“The naming of cats is a difficult matter. Not one of your holiday games.”
In 2274 people no longer live outside on the surface of the planet. Because of what is called a catastrophe, what’s left of civilization has moved to cities in sealed domes. Life is idealic, utopian. There are no problems. Life is the pursuit of pleasure. To maintain this society all aspects of human existence are controlled and monitored by computer.
One of the society’s concerns is overpopulation. To solve it the computer that runs this existence has determined that people must die when they reach the age of 30. To get people to comply they are told that they are going through a re-birth ritual. When they are born people have a chip or crystal implanted in the palm of their hand called a life clock. Each age range is represented by a color, yellow, green, and red. The chip changes color depending on the person’s age. When the chip is red and then begins to blink, your time is up. Those that have had their life clock run out are killed as part of a ceremony at a community forum called Carousel.
When someone attempts to flee the city, and their destiny, they are called “Runners”. A group of police called “Sandmen” are sent to find the person and kill them. They work for the department known as “Deep Sleep”. Logan 5 (Michael York) is a Sandman. He and his partner Francis 7 (Richard Jordan) work as a team.
An underground group of anarchists that try to aid Runners to a place they call “Sanctuary” use the ankh symbol as a means of identification among the group. Logan 5 finds an ankh on the body of the last runner he terminated. He presents it with the victims other possessions to the computer not knowing what it is or what it is for. The computer tells Logan 5 the meaning of the ankh and of Sanctuary. He is told that Sanctuary is outside the city domes and he is assigned the task of finding and destroying Sanctuary.
To spur him along the computer advances his clock so that it is blinking. Logan remembers that a woman he met the previous night called Jessica 6 (Jenny Agutter) was wearing the ankh symbol. Logan enlists her help in finding Sanctuary. The question is, is Logan running to find Sanctuary to destroy it, or is he just running for his life.
“Logan’s Run” was released in 1976 and was directed by Michael Anderson. It is a science fiction film. The movie won a Special Academy Award for visual effects. The film may be a little dated, but it was actually much better than I remembered. The first half of the movie takes place inside the city. Most of the second half is “outside”.
There are undertones of aspects of the sexual revolution including free love, homosexuality and woman’s liberation. Fanaticism of youth and beauty are also weaved in, as well as drug use as entertainment. It also appears that other than the Sandmen, no one else really works and the pursuit of pleasure is the main objective in life.
It is based on the book by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. In the book the life cycle ends at age 21 but it was changed to 30 for the movie. Some of the other changes were: "Palm Flowers" became "Life Clocks" in the film. The name of York’s character was Logan 3 in the book. The method of mandatory execution in the book was euthanasia at a "Sleepshop" instead of the ritual called “carousel”. In the novel the story takes place in 2116. Lots of other changes were done to adapt the book into movie form.
For you baby boomers, Farrah Fawcett has a small part as Holly. The robot in the ice cave, “Box”, is Roscoe Lee Browne. He is the only black in the movie. During the encounter between the Old Man (Peter Ustinov), Logan, and Jessica, the Old Man often quotes poems out of "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" by T.S. Eliot. Ustinov as the Old Man is, of course, the best part of the movie. It is said he adlibbed most of his lines.
It’s also nice to know that in 2274 cats are still around.