A bizarre little road movie time capsule from the swinging 1960s, The Girl on a Motorcycle is a film that connects via the breezy cool of leads Alain Delon and Marianne Faithfull — two actors near the height of their stature at the time of its making. While Jack Cardiff achieved most of his recognition as a director of photography — he was the first ever cinematographer presented with an honorary Oscar — the pulsating, simulated-acid-trip visual vibe he imprints on this sexy, psychedelic romance is but part of its success, going hand in glove with its beguiling performances.
The story finds newly married Rebecca (Faithfull) leaving her husband Raymond (Roger Mutton) behind in the French countryside and making her way to visit her lover Daniel (Delon) in Germany (on, yes, a motorcycle), wearing nothing but a form-fitting black leather suit. (The film saw its initial Stateside release under the title Naked Under Leather.) Along the way, non-linear flashback reveries chart the trajectory of their relationship, from its inception and hot and bothered sexual couplings to what tore them apart. Mood dominates this offering, though it’s frequently punctuated by silly, self-defeating voiceover narration, campy dialogue exchanges and a strange and puzzling ending. Nevermind, though — the bits that work here cast a lovely spell, making for a worthy trip back to a seemingly more carefree time.
The Girl on a Motorcycle comes to Blu-ray presented in a solid 1080p/AVC-encoded 1.66:1 transfer that nicely captures the super-saturated two-tone color of the movie but manifests a bit of artifacting in some of the outdoor sequences. Audio arrives by way of a DTS-HD 2.0 master audio soundtrack, which is clean throughout. In addition to the original theatrical trailer and a gallery of promotional stills, the release comes with a nice if spotty feature-length commentary track from Cardiff, wherein he shares various anecdotes from the production. Those hoping for the exhaustive contextual analysis of a film historian are likely to be a bit disappointed, but those with an interest in how Cardiff achieved the evocative look of the film will be mesmerized. To purchase the Blu-ray via Amazon, click here; if Half is your thing, meanwhile, click here. B- (Movie) B- (Disc)