A Boy and His Dog (1975 film)

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A Boy and His Dog
1976 movie poster for the movie 'a boy and his dog'.jpg
1976 film poster
Directed by L.Q. Jones
Produced by L. Q. Jones
Alvy Moore
Written by L. Q. Jones
Alvy Moore
Wayne Cruseturner (uncredited)
Based on story by Harlan Ellison
Starring Don Johnson
Susanne Benton
Alvy Moore
Jason Robards
Music by Tim McIntire
Ray Manzarek
Jaime Mendoza-Nava
Cinematography John Arthur Morrill
Edited by Scott Conrad
Production
company
LQ/JAF
Distributed by LQ/JAF (1975)
First Run Features (2008)
Anglo-EMI Film Distributors (1975) (UK)
Release dates November 14, 1975 (1975-11-14)
Running time 91 minutes
Country United States
Language English

A Boy and His Dog is a 1975 science fiction film directed by L. Q. Jones, based on a 1969 cycle of narratives by science fiction author Harlan Ellison titled "A Boy and His Dog". The film tells the story of a boy (Vic) and his telepathic dog (Blood), who work together as a team in a post-apocalyptic world.

Plot[edit]

The main character, Vic (Don Johnson), is an 18-year-old boy, born in and scavenging throughout the wasteland of the former southwestern United States. Vic is most concerned with food and sex; having lost both of his parents, he has no formal education and does not understand ethics or morality. He is accompanied by a well-read, misanthropic, telepathic dog named Blood, who helps him locate women, in return for food. Blood can not forage for himself, due to the same genetic engineering that granted him telepathy. The two steal for a living, evading bands of marauders, berserk androids, and mutants. Blood and Vic have an occasionally antagonistic relationship, though they realize they need each other. Blood wishes to find a legendary promised land, though Vic believes that they must make the best of what they have.

Searching a bunker for a woman for Vic to rape, they find one. However, she has already been severely mutilated and is on the verge of death. Vic displays no pity, and is merely angered by the "wastefulness" of such an act as well as disgusted by the thought of satisfying his urges with a woman in such a condition. They move on, only to find slavers excavating another bunker. Vic steals several cans of food from them, using them to barter for goods in a nearby settlement. Blood claims to smell a woman, and the pair track her to a large underground warehouse. There, they meet Quilla June Holmes (Susanne Benton), the scheming and seductive teenage girl from "Downunder," a society located in a large underground vault. Unknown to the pair, Quilla's father, Lou Craddock (Jason Robards), had sent her above ground to "recruit" surface dwellers. Blood takes an instant disliking to her, but Vic ignores him. After Vic saves Quilla from raiders and mutants, they have repeated sex. Eventually, though, Quilla takes off secretly to return to her underground society. Vic, enticed by the thought of women and sex, follows her, despite Blood's warnings. Blood remains at the portal on the surface.

Downunder has an artificial biosphere, complete with forests and underground cities, one of which, named Topeka, after the ruins of the city it lies beneath. Vic is is told that he has been brought to Topeka to help fertilize the female population and is elated to learn of his value as a "stud." Then he is told that Topeka meets its need for exogamous reproduction by electroejaculation and artificial insemination. Anybody who refuses to comply or otherwise defies the committee is sent off to "the farm" and never seen again. Vic is told that when his sperm has been used to impregnate 35 women, he will be sent to "the farm."

Quilla helps Vic escape as she wants him to kill the committee members and their android enforcer, Michael (Hal Baylor), so she can usurp power. Vic has no interest in politics or remaining underground. The rebellion is quashed by Michael, who crushes the heads of Quilla's co-conspirators, before Vic can disable him. Quilla proclaims her love for Vic and decides to escape to the surface with him. On the surface, Vic and Quilla discover Blood is starving and near death. Knowing he will never survive without Blood's guidance, Vic faces a dilemma. We see Vic and Blood walking into the desert and Blood says "Well I'd say she certainly had marvelous judgement, Albert, if not particularly good taste."

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Harlan Ellison, the author of the original novella A Boy and His Dog, started the screenplay but encountered writer's block, so producer Alvy Moore and director L. Q. Jones wrote the script, with Wayne Cruseturner, who was uncredited. Jones' own company, LQJaf Productions (L. Q. Jones & Friends), produced the film. They filmed the movie near Coyote Dry Lake in the Mojave Desert. The Firesign Theater was also involved with writing of the script.

In the film, Blood is portrayed by Tiger. James Cagney's voice was considered as the voice of Blood, but was dropped because it would have been too recognizable and proved a distraction. Eventually, after going through approximately six hundred auditions, they settled on Tim McIntire, a veteran voice actor who also did most of the music for the film. McIntire was assisted with this by Ray Manzarek (misspelled in the film credits as Manzarec), formerly of The Doors. McIntire sang the main theme. Latin American composer Jaime Mendoza-Nava provided the music for the underground segment.

Rumors have abounded over the years regarding a movie sequel, but it has never materialized. On the film's DVD audio commentary, L. Q. Jones states that he had started to write a script sequel to the film that would have picked up right where the first film ended and featured a female warrior named Spike, and we would have seen this world through the eyes of a female instead of a male. Jones and Ellison collaborated on this short-lived effort. Ellison, however, has denied that development went beyond a short "what if?" conversation, and that any efforts were solely that of Jones. According to Cult Movies 2, Jones had a sequel planned called A Girl and Her Dog, but the plan was scrapped when Tiger died. In a December 2003 interview,[1] Jones claimed that he has been repeatedly approached to make a sequel, but funding is always an issue.

Reception[edit]

In 1976, the film adaptation won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. The lead actor, Don Johnson, won Golden Scroll for Best Actor, which was shared with James Caan for his performance in Rollerball. In 2007, it ranked #96 on Rotten Tomatoes "Journey Through Sci-Fi" (100 best-reviewed science fiction films).[2]

The film was not commercially successful at the time of its release. It has, however, since developed a cult following and also inspired the video game series Fallout "on many levels, from underground communities of survivors to glowing mutants."[3]

On the film's DVD audio commentary, L. Q. Jones states that Harlan Ellison was generally pleased with the movie, with the exception of the final line of dialog. In the introduction of the Vic and Blood anthology, Ellison criticized the film's "moronic, hateful chauvinist last line, which I despise."[4][5]

On August 6, 2013, Shout! Factory released the film on Blu-ray.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Scifidimensions.com". Scifidimensions.com. Retrieved 2014-01-19. 
  2. ^ "RT's Journey Through Sci-Fi", Rotten Tomatoes, 2007.
  3. ^ Fiegel, Michael (July 21, 2009). "Junktown Dog". The Escapist. Retrieved July 29, 2011. 
  4. ^ Ellison, Harlan. "Ellison Webderland Bulletin Board Archives". Archived from the original on 13 August 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-04. 
  5. ^ Ellison, Harlan and Richard Corben. Vic and Blood. Simon & Schuster. 2003. 5-6.
  6. ^ "Blu-ray Review: A Boy and his Dog | High-Def Digest". Bluray.highdefdigest.com. Retrieved 2014-01-19. 

External links[edit]