Harlan Ellison still doesn't like how the film adaptation of his acclaimed novella ended, but he's at least calmed down about it.
A Boy and His Dog, the post-apocalyptic story that remains one of the most acclaimed works of science fiction cinema ever, hit Blu-ray this month, giving Ellison a chance to revisit the film. Ellison has always supported the film overall, but he never approved of director and co-writer L.Q. Jones' decision to add dialogue to the end of the film. The film's last line, delivered by the dog, Blood, is a pun based on the implication that the starving Blood ate at least part of the boy, Vic's, new love, Quilla. "Well I'd say she certainly had marvelous judgement, Albert, if not particularly good taste," Blood says, and Vic and Blood walk into the distance, laughing.
Ellison always preferred the more subtle ending to his novella. As Blood eats, Vic ponders a question Quilla asked him. "Do you know what love is?" Vic asks himself. He then answers: "Sure I know. A boy loves his dog."
It was more than just a difference of opinion, though. Ellison, never known for being soft-spoken, flat-out hated Jones' dialogue at the end of the film, once dubbing it a "moronic, hateful chauvinist last line, which I despise." He's still no fan of the ending, but time seems to have mellowed his views on it. Here's what he said when asked recently if the film is one of his favorite adaptations of his work, despite the ending.
"Yeah. I have reservations of course about everything, I don't think any 'artist'--and I use that with air quotes--any 'creative' always has reservations about adaptations, no matter how facile they may be and how much he may like them. I love this film. There are things in it that I would have done otherwise--the last line, for instance, which I think is terribly sexist and yet is beloved by fraternity boys. I would have kept the original last line from the original story, which I think is much more human and beguiling than the sort of punchline that L.Q. Jones used. But L.Q. knew what he was doing in terms of the market, I suppose."
So, while Jones may have once riled Ellison with his changes to the ending of A Boy and His Dog, it seems he still got Ellison's stamp of approval for most of the rest of the film. What do you think? Which ending do you prefer?
(Via Huffington Post)