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The Girl on a Motorcycle (Special Edition) (Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

Bored housewife Rebecca escapes her loveless marriage by escaping on her motorcycle on the roads of Alsace and racing toward a tryst with her lover Daniel in Heidelberg.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The Girl on a Motorcycle Blu-ray (KL Studio Classics)

A year before the counterculture classic biker film Easy Rider, director Jack Cardiff gave us the Anglo-French feminist biker film The Girl on a Motorcycle. The film was originally released in English-speaking countries in an X-rated version titled Naked Under Leather. A leather-clad blonde bombshell Marianne Faithfull stars as the titular girl on a motorcycle, Rebecca. She spends the film rumbling down the roads of Alsace as she races toward a tryst with her lover Daniel (Alain Delon).

The story traces her relationship with Daniel and her loveless marriage to her husband through a series of disjointed flashbacks as she makes her way to her tryst with Daniel. Cardiff, who was also the film’s screenwriter and cinematographer, throws everything into the film to try to make it interesting. For instance, he includes psychedelic dream sequences reminiscent of the LSD-fueled parties

There are some issues that hinder the film. Lack of much dialogue or narrative, the obviousness prop Faithfull rides, and the labyrinthian use of flashbacks leave this film visually compelling yet forgettable.

  • Marianne Faithfull in The Girl on a Motorcycle (1968)
  • Marianne Faithfull and Alain Delon in The Girl on a Motorcycle (1968)
  • Marianne Faithfull in The Girl on a Motorcycle (1968)
  • Marianne Faithfull in The Girl on a Motorcycle (1968)
  • The Girl on a Motorcycle (Special Edition) (KL Studio Classics)
  • The Girl on a Motorcycle (Special Edition) (KL Studio Classics)

The Video

The film is taken from a new 4K restoration. The Blu-ray is in a 1.66:1 AVC 1080p encodement. It is rich in detail but heavy in granularity. For example, some scenes in the film have a coarser layer of grain than others, however the entire transfer looks organic and free from noise or DNR.

Colors in the restoration and transfer are vibrant. Check out chapter 1 at the 11:03 mark. The colors on the gasoline pumps ‘pop,’ there is extended shadow detail, and the headlights on the motorcycle look bright. The grain structure can be seen clearly and heavily, but it is not harmful. Chapter 7 at the 01:11:17 mark with the boat on the water at sundown also shows beautiful colors, good shadow delineation, although it has some slight washout in the darkest areas.

The Audio

The original monaural soundtrack for The Girl on a Motorcycle is provided in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. The audio sounds full and clear with only the slightest hints of some distortion from the source.

The Supplements

Kino Lorber includes two excellent commentaries. It is generally good to hear from the filmmaker although I always enjoy listening to Heller-Nicholas’ insightful commentaries as well.

What’s Included:

  • Audio Commentary by Director Jack Cardiff
  • Audio Commentary by Film Historian Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
  • Girl on a Motorcycle Trailer (SD)
  • Reversible sleeve

The Final Assessment

This film has never looked better or more filmic on home video than it does in this new 4K restoration on Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics. The film has always been visually compelling and groundbreaking. It should be experienced at least once despite it remaining a somewhat difficult watch.

The Girl on a Motorcycle (Special Edition) is out on Blu-ray December 13, 2022, from KL Studio Classics


  • Rating Certificate: X
  • Studios & Distributors: Adel Productions | Mid-Atlantic Film (Holdings) | British Lion Film Corporation | Société Nouvelle de Cinématographie (SNC) | Kino Lorber
  • Director: Jack Cardiff
  • Written By: André Pieyre de Mandiargues (novel “La Motocyclette”) | Ronald Duncan(screenplay) | Jack Cardiff(adaptation)
  • Run Time: 91 Mins.
  • Street Date: 13 December 2022
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitles: English SDH
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Bored housewife Rebecca escapes her loveless marriage by escaping on her motorcycle on the roads of Alsace and racing toward a tryst with her lover Daniel in Heidelberg. The Girl on a Motorcycle (Special Edition) (Blu-ray Review)