When the Old Man (Sir Peter Ustinov) is showing Logan (Michael York) some of the portraits that used to hang on the walls of the Capitol, a portrait of former President Richard Nixon was originally included, with the line "They used to call him tricky... something." According to Director Michael Anderson, the gag was considered too controversial at the time.
The "Love Shop" sequence originally ran about four minutes, but required re-editing for the movie to be granted a PG rating. Other cut scenes include Box (Roscoe Lee Browne) making a nude ice sculpture of Logan (Michael York) and Jessica (Jenny Agutter), and several characters visiting the "Hallucimill" shop in Arcade (cut for its depiction of drug use). All of the additional footage and its background music were lost in what is now known as "the great MGM purge", when studio owner Kirk Kerkorian sold off what he could of the studio's extensive archives, and simply threw out the rest.
In the original novel, the colors of the Life Clock change every seven years: yellow (birth-6), blue (7-13), red (14-20), then red and black on Lastday, finally turning black at twenty-one. In the novel, characters can only live to twenty-one. According to the audio commentary, the movie changed it to thirty because it was not realistic to have a cast with all of the characters under twenty-one.
The waterfalls and steps into which Logan (Michael York) jumps, to get back into the dome, are the "active pool" of the Water Gardens, located in Fort Worth, Texas. The main pool used to be nine feet deep, but the pool closed in 2004, after four people drowned near the spot where Logan and Jessica (Jenny Agutter) dove in. When it reopened in 2007, the depth had been reduced to two feet.
The pool from which Logan and Jessica emerge when they re-enter the city is the famous "Esther Williams" tank at MGM.
The "carrousel" sequence is one of the most complex flying wire stunts ever done for a movie. A circular rig was constructed above the set, designed to rotate in sync with the revolving floor plate below. Initially, the performers were all supported by a single winch driving the mechanism for their thin support cables. The cables became tangled during rehearsal. Each stuntman had to be untangled and brought down from the rig in a maintenance lift. The rig was redesigned so each stuntman was on his own separate winch, with all of the winches connected to a "panic" switch that cut the power in an emergency. For reversal shots, the white crystal on the arena ceiling was built on the floor of the stage, and the performers were lowered down towards it. These shots were then filmed upside-down, to make it appear that the performers were moving upward.
In the "carrousel" sequence at the beginning of the movie, about thirty-six citizens are "Renewing". If all citizens are required to enter "carrousel" on their thirtieth birthday, all birthdays are distributed fairly evenly throughout the year, and the number of people who "run" is fairly small, the city's population is about four hundred thousand people.
The striking "terraced" leather sofa in Logan's house was created in 1973 by Swiss designer Ubald Klug for the de Sede furniture company. The specific piece is referred to as model n° DS-1025. It was commercially available at the time, and expensive.
During the opening credits, the music is a full orchestra with some electronic instruments. For action outside the city, the music is by full orchestra with no electronic instruments. Inside the city, the orchestra consists solely of strings, piano, and electronic instruments. Some metal percussion instruments are heard in the "New Face" segment.
Sir Peter Ustinov improvised much of his dialogue.
Everyone except Sandmen and Clean-up men wears clothing the same color as their life clocks. The Sandmen wear black uniforms with silver striping, while the Clean-up men wore the reverse. According to the audio-commentary, audiences did not realize at first that the costume colors represented specific age groups.
The costumes were originally designed to be much more revealing, but that meant spending much more on make-up for exposed skin.
During the encounter between the Old Man (Sir Peter Ustinov) and Logan (Michael York) and Jessica (Jenny Agutter), the Old Man often quotes poems out of "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" by T.S. Eliot.
A notable extra is Ashley Cox, the timid girl who touches the Old Man's face. This future Playboy model also appears nude at the beginning of the Love Shop scene, making a grab at Logan.
Changes from the book to the movie: "Palm Flowers" became "Life Clocks"; the age that one could live to changed from twenty-one to thirty; the character of Logan 3 was instead called Logan 5; and the method of mandatory execution went from a session at a "Sleepshop" (where people are terminated by the use of pleasure-inducing gas) to a ritual known as the "carrousel".
The ice cave sequence was filmed in the middle of the summer in Los Angeles. The people frozen in the ice were extras who were spray painted white. For every take, the extras had to stand perfectly still for several minutes at a time.
Since the mid 1990s, there have been several attempts to re-adapt the source novel with no success, including one announced by Warner Brothers in 1997, which would have starred Leonardo DiCaprio. To date (December 2018), the project still resides in development Hell.
Roscoe Lee Browne voiced and performed Box the robot on-set. The unwieldy costume made it impossible for Browne to right himself if he fell over.
Though the model of the dome city's interior lacks sufficient detail to give it any sense of realism, it was nonetheless constructed on a fairly large scale to accommodate the rail system for the miniature maze cars. Many of the buildings in the foreground were three to four feet high. The buildings were built at differing scales based on their distance from the camera, to give the model landscape a greater sense of depth (a common photographic/special effects technique known as "forced perspective").
Originally, there wasn't going to be a Visual Effects Oscar awarded for the 49th Academy Awards. The visual effects committee didn't believe any of the movies were worthy. Retroactively, this decision was overturned (unlike for 1973) and the Oscar given was shared between this movie and King Kong (1976). The Academy's visual effects committee members, including its chairman, resigned in furious protest.
The first movie to use Dolby Stereo on 70mm film prints, also with A-Type Noise Reduction. However, early 70mm six-track prints were actually four-track presentations; as they didn't utilize the subwoofer tracks, nicknamed "Baby Booms". Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), were the first movies to officially make use of the new bass enhancement channels.
This movie spawned a short-lived television series, Logan's Run (1977).
After the box-office success of the movie, "Logan's Run" co-author William F. Nolan wrote two sequels, "Logan's World" (1977) and "Logan's Search" (1980). A novella, "Logan's Return" has been published as an e-book. Two other novels, "Logan's Journey" (written with Paul McComas) and "Logan Falls" (written with Jason V. Brock) have been mentioned, but not published.
Marvel Comics published a "Logan's Run" comic book series lasting seven issues in 1977. The first five issues were an adaptation of this movie, with two more continuing after the events of this movie. Unfortunately, the series was cancelled before the storyline could be resolved.
According to Director Michael Anderson, the Old Man's (Sir Peter Ustinov's) buttons are U.S. pennies. He made makeshift buttons out of them because he couldn't find any real buttons.
On the day of shooting, Director Michael Anderson and Producer Saul David decided that Logan (Michael York) should look more "casual" for the first scene in his apartment. Costume Designer Bill Thomas threw together Logan's black house robe in about two hours while the set was being lit. York kept the robe as a souvenir after filming.
Michael York initially didn't think that this movie was for him. "But this young member of the (Ahmanson Theatre) company was deputed to drive me back and forth, so we would chat all the time," York told Den of Geek. "I mentioned that I'd had this script, and he asked to take a look at it, so I said, 'Of course'. He came to pick me up the next day, practically wagging a finger at me saying, 'You've got to do this, you may not be aware of it, but it's pressing a lot of buttons.' And he was absolutely right."
Many of the "ruined Washington, D.C." scenes of buildings, other than landmarks, were filmed on the decrepit MGM backlot. Prominent amongst them is the exterior from fictional "Tait College", from Good News (1947), also seen in That's Entertainment! (1974).
The catfight between Jessica (Jenny Agutter) and Holly (Farrah Fawcett-Majors) was planned to be a much longer scene. This had to be changed when the two actresses pulled hair too hard and Director Michael Anderson feared they would end up fighting for real.
The set miniatures used for the city were re-used for The Ice Pirates (1984).
There are differences with the novel and this movie. In the novel, the story takes place in 2116. The people in the domed city die at twenty-one. The crystals in the palms of their hands are called "palm flowers". Instead of blinking red, the palm flowers turn black on Lastday. Logan conceives the idea to infiltrate the underground railroad for runners seeking Sanctuary, when his own Lastday comes. The Old Man is Ballard, a mysterious forty-two-year-old man who helps runners in the underground. The central computer that controls the global infrastructure is buried beneath Crazy Horse Mountain. Sanctuary turns out to be an abandoned space station, and the novel ends with Logan and Jessica escaping to Sanctuary aboard a rocket that departs from a former space program launch site in Florida, while Ballard remains behind to help other runners to escape.
Many of the interior shots were filmed in the Dallas Market Center, once a 4.8-million-square-foot complex consisting of six ultra modern structures erected on one hundred thirty-five acres (fifty-four and a half square hectometers), which had then become the largest single wholesale merchandise mart in the world. In its Apparel Mart (demolished 2006), this movie utilized futuristic backgrounds of the West Atrium (Phase III), a five-storied terraced space featuring an entire wall of mirrored plexiglass and a variety of acoustical materials created by artist Paul Maxwell; and the Great Hall (inspired by a Viking chieftain's chamber), a five-level arena two hundred eighty feet (85.3 meters) long, one hundred fifty feet (45.7 meters) wide, and sixty feet (18.3 meters) high, where four thousand five hundred people could be accommodated at a show or exhibit. At the World Trade Center, cameras captured sequences in the seven-story (expanded to fifteen floors in 1979), glass-capped courtyard of the twenty-five thousand-square-foot (seventy-six square hectometers) Hall of Nations.
The cats in the Old Man's (Sir Peter Ustinov's) scene lived on the set. To ease the boredom, Ustinov made cat drawings for Jenny Agutter. One was called "Cat-tastrophe", and featured a squished cat. Another was of a zombie feline, titled "Cat-atonic".
The City's Central Computer, while interrogating Logan 5, uses a font called Huit Medium. French for 8, it was designed by Michel Besnard and based on photos of a pair of feminine hands forming letters of the alphabet, and was also used in the title for Man from Atlantis (1977).
For The Twilight Zone (1959), Rod Serling wrote a rejected episode called "The Happy Place", describing a society in which people were executed when they turned sixty. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) season four, episode twenty-two, "Half a Life" was about a society that required people to reach "resolution" (mandatory suicide) at age sixty. Anyone who didn't comply was considered a coward.
Michael York was playing tennis and saw what he described as a "blonde vision of delight." It turned out to be Farrah Fawcett-Majors. York suggested her to the casting director and she subsequently landed the role of Holly.
The Old Man was a revision of a character from the 1967 book named Ballard. Ballard was a mysterious figure in the underground who helped runners. He was also revealed in the book to be Francis in disguise. Director Michael Anderson realized that it would have been implausible for Richard Jordan to morph into Sir Peter Ustinov, thus the Ballard/Francis character was dropped, and the Old Man became a separate character. In the book, Ballard was only forty-two and stayed elusive due to laser surgeries, but Director Michael Anderson felt that these details would slow the movie down. Also, forty-two was relatively old in the book, where the mandatory age of termination was twenty-one, not thirty.
It was only after Soylent Green (1973) and Westworld (1973) found success at the box-office, that the powers-that-be at MGM believed that the book could work as a movie.
Logan and Jessica's journey takes less than fourteen days. The carrousel in the beginning of the movie is on Capricorn 15. At the end, it is Capricorn 29.
The effectiveness in utilizing locations in Texas saved the production an estimated three million dollars.
At least two full-sized maze cars were built for this movie, powered by electric golf cart motors.
The stairs, down which Logan and Jessica climb, to escape from the "Love Shop" led to the catwalk above one of the MGM soundstages.
The cityscape footage was re-used by Paramount Pictures in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) season six, episode fifteen, "Tapestry". It is visible outside the windows of Picard's quarters.
Publicity for this movie stated that the sets built for this movie were the biggest and most expensive made at MGM Studios since the great musical spectacles of the 1930s and 1940s.
As this movie was made during the "sexual revolution" of the late 1960s and 1970s, slight nods to new sexual freedom can be seen. When Logan returns home, just after he and Francis have killed a runner, he seeks "companionship" on the circuit. The first companion offered is male, and it is clearly not an accident. Logan politely smiles at the young man, shakes his head, and tries again. When Jessica arrives from the circuit, and isn't immediately interested in coupling, Logan asks whether she prefers women.
Though the central idea of this movie is that all citizen's lives must end at the age of thirty, Michael York, Richard Jordan, Michael Anderson, Jr., and David Westberg were all over the age of thirty when they made the movie.
Before producing this movie, Producer Saul David shopped the property to Producer Irwin Allen, who picked up the book rights as an option. Unfortunately, Allen was at the top of his game with his legendary disaster movies The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and The Towering Inferno (1974), and so put this movie on the back-burner. Unfortunately, the property rights lapsed, and so this movie was eventually produced by David. Interesting note: Producer David used Allen's trusted special effects man L.B. Abbott on this movie, and when David was at Twentieth Century Fox, during the 1960s, making such movies as Fantastic Voyage (1966) and Our Man Flint (1966), Abbott was the man responsible for the special effects in those movies as well.
The Sandmen's guns worked using tiny butane gas cartridges, but were very unreliable on-camera, as the gas did not always ignite when the trigger was pulled. According to Michael York, "Those wretched guns misfired as much as they fired. There were a lot of highly technical things, yes, but thank God we weren't standing against bluescreen all the time."
Director Michael Anderson's son, Michael Anderson, Jr., played the role of Doc. This was the only theatrical movie they made together. Michael, Sr. directed Michael, Jr. in episodes of The Martian Chronicles (1980).
The female runner shot by Francis (Richard Jordan) was played by Lara Lindsay, who also worked as an assistant to Producer Saul David.
Despite Jenny Agutter's brief nude scene, this movie was given a PG rating by the MPAA.
The shots of the pistons that controlled the elevator leading to the scene in the ice cave were taken directly from Director Michael Anderson's The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959).
Jenny Agutter and Michael York appeared in The Riddle of the Sands (1979) and September (1996).
Farrah Fawcett was billed in the credits as "Farrah Fawcett-Majors", as this movie was made and released while she was married to Lee Majors. This movie was one of two science fiction movies which she made. The other being Saturn 3 (1980).
Sir Peter Ustinov's character has no name, and is billed only in the credits as "Old Man". Despite having a major supporting role in the second half of this movie, no footage of Ustinov appears in the trailer.
Though made by MGM, Warner Brothers retains the rights to this movie, when Ted Turner sold his library of movies to Warner Communications.
This movie was released nine years after William F. Nolan's and George Clayton Johnson's original novel was published.
Producer George Pal initially acquired the rights to this movie, and was going to use Miklós Rózsa as composer, but he fell ill and abandoned his plans. Several years later, Producer Saul David reactivated the project, with a score by Jerry Goldsmith.
Fourth and final movie that Sir Peter Ustinov made with Director Michael Anderson. The others being School for Secrets (1946), Vice Versa (1948), and Private Angelo (1949). The black-and-white photo of Ustinov used in this movie was provided by Anderson from the last title, the first movie Anderson directed, and co-directed with Ustinov.
A partial recording of the score composed by Jerry Goldsmith was released on vinyl LP by MGM Records in 1976. The expanded and complete score was not released until January 2002 by Film Score Monthly on CD.
This movie was released a year before Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), which eventually became the highest-grossing movie of all time for awhile. By the standards of 1976, this movie was considered fairly successful for a science fiction movie, enough to spawn a short-lived television series. However, since the Logan's Run (1977) series did not begin airing until a few months after Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) came out, it has often been wrongly assumed that it was produced directly because of the success of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), and the resulting popularity of science fiction that followed.
There was another building featured in this movie that was a modernistic brown stucco Aztec-like temple with columns and gold windows, also featured burning in the final scene. This building was also located in Dallas, just north of downtown on Interstate 35E, and was originally the Zale's Building. It was later bought by Mobil Oil, who covered over the brown columns and replaced the gold windows with silver glass covering the entire sides.
The first choices for the roles of Logan and Jessica were Jon Voight and Lindsay Wagner. The role of the Old Man was offered to James Cagney. The character of Francis was originally to be played by William Devane, but he pulled out of this movie.
Jenny Agutter (Jessica-6) wasn't wild about the outfit she wore in this movie.
Footage showing the domed city landscape and maze car tunnel system was tinted a different color and re-used to represent the planet Ork in Mork & Mindy (1978) season four, episode three, "The Honeymoon".
William F. Nolan was overall unhappy with this movie and hoped to get another chance with a sequel. Unfortunately, the idea was dropped, and it went to a series. He was displeased beyond words.
The Love Shop sequence was filmed (July 7 to 9, 1975) in the OZ Restaurant/Nightclub multi-level discotheque. It was all chrome and glass, with mirrored walls adorned by neon sculptures and mirrored etchings. The dominant colors were purple and gray. OZ was designed by Stan Richards. The business was regarded as one of Dallas' most chic haute cuisineries and membership-only nightclubs when it opened in 1973. It's reputation was eventually damaged when word got around it was a rip-off. OZ closed in 1977 and the building was demolished several years later.
At the Dallas sneak preview, Producer Saul David told the press,"You know we had to shoot some extra scenes back at the studio, and every executive at MGM seeing the picture has said they can pick out the Dallas extras every time. They're much prettier." Subsequently, several Texas belles, who had previously appeared as extras, were hired to give out free copies of the original novel at the Dallas Medallion and Ft. Worth Wedgewood theaters on opening day.
Producer Saul David announced that he would re-team Sir Peter Ustinov, Michael York, and Jenny Agutter for a large scale adaptation of "Gulliver's Travels", but it failed to materialize.
The opening prologue states: "Sometime in the 23rd century...the survivors of war, overpopulation and pollution are living in a great domed city, sealed away from the forgotten world outside. Here, in an ecologically balanced world, mankind lives only for pleasure, freed by the servo-mechanisms which provide everything. There's just one catch: life must end at thirty unless reborn in the fiery ritual of the carrousel."
This movie was going to be made in 1969 with Robert Redford as Logan, and there was to be a re-adaptation of the source novel by Warner Brothers (which owns the rights to this movie) with Ryan Gosling as Logan.
In 1997, Warner Brothers announced a re-adaptation of the source novel with Leonardo DiCaprio, which would have allowed the age limit to revert back to twenty-one, as it was in the book, but it was cancelled.
The concept of no one living past thirty may have come from the viral catchphrase by New Left activist Jack Weinberg, "Don't trust anyone over thirty." On November 15, 1964, the San Francisco Chronicle quoted Weinberg as saying, "We have a saying in the movement that you can't trust anybody over thirty."
Contrary to advertising and the end credits, this movie was not filmed using the original 65mm incarnation of Todd-AO, which was officially confirmed by Director Michael Anderson. The 35mm negative was optically enlarged to 70mm print copies for deluxe exhibition, a process better known as a "70mm blow-up". This movie was filmed in Todd-AO 35, using Arriflex and Mitchell cameras. The Todd-AO 35 anamorphic lens system was designed by Dr. Richard Vetter. He received a Technical Achievement Award at the 46th Annual Academy Awards, for this improved anamorphic focusing system. It had the added advantage of maintaining a constant squeeze ratio of 2:1 of the image at all focus distances, without distortion. This particular lens system was best known for its incredible sharpness, warmth, and for having the ability to flare rather easily. An anamorphic system that resulted in the lowest amount of distortion, when originally released.
The scene in the facelift shop, where the laser runs amok, was copied in Die Another Day (2002).
This was originally going to be produced by George Pal, but by this time, Pal had already left the studio.
This movie is set in the twenty-third century. The year that this movie takes place is 2274. As this movie was released in 1976, the time-span difference between that and the story was two hundred ninety-eight years.
Michael York and Jenny Agutter, in this American Hollywood movie, are English. Their full character names were Logan 5 and Jessica 6, respectively. In the source novel, the central character was called Logan 3.
Logan 5 (Michael York) was born in 2248.
The distinctive voice of Roscoe Lee Browne (Box) could also be heard narrating "The Story of Star Wars" LP, released in 1977.
According to "The Aurum Film Encyclopaedia Science Fiction" edited by Phil Hardy, "This film was initially set up by Producer George Pal with (Michael) Anderson scheduled to direct only to have one change of MGM executives throw out the project, and another reinstate it, but without Pal".
Richard Maibaum penned a screenplay for Producer George Pal in 1968.
Jerry Goldsmith recorded the soundtrack from January to March 1976.