6.6/10
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The Notorious Bettie Page (2005)

R | | Biography, Drama | 5 May 2006 (USA)
The life of Bettie Page, a 1950s pin-up model and one of the first sex icons in America, who became the target of a Senate investigation due to her risqué bondage photos.

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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Maxie
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Preacher in Nashville
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Nervous Man
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Teacher
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Billy Neal
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Scotty
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Minister in Miami
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June
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Jerry Tibbs
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Good Girl. Bad Girl. Sinner. Saint. Who is. . . See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for nudity, sexual content and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

5 May 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Ballad of Bettie Page  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$143,131 (USA) (14 April 2006)

Gross:

$1,410,778 (USA) (23 June 2006)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Demi Moore was said to be very keen on playing Bettie Page but lost the role to Liv Tyler, who eventually backed out during the prolonged development stage before Gretchen Mol was finally cast. Prior to Mol's casting, Ione Skye and Sherilyn Fenn where considered for the role. By the time production was in process, Fenn was later deemed to be "too old" for the part and Skye was pregnant. See more »

Goofs

The opening scene is an establishing shot of Broadway, labeled "1955". However, a movie theater marquee can be seen advertising 1948's BF's Daughter and none of the cars is of a more recent model than late '40s. See more »

Quotes

Bettie Page: 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?
John Willie: Not to me it's not, but what does God think?
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Crazy Credits

craft service - Grover Cleveland, craft service assistant - Benjamin Harrison See more »

Connections

References When the Daltons Rode (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

Skokiaan
Written by August Msarurgwa
Performed by Dámaso Pérez Prado (as Perez Prado)
Courtesy of BMG U.S. Latin
Under license from BMG Film & TV Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Nororious or safe?
16 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If this film strikes you (as it did us and, apparently, others departing the theater) as disappointingly thin, it may be because the subject herself is mildly disappointing. The film faithfully presents us Bettie Page as she probably was: a playful almost-innocent from the rural South whose career as "the pinup queen of the universe" was for her just goofy, natural fun. Her eventual moral qualms, religious conversion and sudden departure from nude and bondage modeling are biographically accurate, yet hard to understand given how untroubled she seemed by her livelihood.

There are many reasons to see this film even so, not least of which are the amazing b&w noir cinematography of W. Mott Hopfel III (complete with old fashioned wipes and dissolves), the 1950's-faithful acting of the cast under the direction of Mary Harron, pitch-perfect performances by some of our most underrated supporting actors (including Chris Bauer, Lili Taylor, Sarah Paulson, Austin Pendleton, Dallas Roberts and Victor Slezak), not to mention the Oscar-worthy and technically difficult lead performance of Gretchen Mol.

Ms. Mol does several scenes fully naked and most others in amazing period lingerie and "specialty" costumes (gloriously assembled by costume designer John A. Dunn), yet she astonishingly maintains Bettie Page's unstudied pleasure in her lush body. To watch Ms. Mol as Ms. Page, an aspiring actress, progressing through degrees of progressively less "bad" auditions and student acting scenes is to see a truly fine actress in complete control of her craft.

The script does effectively bring us into 1950's America, where childhood sexual abuse, lawless abduction and rape, and the legal suppression of brands of pornography which today seem laughably tame, is a reality. 50's New York is evoked with seamlessly-inter cut news reel footage. 50's Miami comes alive in super-saturated, 16mm-style color. The real Bettie Page seems to scamper, smile and pose before us, and yet the effect is curiously lightweight, barely lewd and not at all dangerous.

How odd that bondage's greatest icon should be so lacking in venom, and that this technically excellent biopic should have so little sting.


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