Sunday, March 16, 2014

Movies by year: 1976

(Run, runner - there be spoilers!)

Things were moving at a pretty good clip in Hollywood in 1976. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind was my first 'grown-up' movie I saw in the theatre, with just my Mum and Dad and not the Boys, and it was really visually stunning. The Man Who Fell To Earth (otherwise known as David Bowie's autobiography) gave us a sideways view of the dangers of distraction. And Murder By Death paid a wonderful homage to film noir whodunnits with a fantastic cast (Clue would later send up this send-up). But my choice for this year would be:

Logan's Run

It's the future, and all of humanity lives in sealed environments. In order to maintain an optimal balance, no one is permitted to live past their 30th birthday. The people take it well, and on their lastday they attend Carousel where they renew and are reborn into a new body - at least, that's what they believe. Until then it's basically one big party, hedonistic and sexy and ultimately inconsequential. It's all run by a giant computer responsible for maintaining everything, from the food to the births and deaths.

Logan 5 is a Sandman, whose job it is to chase down 'runners' - those who don't submit to Carousel - and he loves his job. The computer gives him a new task - to find out where the runners are trying to go. He still has a few more years before his lastday, but the computer forces his lifeclock forward so he'll be more convincing - and the race is on.

Logan's Run is very stylish and fun, with Michael York and Jenny Agutter at their sexiest, though York was a bit old for the role (33 during filming), and there are a lot of fun setpieces - Carousel and the ecstatic frenzy of the crowd; New You and the plastic surgery machine; Box and his icy larder; Old Man (played wonderfully by Peter Ustinov) at his library; the final showdown between Logan and his ex-partner Francis 7 (Richard Jordan, pre-Dune); Logan's interrogation.

Ignore the attempted TV series from the following year, it's a bitter disappointment.

So, what do you think, have you seen Logan's Run, or maybe you've read the original novel?

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