A Boy and His Dog (Blu-ray)
Shout! Factory / 1975 / 91 mins / R
A BOY AND HIS DOG has been highly acclaimed in all of its iterations. The original 1969 story won Harlan Ellison the "Best Novella" Nebula Award and was later nominated for a Hugo Award in the same category. While the novella did not win the Hugo, this 1975 film adaptation by L. Q. Jones would win the "Best Dramatic Presentation" Hugo in 1976. Science fiction fans and film critics have praised the movie from the get go, but it never clicked with mainstream audiences causing it to be a commercial failure.
World War IV occurred in 2007 and lasted only five days. The surface of our planet was turned into a wasteland where brutal scavengers exist solely to find food to eat and women to rape. Our story picks up in the year 2024 where 18-year-old Vic (Don Johnson) has formed a mutually beneficial alliance with his telepathic dog, Blood (voiced by Tim McIntire). Blood not only has the ability to communicate with Vic and has unusually high intelligence, but he can sense the location of women. Unfortunately, the genetic mutation that allows him to have these attributes has also robbed him of the ability to forage for food on his own. So Vic finds food for Blood and Blood finds women for Vic. Enter Quilla June Holmes (Susanne Benton), a beautiful young woman the pair save from marauders. Blood immediately takes a disliking to her but Vic is only interested in satisfying his carnal desires. When she escapes to the mysterious "underworld", Vic follows her despite Blood's protests only to discover that their meeting Quilla June was not exactly by accident...
The film adventures of Vic and Blood may not have been a commercial success but it has had (and will probably always continue to have) a long and very successful life as a cult film. Johnson delivers a fine performance as our very anti-hero, which was rewarded at the time of the films' release with a Golden Scroll Award for Best Actor. Benton also is very successful at navigating a difficult role. She deftly conveys, at lightning speeds, Quilla's ever changing motivations and on-the-fly plan changes.
As director L.Q. Jones states several times on the commentary and the featurette, A BOY AND HIS DOG was a very, very low budget affair. Even with extensive restoration, this film can only ever look so good. That said the anamorphic 2.35 transfer for this Blu-ray is very possibly the best this movie will ever look. Colors are stable and far exceed any previous release. Detail is surprisingly good. However some source and age related damage is evident, but while noticeable, it is also negligible.
The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono soundtrack is... as good as it can be. I've always felt the sound was A BOY AND HIS DOG's weakest feature, particularly the atrocious tinny sound of Blood's voice. However, that is a problem with the original production of the film and not this transfer, which in all other respects is excellent.
The supplement package may be small but it is excellent. The goodies kick off with a commentary track featuring director Jones, cinematographer John Arthur Morrill and film critic Charles Champlin ported over from the previous DVD release.
"In Conversation: Director L.Q. Jones and Writer Harlan Ellison" is the only new extra on this disc but it is an absolute must see. Running almost an hour long, Ellison and Jones discuss many aspects of the film face to face and put to rest almost four decades of bad blood due to some key aspects Jones did for this adaptation.
The short original theatrical trailer and quite a few radio spots round out the supplements.
A BOY AND HIS DOG is one of those movies that true film and science fiction fans love. It is intelligent, controversial and thought-provoking and now, thanks to Shout! Factory, it is finally available in a beautiful high-def presentation. Recommended!