Friday, April 9, 2010

The Girl on a Motorcycle (1968)

I got the Limited Collector's Edition DVD of this movie from Germany, hoped that the quality would be great. It is not. The movie is grainy and the sound is bad. I read that this movie had wonderful cinematography, because the director, Jack Cardiff was excellent in that field; so it's a pity that this movie was not properly restored.

The movie opens with a bizarre scene: Rebecca in a circus, standing on a white horse which runs around the stage, is undressed by Daniel with his whip. It is only a dream, yet it is bizarre. Rebecca wakes up in the morning and put on her leather riding suit [She wears nothing beneath. That is why the title of the German DVD is Naked Under Leather], leaves without saying goodbye to her husband - who is still sleeping - rides the motorcycle given by her lover Daniel as her marriage present, and heads to Heidelberg to meet him. During the trip from France, she thinks about how they met, how she surrendered to his seduction, and how he taught her to ride a motorbike. She also imagines what she will do when she arrives in Heidelberg and meets Daniel in his gazebo.

What is famous from this movie must be the psychedelic art, which Jack Cardiff used to blur the images of Rebecca and Daniel making love. At that time perhaps it was a daring idea, but watching this movie now, I must say I don't like those scenes. About the story, it touches a topic of free love vs conjugal life. Rebecca has already planned to marry Raymond when she meets Daniel, but she knows Daniel will never marry her because of his bitter experience.

I'm not sure how popular Marianne Faithfull (who plays Rebecca) in 1967, but when I hear her name, I always think of Mick Jagger and the song "As Tears Go By". As for Daniel, casting Alain Delon as a professor who is crazy about motorbike and easily seduces women, was a wonderful idea; especially when his rival was Roger Mutton (who plays Rebecca's fiancé - and later husband).

Another complain from me is the big number of scenes of Rebecca riding the Harley, speaking to herself. However, it's the title of this movie, right?

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