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) (16 April 2006)

Gross:

$1,410,778 (USA) (25 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

Martin Scorsese and Liv Tyler had been developing a competing project, but then Scorsese was given the green-light for The Aviator (2004), and he backed out. Liv Tyler also subsequently left. See more »

Goofs

During the scene towards the beginning of movie where Bettie Page is talking to a security guard while waiting in the lobby of the courthouse a boom mic can be seen. See more »

Quotes

[Bettie reacts angrily when John sings a ribald song during a bondage photo shoot]
John Willie: What's the matter, Bettie?
[John pulls the gag from Bettie's mouth]
Bettie Page: It's your language, Mr. Willie.
John Willie: Oh, it's just an old army ditty to help keep our spirits up while fighting the beastly Hun. Do you approve?
Bettie Page: I believe in Jesus.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in Indie Sex: Extremes (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

(Do You Intend to Put an End to) A Sweet Beginning Like This
Written by Fred E. Ahlert and Joe Young
Performed by Fats Waller
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

 
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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