A Boy and His Dog (1975)

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A Boy and His Dog (1975)

Post  BoG on Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:20 am

Well, now...here we have A Boy and His Dog (1975). I obtained a Laserdisc in 1996.
Don Johnson (Miami Vice) stars in an early role and Jason Robards also pops up.

The year is 2024. The atomic bombs we see going off some years before do not represent World War III as many think; the titles tell us it's World War IV. What happened to World War III? Probably pushed aside to another part of Harlan Ellison's mind (actually, I re-checked: Blood the dog tells us WWIII was the Cold War, from 1950-1983, according to this re-telling of history). Nowadays, we can argue that World War III is happening now, as it has been for the past decade or two, and World War IV is the one where we really empty our nuclear arsenals. The Re-Issue Trailer:

When I first saw this in a theater in the seventies, I confess I was put off by some of the elements; I was old enough already to recognize the dark, twisted humor, but some of the narrative, mostly in that weird underground recreation of small town Americana (the last half-hour), was just too bizarre and a turn-off. Someone was trying very hard to offer a vicious sideways view of certain institutions many hold dear - I get it. L.Q. Jones himself (the director) has stated repeatedly that this isn't for kids, despite the dog - the most likable character, of course (and the best one, perhaps; story goes the dog was almost nominated for an Oscar, as a person). Overall, this is an unusual & esoteric depiction of a post-holocaust landscape.

The one thing that caught my attention & appreciation right off the bat was the set design, the visual depiction. I watched Vic (Don Johnson) and the dog wander over this desolate landscape, sometimes surreal, sometimes downbeat (well, almost always downbeat) and thought - yeah, this is the way it really would be. There was a lot of thought put into the visuals, based on some theorizing that I never heard before: that setting off all the nukes at once would stop the Earth's rotation, just for a fraction of a second, but with enough momentum for the oceans to sweep over the land masses. So now everything is covered with a 20-foot layer of dried, caked mud. And that's what we see here, in this film.

I also liked it that makeshift theaters were still operating - out there in the middle of nowhere, in the desolation, someone was still running a projector, officiated by armed guards, and one could still sit down and watch some old movie on a tattered screen; maybe even a softcore porn film. Even Ellison himself liked this film and he had that reputation of trying to throw Hollywood producers out of windows when they would erase a line of his written dialog. They screened this film for him right after putting it together and he walked out after simply stating that that was his story! Oh, btw, Director George Miller has admitted, L.Q. Jones has said, that he more-or-less copied A Boy and His Dog for his own post-holocaust adventure The Road Warrior, but with simply a lot more action. BoG's Score: 7 out of 10
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