This trippy 1968 British Lion film concerns the free-spirited Rebecca (Marianne Faithfull) who leaves her more conventional husband, Raymond to go and meet a man called Daniel (Alain Delon) who she met for the first time as she was working at her father’s bookshop who seems much more interesting and passionate. The journey is undertaken on her prized Harley Davidson Electra Glide and entails her travelling from France to Germany. It was Daniel who gave her the bike as a wedding present. The film captures the inner pontifications of Rebecca as she ponders convention and how suffocating it is and her desires for Daniel rather than the more stoid Raymond.
After having a few too many shots in a German bar she climbs onto her motorcycle again to finish her journey to meet Daniel. It was at this point that I thought that there shoudl have been more films made of Rebecca’s adventures on her motorcycle and even a spin-off TV series. But then I saw the shocker of an ending and realised why there weren’t more films made.
This film was not only a star vehicle for Faithfull (who doesn’t disappoint) but also feels like British Lion dipping it’s toe into the kind of mind blowing and tripped out films made for those who were fully ensconced in that swinging scene, man. Several sequences look like acid-soaked flashbacks with their psychedelic colours and dream like qualities.
I also loved the daydream style sequences within the film such as the circus sequence in which Rebecca is standing on top of a moving horse whilst being whipped by ringmaster Delon. There’s also a very special sequence in which Rebecca is riding along on her bike and superimposes the faces of her beaux on the billboards she sees.
The film had the more provocative title of Naked Under Leather in the States. This was after they made the filmmakers cut out several scenes of smut.
This is a fantastic, over the top and quite crazy piece of filmmaking and is still regarded as a brilliant cult film and for good reason.
**** out of *****