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A Boy and His Dog

Year: 1975
Director: L Q Jones
Producer: L Q Jones
Writer: L Q Jones
Cast: Don Johnson, Jason Robards
This film had a certain Mad Max appeal for me. I always find it intriguing when the title of a film refers to something so seemingly innocuous but refers to a story with world-beating potential.

How cool is a film called A Boy and His Dog when you think it's about a kid running through a meadow chasing rabbits joyously with his happy, barking dog, and it's actually about a mercenary crossing a post-apocalyptic landscape with a dog he can talk to telepathically?

Vic (a 26 year old Don Johnson playing an 18 year old) wants pussy. They both need food. The dog uses his nose to find women, and the kid provides for them both. It's a symbiotic relationship that works fine until they come across a girl who - in classic dated, unaware-anti-feminist fashion - falls in love with him after he intends to rape her (just listen early on when he comes across the body of a woman recently killed and calls it a shame because she 'could have been used three or four times before they cut her').

What we don't know is that his 'girlfriend' from a quasi-conservative, God-fearing and infertile community that exists underground, something of a parody of small town USA. Led by a stuffy committee and Chairman Jason Robards, they maintain rigid control over who's banished from the collective by being killed by a robot strongman dressed as a Deliverance -style farmboy.

They also preside over mass weddings where any fertile man is married to every woman available, and what Vic doesn't realise is that it means strapping him to a bed and leaching his sperm from him surgically to impregnate the wedding dress-clad hordes outside the room. When he's exhausted (in every sense of the word) they intend to get rid of him.

But his erstwhile lover rescues him and they go on the run, determined to make it back to the surface.

Based on a short story by Harlan Ellison, the premise of the underground society is priceless and pure 1970's sci-fi. It's also well executed, in a muted, understated way that predates David Lynch.

The whole film is a better idea than a movie, but it's worth seeing for the idea.

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