Girl On a Motorcycle / Naked Under Leather (1968)

Girl On a Motorcycle / Naked Under Leather (1968)

“Sometimes it’s an instinct to fly; I’m not going to feel guilty.”

Synopsis:
A recently married young woman named Rebecca (Marianne Faithfull) hops on her motorcycle in a leather catsuit and leaves behind her husband (Roger Mutton) to go visit her lover (Alain Delon), all while reflecting back on their previous encounters together.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Flashback Films
  • Infidelity
  • Motorcyclists
  • Road Trip

Review:
Cinematographer Jack Cardiff helmed this adaptation of a French novel by AndrĂ© Pieyre de Mandiargues, which was “the first film to receive an ‘X’ rating from the MPAA in the United States.” There is very little to the storyline other than what’s described above; according to DVD Savant, Cardiff’s “aim was to express psychological sexual states in cinematic terms,” and that’s pretty much what you get here.

Rebecca’s boredom with her husband and fantasies about Delon are standard “liberated woman” fare, but with the twist of watching her experience true freedom on the road through learning to ride, and then taking off on her own.

This is probably the “best” female biker flick I’ve seen so far — which is drawing from a limited and low-quality pool, but speaks to the power of seeing an independent woman making her way across cities and countryside without being molested by thugs.

Otherwise, however, this one is strictly for diehard Cardiff fans (and yes, the cinematography is lovely).

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Jack Cardiff’s cinematography

  • Fine location shooting in France, Germany, Switzerland, and Belgium

Must See?
No. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book, which makes sense for the time.

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