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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Girl on the Motorcycle [Blu-ray]

 

(Jack Cardiff, 1968)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Ares Productions

Video: Redemption Films

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:27:47.362

Disc Size: 17,203,418,848 bytes

Feature Size: 16,893,505,536 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.91 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 24th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080i / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1595 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1595 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary: DTS-HD Master Audio English 1595 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1595 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• Audio commentary by director Jack Cardiff
• Original theatrical trailer
• Stills gallery

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Ditching her husband, bored newlywed Rebecca (Marianne Faithfull) hops on her motorcycle and races through Alsace to reconnect with her ex-lover Daniel (Alain Delon) in this uncensored version of the film. A string of flashbacks tells the story of the events that led her to abandon marriage just after her wedding. Jack Cardiff directs this psychedelic cult classic, Europe's answer to Easy Rider.

***

Director Jack Cardiff also served as scripter and cinematographer of the Anglo-French co-production Girl on a Motorcycle... (La Motocyclette) The girl in question is played by leather-clad Marianne Faithfull, who speeds through Alsace on her cycle, en route to a tryst in Heidelberg with her ex-lover (Alain Delon). In a series of flashbacks, she recalls the events leading up to the present critical moment, including her desultory marriage. Based on a novel by Andre de Pieyre, the R-rated Girl on a Motorcycle was originally released in English-speaking countries in an X-rated version titled Naked Under Leather. Based on the stage play by Walter Melville .

 

 

The Film:

When the credits go speeding down the highway, at the beginning of "The Girl on a Motorcycle," in an incredibly long sweeping shot, it seems that the movie, based on a novel by the Prix Goncourt winner, André Pieyre de Mandiargues ("The Margin"), is is going to be much more fun than it subsequently turns out to be. The motorcycle sequences, directed beautifully by Jack Cardiff, have a kind of baroque musical quality, with tangles of traffic, trees, leaves, tunnels and overpasses resolved in ways that produce a cheery escalation of mood. But the rest turns into a collector's item for motorsex-leather-rose petal fans, as Mr. Cardiff becomes a sort of D. H. Lawrence of the Harley-Davidson.

Excerpt from The NY Times located HERE

Thrill as adulterous Faithfull zips off into the arms of former lover Delon for a bout of leather-clad, tank-straddling, high-octane how's-your-father, shot by director/cameraman Cardiff as if it were high art indeed. Proof that the Swinging '60s could be toweringly soporific.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Girl on the Motorcycle on Blu-ray is given an interlaced transfer from Redemption Films. Even aside from that - it is pretty weak. I wish both the film and transfer were better - but they are not. The image quality shows some thickness. Detail in close-ups is superior to SD and is probably a decent replication of the film. There is some damage (see last capture) and speckles but I wouldn't say this was the biggest flaw visually. This is only single-layered and has modest contrast although some colors do perk-up and shine. Overall I would say this is not a great transfer and will provide an ineffectual presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Damage

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD Master via 2.0 channel stereo at 1595 kbps is competent but unremarkable. Motorcycle engine sounds have some depth and dialogue is clear but there is nothing notable here. Perhaps this is akin to the original presentation - I don't know. There are no subtitles offered and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

I believe the Jack Cardiff commentary is the one on the OOP Anchor Bay DVD from 1999. It's a decent addition and the famed director/cinematographer is always a pleasure to listen to. There is also a weak trailer and stills gallery.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
There were times I was starting to get into The Girl on the Motorcycle - but it didn't have much staying power. I liked the psychedelic color infusion sequences. Both with the interlaced transfer and odd, disjointed film force us to give a thumbs down for this Blu-ray. I don't encourage anyone to purchase unless they are overly curious about the film (alternative title 'Naked Under Leather'.) 

Gary Tooze

April 16th, 2012

 


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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