On anyone’s shortlist of great cinematographers, Jack Cardiff also directed some quality pics. This wasn’t one of them. Very French New Wave, though more voyeuristic Roger Vadim than Cahiers du Cinéma intellectual, with Rolling Stones muse Marianne Faithfull taking on the Brigitte Bardot sexy-number spot by taking off her clothes. (A censored Stateside release was retitled NAKED UNDER LEATHER.) Working at her Dad’s book shop, Faithfull turns unfaithful on her Milquetoast British fiancé when sexy customer Alain Delon whisks her away for lessons in love & motorcycles. It’s ecstacy²! That’s about it plotwise, as Cardiff jazzes things up with blasts of solarized color for a Swinging ‘Sixties psychedelic edge. And it just might work as a Mod mood piece if only Faithfull weren’t so hopeless on screen. Whatever magic she had in real life gets lost in translation. Period detail and unintentional giggles hold some interest, especially a well-placed bouquet of roses that keeps Delon decent before bursting into Red Solarized Sensations when he gets aroused. Oh, Alain! You naughty, naughty beautiful boy!
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Much more fun if you switch to the Cardiff Commentary audio-track.