Logan's Run


Feb.13, 2001
Dear Editor,

I have read and given much thought to the essay on Logan’s Run. It gives an 
excellent insight into a personal favorite film of mine since childhood. The 
one proposed theme of the film I disagree with is its’ association with 
capitalism. While I do agree with Marcuse and his theories of consumerism in 
American society, Logan’s Run has a society devoid of capitalism and private 
ownership (contrast the domed city to the “Bartertown” of Mad Max: Beyond 
Thunderdome). The purpose of the computer is to ensure that scarcity of 
resources never occurs. This is essential to maintaining social order and 
peace.
Among the characters there is little or no mention of a need for resources. 
There is no personal transit, property, weapons (except for government 
officials) or even one’s sexuality. There are no children to argue with 
parents and no marital conflict. While the computer can provide the 
population with consumerism, it cannot simultaneously provide them with 
Time. Time to live is the one thing that threatens the consumerist paradise 
and this is the basis for conflict in the plot.
However, the purpose of my input is not to point out Logan’s Run is about 
the dangers of consumerism. Consumerism has been with us since the dawn of 
humanity and probably before it. What is original about Logan’s Run is its’ 
premise of how post-war socialism is getting out of control. I don’t believe 
that it is about the US of the time but societies like Canada where people 
have lost much of their desire to think for and govern themselves. 
Consumerism coupled with socialism (not capitalism) is the means to the 
false paradise of Logan’s Run. Dependency upon a central computer or a 
contrived “benevolent” socialist government is the means to peace and 
comfort. Food and all social services are provided for so there is no need 
for a labor force, military, exploration, or commerce. This is to say that 
that there is no need for creative thought – except for the purpose of 
living past 30.
While I do believe that the Vietnam experience of fleeing to Canada (i.e. 
a socialist ‘haven’) is expressed in the film, it is done in an inverse way. 
If we notice Logan’s journey from Washington D.C. back to the domed city, 
the ocean is on the right. That means they fled south, not north as in the 
case of the draft dodgers. They essentially are trying to escape consumerist 
socialism.
Also, if we look at the prominent Canadian architecture of that time, 
there is the CN Tower, the Eaton’s Centre (the largest indoor mall in the 
world then), and Ontario Place in Toronto as well as the buildings designed 
for the Montreal Olympics. Being amongst these structures is like stepping 
into the futuristic Logan’s Run backdrop. The architecture is white painted 
geometry and the closest surface of nature we can see is of shining metal or 
gray concrete. This architecture is symbolic of post-war socialism. It is 
cold, faceless, alienating and dehumanizing.
However, the film gives us hope that the collapse of such societies is 
imminent. Scarcity, independent thought, the need for personal freedom and 
Time to live are things that no government or technological entity can 
conquer. Whether it results from the fallacy of the Carousel or the partial 
migration south of the professional class and the crushing national debt to 
support consumerist socialism, Logan’s Run suggests that such social systems 
cannot endure.
Because all great science fiction is really a statement about our present 
and a realistic depiction of what our future may be like, I believe Logan’s 
Run is a great statement about the dangers of socialism coupled with 
consumerism. While I don’t believe that it is a robust critique of American 
society, I do believe it is a warning about the long run acceptance of 
consumerist socialism in the US.

Stephen Lothlorien

* * * * * *

April 27, 1999
 
I would agree that their is a strong religious level to Logan's Run (the movie). But in reading the director's description of the movie, I would say that he intends the movie to be a social and religious satire calling into question all our beliefs in religion and society. While Logan's character frees the people from their false belief she also squashes any hope in the existence of sanctuary (life after death). I see the movie as being very much pro-marriage and life, but for me I see a strong atheist agenda here. At the end of the movie no one is left believing in sanctuary (life after death) and they know that everything they have believed is a lie. This is very much an anti-Christian movie with one redeeming feature -- it extols the values of family and marriage.  

David Marti

* * * * * *

March 24, 1999

One would think your essay on the story of Logan's Run to be very interesting;
however, the reader quickly discovers your synopsis to be nothing but a
critique of the 1976 movie. (The movie was partially removed from portraying
any resemblance to the original 1967 manuscripts by Mssrs. Nolan and Johnson.)

Please have your writer read all three novels. The TRANSPARENCY synopsis read
like someone trying to write a book report for school, but then tired of
reading his novel and resorted to watching the Hollywood movie version;
therefore, he writes an opinion of what he saw, rather than on what he should
have read. He deprives the authors of their message.

To create an analogy of the character "BOX" with female genitalia? Give me a
break! Your writer's mind is right where Hollywood wants it -- in the gutter.

For your information, the character "BOX" is an escaped prisoner who lives as
a hermit in the artic in the original story, and he helps Logan and Jessica
escape from Warden, an antagonist. (180 degrees opposite of how Hollywood
portrayed him!) 

I stopped reading after Part Two.

Polyglotic

* * * * * *

April 27, 1999, (Also from David Marti)
 
The DVD release liner notes from Michael Anderson say...
 
The essence of Logan's run was to me, Sanctuary. That imaginary place we all wish for and which for most of us remains an invisible and unattainable goal.....
Does Sanctuary Exist? Is there life after death, Renewal? So many young people today are asking these questions and are looking for answers. And mostly, there are no answers, there is nobody there. They are alone except for their courage, their determination, and their soul.
 
This is grim stuff coming from the director. His film has lost much of the book's emphasize on a youth rebellion and computers gone awry. Instead, we have a religious satire with angelic figures being burnt in a Carousel death  ritual. Is Logan really the protagonist here? Is his character really likeable? Or is it Jessica who brings us the new more Earthly values of "being true to yourself" and your mate.
 
I am not a terribly religious person, but when you strip the 1970-ish special effects and post-apocalyptic scenery from the film you see a very dark view on society and faith. Where belief in reincarnation is replaced with a belief in nothing, except maybe yourself.
 
Logan's Run was a film I remembered fondly and, having watched it recently as an adult, I can see what it is truly about.
 
Quoted from someone on the Net:
The novel's big theme -- that youth without old age cannot form a viable culture because the cultural continuity afforded by old wisdom is lost -- is totally lost on the film. If anything, the film is diametrically opposite this theme.

Note how in the SCR, both the "bad guys'" dogma (Carousel, renewal) and the "good guys'" dogma (Sanctuary) were shown to be based on lies. Thus, we see a general anti-dogma, "be true to your own instincts" stance. This still comes across in LR, albeit awkwardly

David Marti

* * * * * *

May 2, 1999 

Logan's Run has always been one of my favorite sci-fi movies right
along with Silent Running. Logan's Run to me is a warning light of what it
means to be free. Life means taking a chance and although happiness might be
more easily guaranteed by having everything taken care of for you by a
benevolent government/master computer, etc., when there is no chance and no
choices you give up your freedom and without freedom you are a slave even if
you are a happy slave. Giving over your control is easy getting it back is
not. Its a great movie and a thinking movie.

Your web page is interesting and it is obvious that you have taken a
great deal of time to think about the true meaning of technology and man. 
Someone once told me that technology without wisdom leads to
self-destruction. Humanity is at a turning point in time with our
technology. The things that were science fiction when I was child are now
the realities of today. That is why science fiction is so exciting. As
science moves forward the mysteries of creation are unfolded, but I often
worry about the responsibility of science to cause no harm in an effort to
help.

At any rate, I will return to your web page again. It was a pleasure
reading.

Shanna Skye

* * * * * *

March 7, 1999 

I was 6 when Logan's Run came out in the movies, and saw it as a double
feature with Battlestar Galactica (I didn't even know what Logan's Run
was (thought it was a western)). The special effects are what appealed
to me, not the plot (remember I was 6). I never realized there was a
book it was based on until 3 or 4 years later, and eagerly bought it in
remembrance of the movie. The book is SIGNIFICANTLY different, and in
time, I came to love the book and hate the movie (which seems superficial
and so 70s in retrospect). It misses some of the major themes and
points of the book (which has spawned two more books, Logan's World and
Logan's Search (in 1977 and 1980 respectively). the Author, William F.
Nolan, is attempting to make a movie of the book true to the original
book's intent (he sold the rights the first time, which is why the movie
was so different). I can't recommend reading the book enough, whether
you saw the 1976 movie or not (it's like night and day). Read the other
books too (they are available together under one cover, with a forward
by the author. Think the title is The Logan Trilogy). I can only pray
the movie, if it comes out, is just like the book, especially with
today's special effects. The writing style is so laser sharp in it's
use of descriptiveness like virtually no other I have experienced,
EVER......

I have read This Perfect Day, by Ira Levin, and also recommend The World
Inside, by Robert Silverberg. Both are good, but different. They all
deal with overpopulation in the future, and computers controlling
society, but with different styles. If anyone has other
recommendations, I would welcome them. Also, does anyone know
how to get in touch with William F. Nolan, the author (by email, snail
mail, or any other means?).

Thanks,

Mike Rabkin

* * * * * *

I was screening LR the other night and noticed an interesting trivia item I'm sharing around. In the sequence where Logan leans on the lever and starts himself and Jessica up in the lift, we are given several glimpses of the lift machinery working, filmed so as to suggest a worn-out, rusty old machine operating for the first time in years.

The piece of machinery is a wonderful old set piece made in the UK in 1952 for the film _The Cruel Sea_. It represents the crankshaft, rods, and part of the valve gear of a typical reciprocating marine steam engine of the 1920s through 40s. It was made of wood and aluminum and powered by a DC traction motor from an old railroad turntable.

This set piece was also used in the 1958 film version of Walter Lord's A Night to Remember as a representation of the Titanic's engines. That must be how it ended up in the states (or was that a UK film?) The motion of the thing is very memorable.

D. Cook

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