The doctor even uses a cordless phone, something that would soon be commonplace, though our own sported antennae on them for a few years. Certainly the emphasis on youth hasn't diminished in the slightest. In the gay world it's possibly even worse, with the term “eldergay” coming to describe practically anyone over forty!

Back in the stone age when I was a kid, there were no such things as video rentals, but many times a Super8, truncated version of a movie would be available for purchase. Ranging from about 18 to 20 minutes in length, they were sort of a highlight reel of the given movie. Note how this one gives Farrah third billing alongside the two leads! My father's friend had this and lent it to us once to show on our old projector. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven until I realized it wasn't the whole movie. That was something of a let down.

Speaking of truncated, many folks have speculated that if Logan's Run was restored of the various cuts that occurred before release, it might be better regarded (and certainly it would have the appeal of more skin!) The trouble is, all of the missing footage is believed to be destroyed. MGM, under the rein of Canadian investor (and, to me, royal ass wipe) Kirk Kerkorian, auctioned off or otherwise sold everything of value during the 1970s and anything that couldn't ensure further monetary gain was merely tossed into the garbage! Thus, it is unlikely that there will ever be a deleted scenes option on a DVD release of the movie. The trailer does include a couple of brief snippets of things that were later removed.

York remarked in a DVD commentary that he had forgotten how much of Logan's Run involves water. Maybe that's another reason I like it. I have always had a thing for rushing water, swimming, waterfalls and so on (obviously!) Considering the free-living nature of the future depicted in the movie and the fact that the Sandmen are all just that, men, one might expect there to be no swimsuits in this pool/jacuzzi scene, but once again the restraints of a PG rating made suits mandatory. At least they are skimpy! The movie also appeals to my love of costumes undergoing distress (another aspect found in '70s disaster movies.) By the end of the movie, York and Agutter's clothes are practically shredded. Oh, and let's not forget the extra (obviously a Trekkie before they rebuffed that name and became Trekkers) who holds up the Vulcan hand sign for "Live long and prosper" at the finale!

There has been talk of a remake for years, though something always seems to stymie it. Since I am not in any way a fan of CGI, I doubt that I will be seeing it unless it looks positively irresistible (and that's if it even sees the light of day.

11 comments:

Ken Anderson said...

Terrific post! I love futuristic movies that look more of their own era (in this case, the mid 70s) than anything else. I remember being very psyched for this film when it came out-poring over my issue of "American Cinematographer" that detailed all the state-of-the-art effects. The audience I saw it with let out a loud whoop of laughter the first time we see the model of the city with that little car moving through the tube. It looked like a kid's dream Hot Wheels set. Also remember the audible gasp of pleasure when Farrah made her appearance. No one had seen her that "size" before and she was just gorgeous. Glad you highlighted this movie, for which I have a fondness, although I don't get to beg off by saying I was only 9 years old. I was in college. Talk about no taste!

Michael O'Sullivan said...

Yes when I met Michael York at a book signing 4 or 5 years ago now he was talking about an expensive remake of Logans Run ... we are still waiting !

Poseidon3 said...

Thanks, guys, for taking time to comment. MOS, Michael could play the old man by the time they remake this movie! (Then again, the book didn't have that character if they are going by that... Logan and Jessica took a rocket ship to Mars and Francis, far from being a diehard enemy, actually wound up being one of the chief underground people to help runners! So they really made some changes for the screenplay.)

Ken, I'm glad you can vouch for the Farrah-mania. She was simply WHITE hot at the time. BTW, I know from your own incredibly insightful and understatedly stylish site that you have plenty of taste!

sowhatelse said...

I, too, am old enough to have seen this first run and have fond memories of that era and its sci-fi offerings, including such "classics" as The Omega Man, Soylent Green and Silent Running. Jenny Agutter never did anything for me but Michael York always struck me as being very talented so I was never sure why his career faltered the way it did. Of course, Cabaret is my favorite movie of all time and I also loved him in Something For Everyone.

You made a brief mention of Randolph Powell. He is forever a superstar in my book for going shirtless on Dallas and revealing a veritable forest of chest hair. He was so wasted on that midget troll, Lucy!

Off to netflix to add Logan's Run to my queue. Thanks for the memories, Poseidon!

Scooter said...

I have loved Logan's Run ever since I was a kid. While the effects are simple by modern standards, at the time they made quite an impression on this 9-year old. I had the same reaction to the Space Ship Earth attraction at Disney's EPCOT center a few years later. I guess I just loved "model" visions of the future!

Flying Spaghetti Monster said...

I saw this movie 27 times in the theaters. Some Saturdays I would watch it 4 times.

If you watch Futureworld, they totally recycle Logan's apartment, the same set is redressed and used for the bar/clubhouse on the "Martian surface" - it's really freaky.

angelman66 said...

This is the best article on Logan's Run I have ever seen! Love the way you cover the careers of all the players in true film historian style. (We were just watching the brilliant Woody Allen movie Interiors and I had to grin when I saw Sandman Richard Jordan emoting somberly opposite Diane Keaton. I had just watched Logan again a few weeks before.)

I had no idea that Voight and Lindsay Wagner had been cast in the leads, and although I like them both, I am so happy they went with the PERFECTly cheekboned Michael York and the amazing Jenny Agutter, who proved herself a fine actress (and stripped down even further!) the next year in Equus.

I love your blog. You inspire me!

angelman66 said...

Oh, and I too paid my ticket in order to catch a glimpse of Farrah on the big screen. She was the box office draw for 10-year-old me. My room was plastered with every Farrah poster, including the one in your post in the silvery dress as Holly.

Poseidon3 said...

Thanks very much, angelman66 for visiting The Underworld and for taking the time to comment here. I hope you will wade through some of the other subjects here that pique your interest. I appreciate your personal reflections/observations about Logan's Run, a movie I enjoy every time I see it!

Monster A Go-Go said...

A bit late to your Logan's Run party, but I just stumbled on this (although I've visited your page plenty of times in the past). Although i was never a big science fiction fan, I, too, saw this in the theaters as a kid. I was 11 in 1976 and had the privilege of seeing part of this flick from the projection booth of the beautiful, old Crest Theatre in Fresno, California thanks to the kindness of the projectionist who invited my and my buddy up to have a look-see. (Nothing unsavory happened up there...but this was back in the day when things were more innocent.) That experience led me to really loving this movie far more than I should have. I was obsessed with it. I bought/read the original and two sequel novels (LOGAN'S WORLD and LOGAN'S SEARCH), the comic books, the Farrah posters as holly, the Farrah beach towels as Holly, the Farrah coffee mugs and tumblers as Holly, i got the original movie poster, a jigsaw puzzle of the poster, and found/joined the LOGAN'S RUN ORGANIZATION OF FANS (and still have some of their quarterly fanzine issues someplace). I even had a birthday cake once that was decorated to resemble the poster. Blah blah blah. Even though I moved on quickly and let it go, I still had a special place for the movie (and subsequent TV series...which was rather crappy really) in my heart. I never met anyone from the film, but did happen to meet Gregory Harrison a few years ago. He looked incredible for his age and was also talking about how there was a reboot coming with Ryan Gosling scheduled to star...but that obviously didn't happen. (I also met Heather Menzies once on a different occasion and she was very dismissive, called me a "Trekkie" for some reason and was just rather rude.) And i'm rambling on. Sorry. Basically I just wanted to thank you for the article and the trip down memory lane of one of my greatest childhood experiences. Cheers!

Poseidon3 said...

It's never too late Monster A Go-Go! I appreciate you taking time to comment and for sharing your enthusiastic memories of this movie. Elsewhere on this site is a tribute to Gregory Harrison in which I recall my own private encounter with him. Never had the "pleasure" of seeing Menzies anywhere... :-) I was nine when this came out, so I didn't quite get to see (or can't recall) ALL of the tie-ins you mentioned. It sounds overwhelming! Thanks again for sharing.