This gem of Eurotica exploitation cinema was re-issued in the U.S. as NAKED UNDER LEATHER if that gives you any idea how this thing was pitched. Pitched like a tent I guess you could say. Marianne Faithfull plays Rebecca who cannot stop dreaming of an old lover this will prove to be more than an unhealthy relationship for the beautiful young woman. Five minutes in we are greeted by a surreal bit of nightmarish circus imagery which has her husband playing a cello at the center of a big top while her lover rides around the ring on a bike. Enter Rebecca clad in skin tight leather on the back of a white stallion. Her lover is dressed in a white tux with tails and a top hat and begins flogging her with a whip with each successive crack removing more of the tight leather suit until she is riding bareback bareback. The nightmare continues to delve more and more into dark places until she awakes choking herself, and enjoying it, and then dons the titular leather and strikes out on said motorcycle. See how I worked tit into that?
This thing is sleazy goodness from the get go. But don’t be fooled it is smart as hell too. Cardiff tries to present the thoughts of a young newly wed bride riding on a motorcycle into a ‘stream of consciousness’ presentation the likes of James Jones. He doesn’t fail in the endeavor at all. It is hard to separate the dreamlike remembrance state with real time and it seems intentionally so. Psychedelia abounds in this flick. The sex scenes are presented in a reverse negative with a severe red wash.
Rebecca screws her husband, not the way he wants either. She leaves wearing nothing but leather and tells the BP attendant to just have her husband, well known to him, pay for the tank of gas. Cardiff makes sure to fetishize the slow entry of the gas nozzle into the tank and shows it slowly and in extreme closeup. Many artistic and erotic shots follow. The slow and sexy unzipping with an extreme closeup that turns the sound of the zipper into the tracks of a passing tank. Really amazing pieces in this film.
Newly wed, she has decided over the course of two months that being married is death. She can obliterate all that holds her back and turn herself on by riding faster and faster. The motorcycle and the men in her life both of course. In fact, it is difficult to determine who her true lover is–whether it be Daniel, portrayed by Alain Delon, or the motorcycle itself. Marianne certainly gives the bike smoldering glances that would melt the tires right off of it.
Her husband is boring. As we learn he always does what he ought to do and never does way he wants to do. Is this what drives her away from him? Youbetcha. The story progresses in the most delightful and disjointed style imaginable with jump cuts to various periods in Rebecca’s life. From her dates with her husband Raymond, to the night Daniel sneaks into her room and fucks her to an artfully filmed screaming orgasm cutting as she begins to scream to a still image of her face racked with rapturous pleasure. We find that Raymond is the nice guy she married while Daniel was her lover who treated her like a slave as she rides across Europe being fondled, ogled and felt up by border guards while internally commenting on the sexual orientation of those who are not interested in her. Her professor lover states that if virtue for virtue’s sake is acceptable then so is sin and he uses Rebecca’s sinfully built body without getting emotionally attached. He only wants a “randy bitch” and Rebecca flies through blue screens of the European countryside to get to him riding the motorcycle she calls her “black pimp” coming while she is going…really. I won’t ruin this gem for you if you haven’t seen it. Does she get back to Daniel? Or does she ride back to Raymond? You’ll have to watch it to find out but I bet you’ll be shocked by the ending regardless.
She is surely gorgeous in leather, can’t get enough of that! Alas, the long shots are of Bill Ivy in a blond wig because Marianne couldn’t ride a bike. Sadly Ivy would die in a motorcycle crash the year after this flick. There is a message in this flick, but I am not sure what it may be…I am unfamiliar with the novel that provided the source material. I may check it out later.
I checked this thing out on a Kino Lorber issue of the Jezebel division of Redemption films on Blu Ray. The HD picture is soft but still fantastic. Not many features on this one, just a commentary by Jack Cardiff, a gallery, and the theatrical trailer. Definitely worth checking out for any fans of Euro cinema!