A Boy and His Dog

A Boy and His Dog

2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5

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L.Q. Jones, one of Sam Pekinpah’s favorite character actors, directed only one major film, and one has to wonder if he didn’t take on the job because he could then fulfill his life dream of being a porn star. Jones’s cameo during an open-air movie theater sequence is by far the most cinematic moment of A Boy and His Dog, the 1975 cult classic for boys who hate women (based on a sci-fi novella by Harlan Ellison, who reportedly loathed this adaptation initially, before its favorable reception forced him to rethink his appraisal). Don Johnson plays Vic, the horny and perpetually pissed-off titular caricature, living in a post-WWIV wasteland. His companion, a condescending canine named Blood (voiced by Tim McIntire), helps Vic sniff out hot desert poontang in exchange for food (or “comestibles,” as the extraordinarily supercilious Blood might call them). When Vic finally lands himself a snatch, she leads him down to the underground city of Topeka, where a small oligarchic society, ludicrously done up in clown make-up, attempts to save humanity. Or, rather, the sub-section of humanity that Topeka could reasonably be expected to represent: namely WASP purity (the town seems to be locked into a perpetual Fourth of July celebration straight out of The Music Man). Living underground for so long has left the residents impotent (like most Protestants), and so they need Vic’s apparently plentiful spunk to impregnate the town’s young fillies. The film is riddled with an unmistakably misogynistic bent, and can’t be bothered to supply one single likable soul. Still, one aspect of the scenario that Jones does manage to pull off with panache is the spare, hilariously realistic look of the underground Committee headquarters: obviously, but appropriately, the basement of a mid-‘60s, mid-American Protestant church. You can practically smell the year-old hotdish.

Image/Sound

Though the transfer is well-produced (virtually no edge-enhancement), the print First Run Features used must have been the worst imaginable. Reel-changes are marked with heavy curtains of dark scratches and frame splices, and the colors frequently wash out. Clearly A Boy and His Dog was a low-budget affair, which makes the equally shoddy audio transfer (voices sound like they're being recorded through a wrapping-paper tube) more easy to swallow, but that's still not much consolation for the downright distracting quality of the print.

Extras

Jones is joined by one of the film's champions, film critic Charles Champlin, as well as the film's tacit cinematographer John Morrill on a yak track (one that does full justice to the euphemism). Jones turns out to be quite a chatty Cathy, going on and on about how wonderful it is that each person in the audience is apt to have their own interpretation of the film (when is that not true?) and how conscious he was of audience receptions. Jones touts his own horn so successfully, the commentary track scarcely needs Champlin's criticism. Also included are some theatrical trailers.

Overall

Mostly just a set up to a misogynistic reverse Black Widow joke. Mostly.

Image 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5

Sound 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5

Extras 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5

Overall 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5

Specifications
  • DVD-Video
  • Single-Layer Disc
  • Region 1
  • Aspect Ratio
  • 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Dolby Digital Formats
  • English 2.0 Mono
  • DTS
  • None
  • Subtitles & Captions
  • None
  • Special Features
  • Audio Commentary by L.Q. Jones, Charles Champlin and John Morrill
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • Buy
    DVD
    Release Date
    November 25, 2003
    Distributor
    First Run Features
    Runtime
    91 min
    Rating
    NR
    Year
    1975
    Director
    L.Q. Jones
    Screenwriter
    L.Q. Jones
    Cast
    Don Johnson, Tim McIntire, Susanne Benton, Jason Robards, Alvy Moore, Charles McGraw, Hal Baylor, Ron Feinberg, Helene Winston