THE GIRL ON A MOTORCYCLE
The need for speed..
Marianne Faithfull / Alain Delon / Marius Goring / Roger Mutton / Catherine Jourdan / Jean Leduc / From the Novel by Andre Pieyre de Mandiarges / Screenplay Ronald Duncan & Jack Cardiff / Art Direction Jean d’Eaubonne & Russell Hagg / Music Les Reed / Editing Peter Musgrave / Cinematography Jack Cardiff & Rene Guissart Jr. / Producer Sasha Kamenka, Ronan O’Rahilly & William Sassoon / Director Jack Cardiff
Shot in just two short weeks, Jack Cardiff managed to take a relatively unknown French erotic novel (at least unknown outside of France), and weave it into a Stream of Conciousness motorcycle diary for the 60’s Beat generation. It’s not the slickest of productions, and much of the supporting dialogue was fairly crudely dubbed over the material shot in Europe, but somehow Cardiff pulled off something quite unique and dream-like. The sexual intensity is palapable in every scene, but quite confounded the British censors, who couldn’t quite see where and what to cut among the giddy solarised dream sequences, and fast paced editing. The American release was a quite different story, the late 60’s censorship drive Stateside had a field day with it’s scissors, and cut scenes left, right and centre. To polish of the hatchet job, some silly sod changed the title to ‘Naked Under Leather’, which I’m sure confused the viewer no end.. a porno movie, with the sex cut out.
‘Skin.. it’s like skin. I’m like an animal..’
‘..not all the dead are buried. Why don’t they rebel? At least the young ones, rebellion’s the only thing that keeps you alive! ‘
‘Timid little mice, caught in traps.. I’m caught, I run round my little cage..’
‘What do you teach, Daniel? Philosophy? Psychology? Anthropology?I know, you’re a tutor in pornography!’
‘..and the bike waiting, almost champing at the bit, no much more virile than a horse, and fast, fast, fast! The first time I passed this vert spot it was already so hot that the handlebars were burning through my gloves. I was doing a hundred and thirty.’
‘Rise quickly.. burn!’
‘So warm.. even this early. Like thousands of fingers.. I’m a bit like a leaf myself. Green.. not in the usual sense, very supple and young, bendable, just out of the bud.. and there the similarity ends.
‘It was a combination suit of black leather, all very shiny and lined with white fur, which closed right up to the neck and fastened there and at the wrists and ankles with straps and buckles. Rebecca had opened it wide (whick made it look like the hide of some huge beast newly flayed), then, legs first, she had climbed into it naked, save for the little codpiece of transparent nylon over the triangle of her short hairs, and pulling upwards on the little tongue of the zip-fastener she had closed this dark sheath over her naturally brown body. ‘Nothing is as soft as that.’ she had said to herself (somewhat naively for it was only rabbit fur and she hadn’t had the chance of feeling either sable or mink) while the blood rose to her head because of the heat and the soft tickling she felt over the enire stretch of her skin. ‘My body is like a violin in a quilted box.’ ..
..making use of the footplate, Rebecca had got astride the Harley-Davidson, she had sat down on the broad saddle whose well-sprung feel between her thighs she contemplated with satisfaction, happy too that there was only room for one on it, for she had obstinately refused to have a pillion fixed on behind. With her right hand she had turned the throttle gently while with her left she retarded the spark slightly and allowing the little advance-retard lever to slip back under her fingers. The heavy motorcycle had started softly into motion..’
THE GIRL ON A MOTORCYCLE
Andre Pieyre de Mandiargues (1963)
STILLS & PRODUCTION
-POST DEDICATED TO THE SAD PASSING OF DIRECTOR JACK CARDIFF (1914-2009)-