Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 4th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: UK, 1968
Director: Jack Cardiff
Writers: Jack Cardiff, Ronald Duncan
Cast: Alain Delon, Marianne Faithfull, Roger Mutton, Marius Goring, Catherine Jourdan, Jean Leduc, Jacques Marin, André Maranne, Bari Jonson, Arnold Diamond, John G. Heller, Marika Rivera, Richard Blake, Chris Williams, Colin West, Kit Williams
DVD released: May 19th, 2009
Approximate running time: 88 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Salvation Films/Redemption
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Girl on a Motorcycle was directed by Jack Cardiff who also directed the cult classic The Freakmaker. He was also an accomplished cinematographer whose notable films include Under Capricorn, The African Queen, The Barefoot Contessa, War and Peace, The Brave One, The Prince and the Showgirl, Legend of the Lost, The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus (for which he won an academy award). While Jack Cardiff is credited as the cinematographer on Girl on a Motorcycle, one must not overlook the contributions of René Guissart Jr. (Le Mans) who is credited as the films lighting cameraman. The score for Girl on a Motorcycle was composed by Les Reed a former member of The John Barry Seven. Some of his standout compositions include “It’s Not Unusual”, “Delilah” and “There’s a Kind of Hush (All Over the World)”. The screenplay for Girl on a Motorcycle was adapted from André Pieyre de Mandiargues’ novel “La Motocyclette”.
The plot for Girl on a Motorcycle is primarily told through a series of flashbacks which occur as the films lead character Rebecca is riding her motorcycle on her way to meet her lover Daniel. The plot is easy enough to follow and digest with only few moments that try to stretch their Freudian meanings. This films strongest asset is its visual style which does a superb job capturing the many locations used in the film. The shots of Rebecca riding her motorcycle range from very good to downright terrible (when back projection photography is being used). Another area where the film is kind of a mixed bag is when it mixes the psychedelic feel of the era into the visuals. Ultimately Girl on a Motorcycle is a mildly entertaining film that features superb performances from Marianne Faithfull (who looks very enticing in her full body leather suit) and Alain Delon.
Redemption Films presents Girl on a Motorcycle in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. Girl on a Motorcycle was previously released in North America by Anchor Bay in 1999 and that DVD presented the film in a letterboxed widescreen. The transfer for Redemption Films DVD release has a muted color palette and the image looks soft throughout. Print damage is minimal and edge enhancement is never excessive. Also this transfer has not been flagged for progressive playback. The interlaced image fares well as it remains stable for the bulk of the film. Despite its shortcomings Redemption Films transfer is an improvement over the previous North American DVD release from Anchor Bay.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio sounds generally clear and dialog is easy enough to follow. It should be noted that the dialog is not as robust as the score or when a motorcycle is zooming across the screen.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film and an image gallery that features music from the film playing in the background. Also included with this release are trailers for other Redemption titles that are also available on DVD. A prominent extra from the Anchor Bay DVD release, an audio commentary with director Jack Cardiff has not been carried over for this release. Overall Girl on a Motorcycle gets an average DVD release from Redemption Films.