A Boy and His Dog (1975): United States – directed by L.Q. Jones
Rated R by the MPAA – contains some language, a little violence, sexual content and nudity
The concept is interesting: World War IV left the world’s surface desolate and barren, save for a few packs of rovers and wanderers. Vic (Don Johnson) is a lone wanderer, preferring to only travel with his dog Blood (voice of Tim McIntire.) Their relationship is friendly and symbiotic. Blood tries to teach Vic the history of the world as they wander around. His true worth, however, comes in his ability to find females. The only thing Vic is good for is finding Blood food.
Okay, maybe when I said the concept was interesting I only meant the part about a post-apocalyptic world. Seriously, a talking dog? There’s some explanation for it, something about how he was a police dog. He and Vic think alike and share something similar to love, and that’s how their thoughts pass back and forth. If you can’t get past this essential element the movie might not be for you.
Vic only has one primary concern in his life, and that’s when he might find his next woman. His means of doing this are not particularly endearing, however, as the movie suggests he is more than willing to rape (since that’s about all that’s left in the world) and kill in order to get a woman.
He turns slightly softer, however, when Blood comes across a young woman named Quilla June Holmes (Susanne Benton.) She thwarts his initial attempts at rape by talking to him, and soon she is more than happy to give him what he needs.
She is, however, trouble. She lives Down Under, which is considered a mythical city to surface dwellers. It is, in actuality, an underground society very reminiscent of Two Thousand Maniacs!. The filmmakers must have paid Jason Robards a great deal, because he appears as one of the elite committee members in this society they call Topeka, and he, like the rest, wears white clown makeup constantly. This underground society is a little too perfect, and pretty soon Vic finds out that Quilla June and the society are both nothing but trouble.
The story is a bit disjointed, on top of being rather preposterous. Both the underground utopia and the barren surface have interesting aesthetics and atmospheres to them, but used side by side feel like a stretch. There are perhaps two movies here, and an attempt to reconcile the two worlds falls flat. The production, generally speaking, is fine. Competent actors fill the roles, and the dialogue and script are only as silly as the plot outline would suggest. It is all played very seriously, however, and is a science fiction film, so the viewer must allow for some ridiculous plot elements.
It’s interesting that all the promotional materials bill this as “a kinky tale of survival.” There is some sexual content and nudity, but nothing graphic. I suppose the kinkiness comes from Vic being a young male, and therefore constantly horny. Also, Susanne Benton never wears the exact outfit portrayed in the poster. Overall, their promotional efforts might be misleading; this is certainly not an erotic film.
I found the movie mildly interesting, but probably solely on account of it being a post-apocalyptic film. If you’re looking for an action-filled adventure, look elsewhere; the action here is not particularly exciting or well executed. After suffering through some of the plot, and enjoying the relationship between the boy and the dog, it was a pleasure to get to the end. The last two minutes make the film, with a glorious and joyful resolution that warmed my heart.
Fans of the apocalypse might want to search this out as it is well-regarded in the genre. Others, especially those without an ability to suspend their disbelief, might want to stay away.