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Written by Jay Creepy   
Friday, 01 April 2016


AKA: A Garota da Motocicleta, La motocyclette, Pigen pa motorcyklen, Gilr on a Motorcycle, Naked Under Leather, Nuda sotta la pelle, Motosikletli kiz, Flickan och motorcyklen, Nacky unter Leder.

Directed by: Jack Cardiff
Written by: Jack Cardiff, Ronald Duncan, Gillian Freeman, Andre Pieyre de Mandiargues
Produced by: William Sassoon
Cinematography by: Jack Cardiff
Editing by: Peter Musgrave
Music by: Les Reed
Cast: Marianne Faithfull, Roger Mutton, Alain Delon, Marius Goring, Catherine Jourdon.
Year: 1968
Country: UK
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 1 h 31min

Distribution: Metrodome

If there's a few women who seem to capture the 60s, it's probably safe to say that Marianne Faithfull would be in that group; mainly for the headline grabbing issues involving herself and some Rolling Stones chaps. She managed a few roles in movies and through the 80s a handful of albums, whilst out of her head apparently. In recent decades she is more behaved and quite focused.

The Girl on a Motorcycle was a pure child creation of the 60s -- expression, surreal, and fast editing. Unfortunately, for the most part it's rather a drag, unless you were smoking something heavy duty and sat in a small cinema when it first came out, I suppose. Marianne is full of herself in this. Her ego is blazing and she delivers her lines like a porno star.

Meet Rebecca, an average girl whose partner is a teacher. She plods through life without much difficulty, but early in the morning has to jump out of bed after a pretty cool dream, wherein she is in leathers, upon a horse, riding around a circus big top as her clothes are whipped from her body. Cutting in standard colourful hues and mad shapes, like clown faces and tits whilst the soundtrack echoes and warps.

She heads to her wardrobe and quietly dresses in her skin tight leather after trying to wake up her fella, Raymond. “Just touch me and I won't go.” she narrates in her mind. “Hmmmm, skin, it's like skin.” as she rubs the leather erotically. “I'm like an animal.”

“Ohhhh, there he is.” she whispers at her bike, and off she goes into the countryside. Stopping for some fuel, she realises she has no money on her, so she asks if it's okay to charge her husband when he passes by. The man is okay with it. “A full tank? You going a long way?” she says she is. “Your husband, he should ride this to school and the kids won't make fun of him.”

“It's my bike, no one else will ever use it!” she smiles. Raymond travelled from a large city in Switzerland to a sleepy community, which she hates because it seems to be full of graveyards and people close to the grave. We see him in class trying to teach and the kids running rings around him smoking and playing a radio. Not quite Class of 1984 but irritating little shits.

As she rides again, we have loads of funky music and psychedelic colours. Rebecca stops for a breather, laying under a tree and waxing lyrical about being a leaf. She speaks to us about a man called Daniel who she is meeting up with in Germany. “It's been so bloody boring.” she goes on for a while about how she has felt waiting, then longer scenes of her riding again through a city in a flashback, leading to a kiss with Daniel.

Back to the present, she's rudely interrupted by a gang of soldiers passing her by. “Where you ever a soldier, Daniel? I can't imagine you taking orders off anyone.” she muses. Waiting for a train to pass, she recalls a holiday with Raymond in happier times. It's a terribly dated holiday with snow and skis, oh woe watching the jolly little trundle like sitting through dragged out holiday snaps. Due to a situation which happens, she rushes their marriage.

“It's mad us girls rush to marriage.” says Rebecca to herself as she rides the bike. “What's the future, lots of babies and not much money?” We then see how she rode a bike with Daniel in the snow and how they exchanged passionate moments.

The flashbacks continue and social comments about relationships and children carry on regardless. Rebecca rides and rides through cities and countryside’s. She laments her almost forced closeness with Raymond and how Daniel makes her feel like a slave, how she needs him so much. We see more about him, who he is, which isn't much to be honest, other than he taught her how to use a motorbike.

“Love is just a feeling, like toothache!” Daniel slurs. “What do you do with toothache?” she asks him in one such bedridden flashback. He answers in a dead pan tone, “If it hurts too much, you pull it out by the roots. It's dead, no more trouble.”

The affair has been lasting a while and this time she has decided to leave everything, including her belongings behind with Raymond on the motorbike, which Daniel himself bought her as a wedding gift. All smiles towards the finale, her long hair striking an ego tripping pose in the wind. The predictable ending arrives and you're left sort of with a feeling of “Right, that was it then?”

The soundtrack is perhaps the highlight. It’s really upbeat and tight over the film. Marianne does act well in the film, given that she is in the lead with a pointlessly deep idea, which has run amok from a typewriter. Roger Mutton and Alain Delon who both have hefty roles, play on empty; it's hard to describe how soulless both chaps are. Maybe that was the point since Rebecca is leaving one to go to another.

Marianne bagged a few other roles including a small one in Lucifer Rising, but it was her singing career which earned her a wage, up until recently she still pops albums out. Director Jack Cardiff did more as a skilled cinematographer but did also direct The Freakmaker and The Mercenaries with Rod (The Time Machine) Taylor. He makes good use of the endless locations.

The Girl on a Motorcycle is an odd but watchable movie, however be aware that, unlike some late 60s creations, this has sadly past its date on the carton and should only be viewed keeping that in mind. The Metrodome DVD release doesn't do much for it, taping on a commentary and a trailer mainly. Ooooh, wonderful. The excellent score is available on CD though.



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 Aspect Ratio: 16:9
 Region: PAL R2
 Audio: Dolby Digital Mono

 – Commentary with Jack Cardiff
 – Trailer
 – Filmographies

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