“Girl On A Motorcycle”
Directed by Jack Cardiff
Mid Atlantic Film 1968
Now you’ll know the thrill of wrapping your legs around a tornado of pounding pistons like “The Girl on a Motorcycle”. She goes as far as she wants! As fast as she wants! Straddling the potency of a hundred wild horses…”The Girl on a Motorcycle”.”
Rebecca must escape the slow, suffering death of her two-month marriage to a man who treats her too well and her boring, beautiful house in the suburbs. “I slip on the throttle and I obliterate this muck and turn myself on.” Donning her black, full leather body suit, she straddles her Harley Electra Glide and takes to the road in search of her lover, Daniel.
Daniel is suave, debonair. He chooses passion over love, cruelty over kindness. He is a daring, unconventional rider who wears expensive suits and smokes a pipe. He takes Rebecca’s virginity and he teaches her to ride. “…a motorcycle becomes part of you. You are the sensations. They’re in between your thighs.”
Riding through France, Germany and Switzerland, Rebecca fantasizes about her reunion with Daniel. She remembers every conversation they’ve had, every time that he has touched her. She works herself into a sexual frenzy, gyrating her hips and rubbing against the seat of her bike until finally….she…dies. No, I’m not kidding. She dies! She crashes and dies. I am sorry I had to ruin the ending for you, dear readers, but I feel it is my duty to warn you: Don’t take your sexual repression out on the road. “Don’t Dream and Ride”.
Thanks to the marvel of DVD, I learned some interesting facts about the cast. Marianne Faithful (Rebecca), daughter of a Baroness, was the inspiration for two Rolling Stones hits, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “Wild Horses”. Her own album, “Broken English” had her touring with Roy Orbison, The Kinks and Gene Pitney back in the 60’s. She is dubbed as the first actor to ever say f@#k on screen.
Alain Delon (Daniel) starred in over 90 films and was alleged to have “underworld connections”. He was ousted from school at 15 to become a parachutist in the French Marines. He was touted as the “James Dean of France” in the 60’s.
And finally, Jack Cardiff, the film’s director, was responsible for making the world’s first ‘smellie’, “Scent of Mystery”, where various scents were pumped in through pipes attached to theater seats, in accordance with related scenes.
I would not describe “The Girl on a Motorcycle” as a ‘must see’. However, I was impressed by the film’s cinematography. Solarization flooded the film with psychedelic colors and abstractions and Cardiff used 360û camera angles and shot road scenes from a moving train making the film look both artsy and professional. It was the second highest grossing film in England the year it came out. It was released in the U.S. in 1968 as “Naked Under Leather” and was severely butchered to earn an ‘R’ rating. I saw the ‘Uncensored European Version’ and would rate it, by today’s standards, ‘PG-13’.