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The Notorious Bettie Page (2005)

R | | Biography, Drama | 5 May 2006 (USA)
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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:

The Pin-Up Sensation That Shocked The Nation. 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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Language:

Release Date:

5 May 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Ballad of Bettie Page  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$1,410,778 (USA) (23 June 2006)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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. See more »

Goofs

In one 'bondage shoot' scene, Jared Harris shoots the bound Betty with a Leica camera, lens retracted. Collapsible lenses on Leicas need to be extended to shooting position for proper focusing. Shooting with a lens retracted will result in blurred pictures, and all photographers who shot with Leicas should know that. 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?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

I Surrender, Dear
Written by Harry Barris and Gordon Clifford
Performed by Artie Shaw
Courtesy of Bluebird / Novus / RCA Victor
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Licensing
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
not too surprising it's an HBO film, but a good one nonetheless, with a terrific lead in Moll
30 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I had a vague idea of who Bettie Page was, partly due to her appearance in the very wee days of Playboy (apparently, when she got her photo taken of her and her Santa hat, just that, she didn't know what the mag was). The movie, co-written and directed by American Psycho's Mary Harron, fleshes out the key parts of her life well enough. A southern belle of a church goer has some bad experiences and leaves them behind to seek better times in New York City, where she gets into modeling, and from there a lot more. Soon, she becomes the underground pin-up sensation, with bondage the obvious (and "notorious" of the title) trait attributed to her. The actress Gretchen Moll portrays her, and gets down the spirit of this woman about as well as she could, which is really a lot of the success of the film. She's not a simplistic character, even if at times her ideas of morality are questionable ("well, Adam and Eve were naked, weren't they?" she comments a couple of times). Apparently, the filmmakers leave out the later years of Page's life and leave off with her in a kind of redemptive period, leaving behind the photo shoots for Jesus.

In all, the Notrious Bettie Page is not much more than a kind of usual bio-pic presented by HBO films, albeit this time with the stamina for a feature-film release. The best scenes that Harron captures are Page in her "questionable" positions, getting photos of her in over-the-top poses and starring in ridiculous films of whips and chains and leather uniforms. This adds a much needed comic relief to the film's otherwise usual nature. It's not that the story behind it is uninteresting, which involves the government's investigation into the 'smut' that came out of such photos and underground magazines. But there isn't much time given to explore more of what is merely hinted at, with Page and her complexities or her relationships or to sex and the fifties. It's all given a really neat black and white look and sometimes it seemed as if Harron was progressing some of the black and white photos to be tinted more as it went along. It's a watchable view if you're not too knowledgeable of Bette Page, and probably for fans too.


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