Cast: Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Richard Jordan, Peter Ustinov, Roscoe Lee Browne, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Anderson Jr., Randolph Roberts, Lara Lindsay, Gary Morgan, Michelle Stacy, Laura Hippe, David Westberg, Camilla Carr, Gregg Lewis, Ashley Cox, Bill Couch, Glen Wilder
The survivors of a future global catastrophe live in a great domed city. They live for pleasure, attended by servo-mechanisms. But for them life ends at thirty unless reborn in the fiery ritual of carrousel. Logan 5 (York) is a 26 year-old sandman, a City policeman whose duty is to terminate runners, those who attempt to avoid carrousel by dropping out and seeking shelter in secret places. Logan 5 stands in a corridor, tapping on the glass wall of a nursery. There are dozens of newborn babies inside, all born in incubators. He is trying to get the attention of Logan 6, his son. Logan’s partner, Francis 7 (Jordan), does not understand his friend’s interest in his offspring. Logan’s son will be brought up by the City, Logan will never see him again. Francis, like Logan, wears the black uniform of a sandman. The two leave the nursery to attend carrousel. They join a throng approaching a large cylindrical building. The people around them wear garments of colors appropriate to their age, green, yellow or red. A resounding voice announces, “Last Day, Capricorn 15’s. Year of the City 2274. This is the time of renewal.” Entering the building, the reds that have turned 30 don white masks and dark outfits. Rows of stadium seats rise in circles around a large stylized red flower glowing at the center of the amphitheater. Logan and Francis find seats among the expectant crowd. The voice on the loudspeaker says, “Be strong and you will be renewed.” The Capricorn 15’s assemble at the arena. The flower-shaped lifeclocks on their palms flash red. One by one they levitate and float above the floor. The white-masked bodies float higher and move around, circling the arena. There is a burst of light as one of the figures is extinguished. The figures rotating above the arena move increasingly frantically, as if swimming in space. Another one explodes in a brilliant torrent, and then another. The crowd shouts, “Renew! Renew!” Logan and Francis receive a radio call directing them to intercept a runner. They travel in rail cars to a derelict City section. After a difficult chase Logan terminates the runner and collects his personal items. A cleanup crew then arrives to dispose of the body. Alone in his apartment, Logan activates a device that serves to transport people from one apartment to another. A girl appears, a green. Jessica 6 (Agutter) tells Logan that she felt sad and put herself on the circuit. Logan is attracted to her and invites her to have sex, but she realizes Logan is a sandman and refuses. Logan insists, for people on the circuit want a temporary sex partner, but Jessica says she has made a mistake. She appears to believe that something is not right with the administration of the City, with the way people relate to one another. She’s sad because her friend died at carrousel. Logan tells her that her friend perhaps renewed, but she says her friend was killed. Jessica leaves when Logan is distracted by the arrival of Francis and two girls. At sandman headquarters, Logan enters the control room and places in a dais the objects he took from the runner he terminated. Usually the objects quickly disappear and he is dismissed, but this time there is an unusual delay, as if the master computer, the City authority, were lost in thought. The computer, speaking in a calm authoritative female voice, instructs Logan to approach and sit down. It inquires about the object Logan took from the runner. When Logan says he does not know what it is, the computer identifies it as an ankh, and tells him that it is associated with Sanctuary. Logan is told that Sanctuary is a pre-catastrophe code word used for a place of unity, and that 1056 runners are not accounted for. Logan asks the computer to clarify. The computer’s response is evasive, but Logan surmises that perhaps no one renews, that all that enter carrousel when their lifeclocks expire die. Runners that are not terminated somehow escape to the “place of unity.” The computer issues a chilling direct command, “Penetrate City seals and search outside the dome. You will find Sanctuary and destroy it. You will begin assignment by becoming a runner seeking Sanctuary.” Logan’s lifeclock is altered, it begins to blink red. Shaken, he leaves sandman headquarters and seeks out Francis for advice, but cannot make his friend understand. His only recourse is Jessica. He remembers that she wore an object like the runner’s ankh as a pendant on her neckband. Logan locates Jessica and asks her for help, mentioning the ankh. He discovers that she belongs to a dissident group that covertly assists runners. She distrusts Logan and does not wish to get involved. But she agrees to help him when the leaders of her group ask her to entice him to a place where he can be killed. Logan escapes the trap and acts in a way that convinces Jessica that he really is a runner. Pursued by members of the dissident group and by Francis, the two breach City seals, seeking Sanctuary, but going into a zone full of danger and the unexpected. Screenplay by David Zelag Goodman based on the novel of the same name by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson.