A Boy and His Dog (film, 2005)


From SFX. Can’t remember the number this time. Also, this film only got two stars. It is, however, a four star movie, the low mark was because of the atrocious quality of the picture on the particular DVD release I was reviewing.

www.sfx.co.uk

Kinky meant something different back then.

 1975/15/91 mins

Director: LQ Jones

Starring: Tim McIntire, Don Johnson, Susan Benton

Dr Doolittle Goes Nuclear

Based on the novella by Harlan Ellison, A Boy and His Dog posits a brutal, post-nuclear  future where gangs of short-lived youths roam the mudflats the world has become, digging down to scavenge upon the remnants of civilisation. Vic is one such, a ‘Solo’ who wanders what was Phoenix, Arizona, searching for food and sex, but mostly sex. He is accompanied by Blood, his dog and mentor, a telepathic super-pooch who schools the ignorant Vic in history and generally tries to keep him out of trouble.

The set-up is quite bizarre, in the short story there’s a throwaway reference as to how Blood and Vic communicate, we don’t even get that here, but once you accept this – and the annoying sonar effect they use for Blood’s sense of smell – their marvellously observed relationship pushes the ‘Huh?’ factor into the background.

This is a great post-nuclear B-movie which elegantly captures the spirit of Ellison’s story; a clever tale which attacks the American dream from both ends. The safe havens of Down Under, where society survives, satirically savages small town life as corrupt and stifling. Equally America’s obsession with the frontiersman’s freedom evinced by Vic and his dog is highlighted as brutal, though more fun and, perhaps, more satisfying.

All praise aside to the film, I am not sure I can recommend this DVD. The transfer has obviously been taken from ancient stock, making it as spotty and fuzzy as the porn film Vic watches in a fleapit cinema. This, perhaps is excusable – remastering films is a pricey business – but the intermittent juddering which plagues the DVD is not, and substantially subtracts from the enjoyment of this classic.

Did you know?

Harlan Ellison has done plenty of screenwriting, but while working on this screenplay got writer’s block, so director LQ Jones and producer Alvy Moore took over, Ellison praised the film, though rumour has it he later condemned it. Perhaps because of the alternative title – Psycho Boy and his Dog.

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