I’ve written here before about how I used to go fanatically out of my way to collect memorabilia related to the movie Candy, in particular items emblazoned with photos of the film’s titular heroine, who was played by the comely Ewa Aulin, a one-time Miss Teen Sweden. Candy, which I didn’t actually see until much later was a “holy grail” movie for me, but when I saw it, my opinion was not favorable. (Nothing could have lived up to my high expectations to begin with, but Candy really sucked. But this isn’t about Candy, you can read what I wrote about that film here).
Another 60s goddess who I have a ridiculous amount of photos, movie posters, picture sleeve records, sheet music and even fine art photographic prints of, is Marianne Faithfull. Of all of my pantheon of 60s goddesses (Ursula Andress, Paula Prentiss, Francoise Hardy, Raquel Welch, Jane Birkin, Sandie Shaw, Joni Mitchell, P.P. Arnold, Claudine Longet) I’d have to say that Faithfull is, by quite a wide margin, my #1 favorite. Quite simply, there was no female anywhere on the planet as cool and as sexy as she was during the 1960s. She was born with one of the most classically beautiful faces of all time and she just had that look which embodied the era as no other woman could, not even Twiggy. A goddess, she was and still is.
A film titled Girl On a Motorcycle, alternatively known as Naked Under Leather, was made in 1968 to capitalize on Faithfull’s libertine reputation, acquired as the result of her allegedly having only a fur rug wrapped around her otherwise naked body during a drug bust at Keith Richard’s home the year before. In the film, Faithfull famously wears a black-leather catsuit with fur lining. Meow.
There’s not a whole lot of dialogue and even less plot in Girl On a Motorcycle. In a nutshell, Faithfull plays a young woman bored in her marriage who decides to escape, riding through the countryside on a Harley-Davidson to meet her lover (Alain Delon). The audience hears her thoughts and existential musings. There are some spicy sex scenes with Delon that earned the quite-tame-by-today’s-standards film, an X-rating. It’s a little hard to follow and doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense, but who cares? That’s not why you’re watching it, is it?
What we basically have in Girl On a Motorcycle is one of the quintessential swinging 60s time capsule relics of psychedelic sexploitation. Is it a “good movie”? No. Is it a feast for the eyes. YES, indeed it is, and not just because of the gorgeous Ms. Faithfull, either. The European scenery is also brilliantly captured by director Jack Cardiff, a well-respected cinematographer who also shot classic films like The African Queen, The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus—not to mention Rambo: First Blood II—and directed The Liquidator. There’s also the excellent psychedelic jazz score from Les Reed to recommend the film.
In summation: Girl On a Motorcycle, it’s 90 minutes of great shot after shot of one of the hottest women ever born riding a motorcycle, “naked” under a leather catsuit or else having that same catsuit unzipped by a Frenchman’s teeth. With great music and some solarized psychedelic stuff thrown in for good measure (and to foil the censors). At the end she hits a truck and dies! I kid you not…
This is the trailer for Girl on a Motorcycle. Picture this going on for about 90 minutes and… you’ll get the idea: It’s streaming in HD on Netflix.