Portrait of an American innocent. In 1955, Bettie Page (1923-2008 ) waits to testify before a Senate subcommittee investigating the effects of pornographic material on American adolescents and juveniles. In flashbacks, we see her childhood in Tennessee, a brief marriage, a gang rape, and her going to New York City in 1949. There she takes acting lessons, models for photos, and acts in short films for adults, earning the nickname, "The Pin-Up Queen of the Universe." We see her relationship with merchants Irving and Paula Klaw, photographers John Willie and Bunny Yeager, boyfriends, and the public. Through it all, she is wholesome, sporting, and forthright - Eve before the fall. Written by
The real John Willie (portrayed by Jared Harris) never met Bettie Page. He did publish a photo of her in his Bizarre magazine, but it was shot by another photographer. Irving Klaw, who published many of Bettie's most famous photos, did publish some of Willie's Adv. of Sweet Gwendoline material. See more »
The film depicts Bettie as being OK with the fetish/costume/bondage modeling - and being quite naive as to the erotic uses of such photos. This is exactly opposite from how the real Bettie Page felt about modeling. Her attitude basically was that "God made us nude, so how bad could it be?" but the more extreme fetish posing fostered sexually deviant desires. The numerous fully nude shoots she did for amateur camera clubs bears this out. See more »
God gave me the talent to pose for pictures and it seems to make people happy. That can't be a bad thing, can it?
Not to me it's not, but what does God think?
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craft service - Grover Cleveland, craft service assistant - Benjamin Harrison See more »
Bettie Page was a icon of the repressed 1950s, when she represented the sexual freedom that was still a decade away, but high in the hopes and dreams of many teenagers and young adults. Gretchen Mol does a superb job of portraying the scandalous Bettie, who was a small town girl with acting ambitions and a great body. Her acting career went nowhere, but her body brought her to the peak of fame in an admittedly fringe field. Photogrsphed in black and white with color interludes when she gets out of the world of exploitation in New York, this made-for-TV (HBO) film has good production values and a very believable supporting cast. The problem is, it's emotionally rather flat. It's difficult to form an attachment to the character, since Bettie is portrayed as someone quite shallow and naive given the business she was in. The self-serving government investigations are given a lot of screen time, which slows down the film towards the end. But it's definitely worth watching for the history of the time, and to see the heavy-handed government repression that was a characteristic of the fifties. 7/10
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