The Girl on a Motorcycle

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The Girl on a Motorcycle (French: La motocyclette) is a 1968 British-French erotic romantic drama film starring Alain Delon and Marianne Faithfull and featuring Roger Mutton, Marius Goring and Catherine Jourdan. It was listed to compete at the 1968 Cannes Film Festival but the festival was cancelled due to the May 1968 events in France.[3] The Girl on a Motorcycle redefined the leather jacket for motorcyclists into a full body suit that Marianne Faithfull wore in the film.[4] It was the first film to receive an X rating in the United States.[5] Edited by Warner Brothers to get an "R" rating, the film was released as Naked Under Leather in the United States.

The Girl on a Motorcycle
The-Girl-on-a-Motocycle.jpg
French theatrical release poster
Directed byJack Cardiff
Produced byWilliam Sassoon
Screenplay byRonald Duncan
Thought sequences dialogue:
Gillian Freeman
Story byJack Cardiff
(Adaptation)
Based onLa Motocyclette
by André Pieyre de Mandiargues[1]
StarringAlain Delon
Marianne Faithfull
Roger Mutton
Marius Goring
Music byLes Reed
CinematographyJack Cardiff
Edited byPeter Musgrave
Production
company
Ares Productions
Société Nouvelle de Cinématographie
Mid-Atlantic Films
Distributed byBritish Lion Films (UK)
Société Nouvelle de Cinématographie (France)
Warner Bros.-Seven Arts
Claridge Pictures (US)
Release date
October 1968
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
France
LanguageEnglish
Box office626,331 admissions (France)[2]

PlotEdit

Newly married Rebecca leaves her husband Raymond's bed on her prized motorbike—her symbol of freedom and escape. During her ride to visit Daniel, her lover in Heidelberg, she indulges in psychedelic and erotic reveries as she relives her changing relationship with the two men. Her flashback scenes reveal the background story. Rebecca met Daniel while working at her father's bookshop a few weeks before her marriage to Raymond, a school teacher. Daniel gives Rebecca motorcycle driving lessons on a Norton motorbike. They quickly become lovers. Daniel gives Rebecca a Harley Davidson Electra Glide motorcycle as a wedding present, delivering it to the bookshop. Her ride to Daniel ends when an oncoming truck pulls out into her lane of travel, she crashes, and perishes.

CastEdit

Cast notesEdit

  • Faithfull's riding double in medium to distant shots was British GP champion Bill Ivy.

ProductionEdit

The film was made on locations in France (including Haguenau), Germany (including Neulauterburg), Switzerland (including Geneva), and Belgium. The bookshop scenes were filmed at a bookshop in Geneva. In many of the scenes where Marianne Faithfull is seen driving the Harley Davidson Electra Glide motorcycle at high speeds, she was seated on the motorcycle which was attached to a platform that was being pulled by a vehicle in front of it. Many of the scenes were filmed in the English language and then again in the French language. Cardiff received extensive cooperation from the police in blocking the roads; that allowed so many scenes to have no other vehicular traffic in them except for the lone motorcycle. The final crash scene was staged on an abandoned airstrip in England. The "psychedelic" color effects were achieved by solarizing the film during post-production.

ReceptionEdit

The film was the sixth most popular movie in general release in Britain during 1968.[6]

Home media releasesEdit

The Girl on a Motorcycle was released on VHS in 1998 and DVD in 1999 by Starz/Anchor Bay. A remastered edition on DVD and Blu-ray Disc was released in 2012 by Jezebel. Both versions contain the same film material, commentary by director Jack Cardiff, and original theatrical trailer. However, the earlier version is approximately 91 minutes long, while the later, remastered version, is approximately 88 minutes long. This time discrepancy is due to the earlier version being played back at a slightly slower speed.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Pieyre de Mandiargues, André (1963). La Motocyclette. Paris: Gallimard. OCLC 3565796.
  2. ^ Box Office information for film at Box Office Story
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Girl on a Motorcycle". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 5 April 2009.
  4. ^ Quilleriet, Anne-Laure. The Leather Book. New York: Assouline, 2004.
  5. ^ "'X' Marks Spot For Only 1 of 1st MPAA Group: W7 'Girl'". Daily Variety. 22 October 1968. p. 1.
  6. ^ "John Wayne-money-spinner" The Guardian (31 December 1968)

External linksEdit