The "Carrousel" sequence is one of the most complex flying wire stunts ever done for a motion picture. 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. Unfortunately this resulted in the cables becoming tangled during rehearsal; each stuntman had to be untangled and brought down from the rig in a maintenance lift. The rig then had to be redesigned so that each stuntman was on their own separate winch, with all of the winches connected to a "panic" switch that cut the power in the event of 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 so as to make it appear that the performers were moving upward.
The film provides conflicting age at which the Life Clocks change colors, but in the original novel, the colors change every 7 years: yellow (birth-6), blue (7-13), red (14-20), then red and black on Lastday, finally turning black at 21. The characters can only live to 21 in the novel, but this was changed to age 30 for this movie. According to the audio commentary, it was unrealistic in casting and marketing a major motion to have all the characters under the age of 21.
The waterfalls and steps that Logan jumps into to get back into the dome are real. This is the "active pool" of the Water Gardens located in Ft. Worth, Texas. The main pool used to be 9 feet deep, but after four people drowned there in 2004 (near the spot where Logan and Jessica dove in) the pool was closed. When it reopened in 2007, the depth had been reduced to 2 feet.
The "Love Shop" sequence originally ran much longer, but had to be cut down under pressure from the MGM censors. Other cut scenes include Box making a nude ice sculpture of Logan and Jessica, and several characters visiting the "Hallucimill" shop in Arcade (the latter was cut for its depiction of drug use). All of the additional footage and its background music score were subsequently 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.
When the Old Man is showing Logan some of the portraits that used to hang on the walls of the capital, one of them was originally to have been of President Richard Nixon; "They used to call him tricky... something". According to director Michael Anderson, the gag was considered too controversial at the time and was dropped.
Everyone wears clothes the same color as their life clocks (except Sandmen and Clean-up men). The Sandmen wear black uniforms with silver striping, while the Clean-up men wore the reverse. According to the audio-commentary, it was not actually readily apparent to audiences that the colored costumes represented specific age groups.
If you pay attention to Jerry Goldsmith's score, you'll find that he uses a full orchestra with no electronic instruments when the action is outside of the city. When inside the city, his orchestra consists solely of strings, piano, and electronic instruments (though the "New Face" segment has some metal percussion instruments that are heard). The music at the beginning of the film during the credits does add the electronic instruments with the full orchestra though.
In the Carrousel sequence at the beginning of the film, there are approximately 36 citizens (give or take a few) who are "Renewing". If all citizens are required to enter Carrousel on their thirtieth birthdays, 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 400,000 people.
Changes from the book to the film: "Palm Flowers" became "Life Clocks"; the age that one could live to changed from 21 to 30; the character of Logan 3 was instead called Logan 5; and the chance of renewal went from a session at a "Sleepshop" to a ritual known as the "Carrousel".
After the box-office success, co-writer of the "Logan's Run" novel, William F. Nolan wrote two sequels, they being "Logan's World" (1977) and "Logan's Search". Further, a novelette, "Logan's Return" has been published as an e-book whilst two other novels, "Logan's Journey" (written with Paul McComas) and "Logan Falls" (written with Jason V. Brock) have not as yet been published.
The ice cave sequence was actually filmed in the middle of the summer in Los Angeles. The people frozen in the ice were not mannequins, but extras who were spray painted white. The extras all had to stand perfectly still for several minutes at a time for each take.
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 in order to accommodate the rail system for the miniature maze cars. Many of the buildings in the foreground of the model were three to four feet in height. 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").
Before producing the film himself, 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 films The Poseidon Adventure (1972), and The Towering Inferno (1974) and so put "Logan's Run" on the back-burner. Unfortunately, the property rights lapsed and so the film was eventually produced by David himself. Interesting note: Producer David used Allen's trusted special effects man L.B. Abbott on "Logan's Run". And when David was at 20th Century-Fox during the 1960s making movies like Fantastic Voyage (1966) and Our Man Flint (1966), Abbott was the man responsible for the FX in those films as well.
According to the audio commentary, this was the first MGM movie to be filmed in the wide-screen film format Todd-AO rather than with Metro lenses. According to the film's credits, the picture was shot in both Todd-AO and Metrocolor.
The movie features dialogue relating to "Termination" like "You are terminated" making this sci-fi film a precursor to the later The Terminator (1984) film franchise which popularized the "Terminate" phraseology.
On the day of shooting, director Michael Anderson and producer Saul David decided that Logan 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. Michael York kept the robe as a souvenir after filming.
Actress Farrah Fawcett is billed in the credits as Farrah Fawcett-Majors as the film was made and released prior to her divorce from actor Lee Majors. The movie was one of two science-fiction feature films that she filmed during the 1970s, the other being Saturn 3 (1980).
Fourth and final film that actor Peter Ustinov made with director Michael Anderson. The earlier pictures, all made in the 1940s, were Secret Flight (1946), Vice Versa (1948) and Private Angelo (1949), the black-and-white photo of Ustinov used in the film was provided by Anderson from the latter title, the first film Anderson ever directed, and actually co-directed with Ustinov.
A partial release of the film 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.
Many of the "Ruined Washington DC" scenes of buildings other than landmarks were filmed on the decrepit MGM Backlot. Prominent among them is the exterior from fictional "Tait College" from the 1947 MGM Movie "Good News", also seen in 1974's "That's Entertainment".
There was another building featured in the film that was a modernistic brown stucco Aztec-like temple with columns and gold windows, also featured burning in the final scenes. This building was also located in Dallas, just north of downtown on Stemmon's Freeway 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 film's 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".
The movie is set in the 23rd Century. The actual year that the film takes place was 2274. As the picture was made and released in 1976, the time-span difference between the dates of production and the film's story was around three centuries, 298 years to be exact.
Back-to-back consecutive collaboration for actor Michael York and director Michael Anderson who in the previous 1975 year had worked together on Conduct Unbecoming (1975). The two would make a third film together with the Sword of Gideon (1986 TV Movie).
Both of the two top-billed leads (Michael York and Jenny Agutter) in this American Hollywood movie were English actors. Their full character names were actually Logan 5 and Jessica 6 respectively. In the film's source book, the central character was called Logan 3.
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 (who had directed the awful Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze (1975) for Pal in 1975) scheduled to direct only to have one change of MGM executives throw out the project and another reinstate it but without Pal".
The director's son 'Michael Anderson Jnr' played the role of Doc. This was the only ever feature film they made together though Michael Anderson did also direct him in episodes of The Martian Chronicles (1980).
George Pal initially acquired the rights to this movie and was going to use Miklos Rozsa as composer, but the producer fell ill and abandoned his plans. Some years later Saul David reactivated the project with a score by Jerry Goldsmith.