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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Soundtrack > Logan's Run (1976/Limited Edition FSM CD)

Logan’s Run (Limited Edition CD Soundtrack)


Sound: B+     Music: A-



Since Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), M-G-M tried to be to Science Fiction what they had been to the Musical.  The most epic attempt at this was Michael Anderson’s 1976 opus Logan’s Run.  What was supposed to be the next step in a golden age of serious science fiction films turned out to be the end of the cycle that 2001, Godard’s Alphaville (1965), and Truffaut’s 1966 adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 began.  Though the film was criticized for being more escapist and flashy than thoughtful, even having problems with its acting, it was a smarter film than it got credit for and did decent business in its time.  For its lack of African American characters, Richard Pryor joked that when it came to the future, the makers though they were not going to make it!


Even beyond the futuristic sets, or accurate capturing of the 1970s attitude in way rarely considered, the score by Jerry Goldsmith is a brilliant one.  That helps the film in its poorer parts, because it is a score so great, that it believes in the film even when we might not.  Film Score Monthly Magazine’s FSM CD label has issued a limited edition (only 3,000 copies) of the film’s score that blows away the vinyl version the defunct M-G-M Records issued back in 1976 with only 11 tracks, by expanding the set to 23 tracks.  Three of those are longer than that vinyl original.


I have heard this music in almost every way imaginable.  I never saw the 70mm blow-ups (the poster says Todd-AO, but it fudged, as the lenses were Todd-AO 35mm, not 70mm), which offered some of the earliest Dolby magnetic six-track stereo sound.  That was a test run, but still a year before George Lucas’ first Star Wars broke the sound in.  I never heard the 35mm Dolby-A either, but the Pro Logic Dolby surround on the VHS, Beta, and older LaserDisc were not bad in their time.  Then, MGM/UA Home Video (when they still handled Turner’s M-G-M titles), issued a limited edition LaserDisc that offered better PCM CD Pro Logic surround tracks and an early Dolby Digital 5.1 AC-3 mix.  That mix was recycled on the disappointing basic DVD of the film still in print, minus most of the elaborate extras of that LD version.


The 2.0 PCM Stereo on this CD easily rivals the previous versions.  Many of the tracks even decode nicely in Pro Logic, though the CD is not marked as compatible for that.  Either way, I hear detail on this CD I have never heard before, which is awesome for someone who has heard this music literally hundreds of times.  What is so amazing about this work is how Goldsmith seamlessly melds beautiful music, strong traditional action music, and electronic music in a way that was not lite.  He goes for it in the way he uses electronic music, pulls no punches, and even in a way we could consider hardcore.  That is to say daring to make it work dramatically, not using what was stereotypical lite “beep – blip – beep” noises, and not letting it be that separate from the traditional score.  It feels integrated in a way never done before, and also happens to be a score where every track has surprises and that is why it may be one of the greatest soundtrack scores ever made.  When we think of post-modern music genres like Punk, Rap, Hip Hop, Trip Hop, Electronica, the DJ scene, and Turntablists, this score does everything but sampling in laying the groundwork for that kind of music more so than Wendy Carlos’ scores for A Clockwork Orange or Tron.  John Williams is unthinkable in this respect.  On that one level alone, this score is way ahead of its time.


It also made the permanent entry of electronic music into action scores like those of Goldsmith’s possible in the New wave 1980s and beyond.  Besides that, each new part of the new world Logan’s Run offers, is marked by a whole new density of music.  Cues do get revisited where applicable, keeping the narrative tight and advancing it further.  The world of dying at 30, no matter what you decide to do, become more realistic because of the energy and power of each piece.  The way we could also split the score is into three planes: personal, technological, and naturalistic.  All have their wonder, surprise, and space.  That is not easy for most composers, but Goldsmith is a master and one of the greatest in all of cinema history, so he is working on an extremely advanced level few composers in any realm of music ever achieve.  The music integrates so well into the film; it is always a revelation to hear it alone again.


Though intended ultimately as a more commercial film that art picture, the maturity of the score respects the audience, which cannot be said of most post-Star Wars, Korngold-inspired works that hammer the audience into infantilism.  This is real music, not some sickening, tired, melodic manipulation job from hell.  Goldsmith is as much a storyteller as the writer and director, a point one too many composers miss.  This is elementary, but commercial films have become so overblown, it is easy for even the best new composers to stay focused.


Page five of the sixteen-page booklet suggests Goldsmith was doing a score edgier than the film turned out to be.  That is correct, beyond the nude ice sculpture scene.  From that LaserDisc set, it turns out the scene at the Love Shop (a place for group sex) was cut, as noted on page eleven of the booklet.  That scene, besides being cut for ratings purposes, was not only integrated better into Goldsmith’s score, but was said to just have better editing work overall.  That extra footage is still lost to this day.  More conservative forces at M-G-M, also excised a comment about Nixon and a portrait of his, when Peter Ustinov’s Old Man remembers something about him being called “Tricky Dick”.  The film was meant to be even smarter than the studio allowed, in a cut we may never see.


That is why this score is all the more amazing.  It is a testament that the film was trying to stay in the post-2001 school of thought.  Without even knowing that information, the consistent quality, power and enduring life of the music itself is one of the great triumphs of film scoring.  You should strongly consider obtaining a copy, available for order exclusively at www.filmscoremonthly.com with many other great titles while supplies last.  You can read about the TV series CD they issued at this link:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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