The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Kinkier than you may think

with 16 comments

A Boy and His Dog.

Oh, how much fun someone must have had when they came up with the name of this movie!

With such a title you would assume it’s a family friendly movie, surely about a parentless street boy and his best friend, a cute dog named “Skippy”. I can see it in front of me. As the film begins the dog causes them trouble with the police, due to some misunderstanding, but then there will be a fire and the dog will rescue everyone and finally the boy will be adopted by a kind police man and they’ll live happily for the rest of their lives.

But A Boy and His Dog is nothing like that. Actually it’s pretty much the opposite and Not Safe for Children.

Rather kinky
This science fiction movie from 1975 is based on a novel by Harlan Ellison. It takes place in 2024, when Earth is turned into a miserable wasteland after the fourth world war has taken place. Groups of bandits are wandering around, searching for canned food and for women to rape. Our “hero” Vic does the same, but is in party a dog, Blood, who is telepathic and speaks through the entire movie with a voice-over. The two of them have a pact where the dog helps Vic sniffing up women and he in turn helps the dog to find food.

One day their search brings him to a woman who turns out to have an agenda of her own. She lures him down to the world beneath the surface, where other people live in an organized underground society. It turns out that they have plans for him, plans that he doesn’t completely agree with. Twists will follow, that might shock you a little. And that’s all I’ll say in order not to spoil anything, but I assure you that it gets bizarre. If the title was misleading, the catch line describes the film very well: “a rather kinky tale of survival”.

Inspiration for other films
There are two ways to approach this film. I suppose you could see it misogynic bullshit, which implies that it’s ok to go around raping women, because we all know that men are just led by their dicks.

But you could also ignore the gender perspective and just go for the ride and that’s what I did, because I was in such a mood when I watched it.

I didn’t dwell on how badly the men treated the women; instead I enjoyed the dark, absurd humor and the output of a very twisted imagination. And I’m not the only one to see the charm in this film.

The apocalypse world on the surface has apparently inspired the Mad Max franchise that came out a few years later and the white faced people in the underground world made me associate to the Swedish director Roy Andersson.

Let me be clear about this: this is not a science fiction movie for everyone. But for a film buff who likes some low budget genre film in the cinematic diet mix, it’s a good choice when the craving appears.

A Boy and His Dog (L.Q. Jones, US, 1975) My rating: 3/5

Written by Jessica

June 13, 2012 at 12:56 am

Posted in A Boy and His Dog

16 Responses

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  1. I wasn’t overly fond of this film, as its quirkiness just felt more awkward than entertaining – especially once they head underground. That said, the movie does have one stand-out quality: the dog. I don’t know what it was, but I was in awe of that dog. His movements and body language just meshed perfectly with the voiceover, turning him into a full-fledged character. Before or after, I’ve never been as impressed by a canine on screen as I was with this one.

    Emil

    June 13, 2012 at 1:09 am

    • Yes! Thanks for the shout-out to the dog! I like dogs having real parts in movies and this is one of the more interesting, capturing ones I’ve seen. Probably on my top 10 list of movie dogs. And so CUTE!

      Jessica

      June 13, 2012 at 7:21 am

  2. I’m glad you found things in this mess to like. I did not. 😉

    http://jojjenito.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/a-boy-and-his-dog/

    Jojjenito

    June 13, 2012 at 7:12 am

    • Haha, I just read your take on it and I agree with it though I’m more forgiving. I’ve always had a weak spot for speaking cute dogs in movies. Also: yes I too had a problem with the sound. I really missed subtitles – in English would have been enough – just so I could capture what they said. As it was now there were moments where I had to stop, wind back and watch a scene again just to get it, and I still had trouble. But you WANT to get it because I think that at least the dog’s lines are pretty funny.

      Jessica

      June 13, 2012 at 7:19 am

  3. It’s been a while but I remember really liking this. It probably has one of the most misleading titles I’ve ever come across though.

    Mark Walker

    June 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    • Indeed. And it doesn’t improve by the cover image of the edition that we have. It looks nothing like the weird movie it is; it could just as well be exactly that oversweet family movie that you assume it is.

      Jessica

      June 13, 2012 at 12:17 pm

  4. Jessica, I think that how much someone likes this film depends on two things…first-if you’re familiar with the written works of Harlan Ellison, and specifically this novella. I had read the book in the early 70’s and then this movie came out. Also, the film is SUCH a product of the 70’s- very nihiliistic and bitter. This is the anti-Star Wars, a howl of satirical bitterness that is so un-PC that most people nowadays would be put off by it.

    So, in other words,…I LOVE this movie! Of course, I meet the criteria above. Oh to be old enough to remember the movies of the 70’s when they actually premiered….

    Karl Kaefer

    June 13, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    • I imagined you could be a fan. 🙂 And I can definitely understand your reasons for it. I’m afraid that I haven’t read much of Harlan Ellison, which is a shame, and I didn’t watch it until now, which makes it a bit harder to sell to me. And yet I think I loved it a great deal more than most modern viewers.

      It’s really hard to put a grade on it. I felt that there were aspects of it that were 1/5 and yet I loved that dog and the ending of it that was so brilliant but which I can’t talk about here, a 5/5 in my book. So in the end I landed on 3/5. But I hear what you’re saying.

      Jessica

      June 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm

  5. Even if you think it’s not very good, you make me want to see it now!

    carrandas

    June 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    • It’s good and not very good at the same time. It depends on how you see it I think. It’s certainly interesting and I’d love to see what you make of it.

      Jessica

      June 13, 2012 at 9:52 pm

      • I saw it last week and well, I’m glad I saw it and I found it to be fairly entertaining. It’s probably a movie that will stick with me thanks to its originality which is always nice. I just feel that they could have done more with the movies ideas.

        carrandas

        June 20, 2012 at 12:09 am

        • Yes, pretty much how I feel about it. It’s not a top movie, but it’s definitely original.

          Jessica

          June 20, 2012 at 12:15 am

  6. Great review, Jessica! I would’ve never guessed the plot based on that title, haha!

    fernandorafael

    June 16, 2012 at 4:11 am

    • Thanks Fernando! Yeah, it’s quite misleading. If nothing else I think you hardly can call Don Johnson’s character a “boy.”

      Jessica

      June 16, 2012 at 8:15 am

  7. I have to say, I’ve never watched a film knowing nothing more about it than the title. When I watched this I knew it was a post-apocalyptic movie, so I wasn’t expecting something for kids. The thing some other commenters have mentioned they liked is the thing I disliked the most – the dog. Or rather, the voiceover for the dog. It was so whiny I wanted to see the dog disappear just so I didn’t have to keep listening to it.

    Chip

    June 17, 2012 at 12:34 am

    • To be fair I knew where I as going too. But funny enough, looking at just the cover, from that picture there was nothing telling you it was a post-apocalyptic movie.

      I really liked the persona of the dog, though it didn’t exaclty lip sync or anything. It really was a voice over.
      A tad difficult to follow what he said at times, though. Sadly enough the entire audio was a bit unclear.

      Jessica

      June 17, 2012 at 1:49 pm


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