Sunday, 19 August 2012



A weird fragment of late sixties "adult" nonsense that in the cold light of the 21st century is about as erotic as a Cillit Bang advert with the sound too loud, Jack Cardiff's film has clawed its way out of obscurity probably thanks to a groovy easy listening soundtrack, flashes of skin, a far more enticing alternative title (Naked Under Leather) and Marianne Faithfull in a skin-tight black biker suit and nothing else. The end result is absolute bunk, but it's nicely shot (although the poor picture quality on the DVD doesn't really help) and if it doesn't really work as a drama or a story, it's a mildly diverting cult curiosity from more than forty years ago.

The Girl On A Motorcycle starts at dawn in France: newlywed Rebecca (Faithfull) slips away from her ineffectual schoolteacher husband Raymond (Roger Mutton) and bikes across the border into Germany and the arms of her academic lecturer lover Daniel (Alain Delon), not for the first time. As she speeds through misty rural landscapes looking fabulous, she reminisces about her relationships with both men in flashbacks within flashbacks, muses philosophically about life and love and death ("Love is a feeling", she maintains, to which Delon replies "So is toothache") before an ending that you half expect right from the start but which nevertheless comes as a slight jolt.

You also get occasional moments of psychedelic blobs of colour that look like pop videos from the very early days, with heavy solarisation and the kind of dazzling pinks and yellows you get from video camera feedback that reduces the picture to an amorphous abstract: very pretty but ultimately meaningless. And that's the movie: it's nice to look at but doesn't really add up to anything.


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