Upon its release in 1976, the movie adaptation of the novel Logan’s Run became somewhat of a big-screen pioneer when it came to sci-fi. And given that it has a plot revolving around societal usurpation, it’s no surprise that its hard-hitting themes still resonate decades later.
Indeed, it has since garnered a cult following, with the most ardent fans referencing its innovative story and entertaining set-pieces as evidence of its trailblazing quality. But as Logan’s Run isn’t as well-known as some of its more iconic science fiction successors, you may not know these 20 intriguing facts about the movie…
20. One very important person wasn’t a fan
It’s quite common for novel writers to be averse to how their work has been reappropriated for the big screen. And William F. Nolan, co-author of Logan’s Run, has followed that trend. In James Chapman and Nicholas J. Cull’s book Projecting Tomorrow: Science Fiction and Popular Cinema, Nolan is quoted in particular as saying, “The loss of Ballard, head of our Sanctuary people, disturbed me – and I liked our ending better than theirs.”
19. Michael York had to have his arm twisted
Michael York may not have been the most obvious choice for the lead role of Sandman Logan 5, but he certainly proved to be popular with audiences. Things could have been very different, however, if he hadn’t been convinced to star in the movie in the first place. York recalled in a 2008 interview with Den of Geek that he was finally prodded into it by a co-worker at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre, despite initially having misgivings about the film.
18. It was many years in the making
Even avid fans of Logan’s Run might not know that it was originally going to be made in 1968. To begin with, moreover, George Pal rather than Michael Anderson had been tapped to be in the director’s chair. Financial strains and story disputes, however, left it languishing in development for years. And it was only thanks to the success of sci-fi hits like Westworld and Soylent Green that the movie was eventually given the green light by MGM in 1975.
17. Some of the tech wasn’t very user-friendly
One of the movie’s most peculiar technological innovations is the device that gives the user the ability to teleport people into their home in order to, well, get busy. But that unusual piece of kit has actually been slammed for its impracticality rather than for the weirdness and creepiness of the idea. In particular, noted author and design expert Chris Noessel has been very critical of its accessibility, stating in a 2013 talk, “It just makes zero sense. It is a miserable interface.” Ouch!
16. Jenny Agutter didn’t appreciate the wardrobe department’s efforts
The outfits donned by Jenny Agutter in Logan’s Run certainly didn’t leave much to the imagination. And Agutter herself wasn’t a big fan of the skimpy ensembles she wore as Jessica 6 throughout. She admitted as much in a 2002 interview with Ice magazine, even going so far as to label her character’s wardrobe “fairly embarrassing.”
15. And Agutter didn’t get credit where it was due, either
And Jenny Agutter wasn’t only short-changed when it came to her clothes in Logan’s Run. To add insult to injury, she was some way down the film’s billing, too, despite being in one of the lead roles. Her name appears after Farrah Fawcett’s, even though Fawcett only appears during a short segment of the movie. Poor Jenny!
14. Peter Ustinov’s part used a little poetic license
Peter Ustinov’s cat ramblings have to be a highlight for a lot of Logan’s Run fans, if only for how bizarre they are. Did you know, though, that some of his lines were prompted by one of the most acclaimed poets of all time? It’s true: T.S. Eliot’s piece “The Naming of Cats” was the inspiration for part of the eccentric actor’s long diatribe about felines.
13. There’s a big blooper when Box appears
Only the most eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed an error in the ice lair scene. In particular, when Logan and Jessica encounter the robot Box, his shiny exterior reflects what looks like a cameraman and camera. It’s clearly an unintentional mistake – although perhaps no less embarrassing for those who should have spotted it right away.
12. There’s some big differences to the original novel
After the movie version of Logan’s Run was released, it was noted that several key changes had been made from the original book. For example, the movie is set in 2274 A.D; the novel, meanwhile, is based in a time period nearly 150 years earlier. And in the film, there’s been a bit of leeway when it comes to the maximum human age limit. The people on screen die at 30 rather than, as the text states, at 21.
11. Sparks flew on set… but not romantic ones
Thought the gun sparks featured in the movie looked incredibly like the real thing? That’s because they are. Real guns were given to some of the actors, making it one of the few motion pictures in which proper firearms were utilized during filming. Take that, CGI!
10. And Logan’s gun wasn’t all it was cracked up to be
But even though the movie’s firearms were authentic, that doesn’t mean that they always worked as intended. Quite the opposite, in fact, as Michael York told Den of Geek in 2008. He revealed, “Those wretched guns misfired as much as they fired.”
9. Some saucy scenes were censored before release
For a movie with such political and edgy themes, it’s amazing that Logan’s Run was originally released with a PG rating. And that’s even after a few moments ended up on the cutting room floor due to their risqué nature. Specifically, scenes involving the protagonists posing nude, as well as a dark opening chase scene, were trimmed from its original running time.
8. There’s a sneaky nod to another sci-fi classic
In Logan’s Run, one opportunistic Star Trek fan made sure that the iconic sci-fi franchise was represented on screen. Indeed, as the movie is coming to an end, with its final scene of the people crowding around the old man, the on-screen extra is seen sneaking in a Vulcan sign. Amazingly, it made the final cut.
7. There’s a bit of Texas in the movie
The stunning scene where Logan and Jessica swim through a waterfall-surrounded pool to reach the domes was actually filmed in Texas. Specifically, it was shot at the Fort Worth Water Gardens in July 1975. And if any fans want to pay homage, they can, as the picturesque location is still very much open to the public.
6. It received a special Oscar
Despite movies like Star Wars surpassing it in many respects, there’s one thing that can’t be taken away from Logan’s Run – an Academy Award. Yes, it scooped up the prize for visual effects, winning the Special Achievement Academy Award along with a King Kong remake at the 1977 event.
5. The Carousel stunt was incredibly complicated
While much of Logan’s Run could be considered dated by modern-day filming standards, one thing from the movie is still being lauded to this very day – the Carousel stunt. Indeed, it’s been named as one of the most intricate flying wire sequences ever constructed for a motion picture. And given what was involved, it’s no wonder: for one, dozens of stunt people had to be raised in sync with a revolving floor. And they were even filmed upside down for portions of the segment. Impressive!
4. Peter Ustinov didn’t play it safe when it came to the script
Peter Ustinov may have taken some of his cues from T.S. Eliot in the movie, but a great deal of the rest of his dialogue was made up on the fly. Indeed, according to Michael York, the peculiar actor would deliver long stretches of unscripted lines, presumably giving director Michael Anderson a headache in the process.
3. It may yet return to the big screen
It’s not surprising that a movie with the cult status of Logan’s Run would be given the remake treatment. And that’s a move that has allegedly been in the works since 2000. Several years and several jettisoned writers and directors later, however, and we still don’t have our 21st century version of the movie. But it’s nevertheless still being developed. In 2016, for example, it was announced that X-Men: Apocalypse co-writer and producer Simon Kinberg would now be involved in penning a treatment for the new film.
2. There was no ice to be broken in the cave
Boy, does the film’s ice cave look cold. It wasn’t that bad for the cast and crew, though, as the scene was surprisingly filmed during a hot Los Angeles summer. And those scorching temperatures naturally meant that they couldn’t film in real ice. Those ‘ice’ mannequins, meanwhile, are just as much of a lie: they’re actually extras who were coated in white paint.
1. Some of the cast would have had to brave the Carousel
Famously, in Logan’s Run people die when they reach 30. And that would have been bad news for some of the cast, who were all over that age in real life. In particular, Michael York, Richard Jordan and Michael Anderson Jr. had already entered their fourth decades on the planet when filming took place.