|Index||8 reviews in total|
If I could change one social norm in American society it would likely
be that we stop viewing sex as a topic that needs to remain unexplored
and unspoken. America, over recent years, has gotten much better at
acknowledging that sex exists, sometimes in raunchy and sometimes
grotesque forms, but I still see a disturbing rush of uncomfortable
feelings loom over a person when one person (cough, cough myself)
brings up the topic for discussion. I talk about quite a bit with my
friends at school, or just in public, and I've gotten in serious
trouble for being open about sexual topics; I've never been reprimanded
for mentioning something with grotesque violence, such as school
shootings, torture, or even openly talking The Passion of the Christ.
Nearly everybody watches pornography, thinks about sex on a regular basis, consciously or subconsciously considers sleeping with another person, engages in masturbation, has elaborate sexual fantasies, possesses fetishes/sexual preferences, and enjoys feeling intimate pleasure. If you said "not me" to any of those, I fear for the future of our current or potentially-brewing relationship. Expressing and embracing sexual pleasure is one of the most fulfilling and satisfying things a human can experience, so why have we repressed these perfectly natural, often desired feelings and instead think of gratuitous and unnatural violence as more of a socially acceptable topic? A person who challenged America's prudish views on sexuality was not a die-hard feminist, a liberal/conservative activist, somebody with an agenda, a corporate/organizational mouthpiece, or a group of high school/college kids who shouted "we're not gonna take it anymore" from the rooftops of their schools. It was an intelligent, charismatic pin-up girl from the 1950's by the name of Bettie Page, who, arguably, didn't even think of defying norms when she was posing for several photographers and magazines in her prime. She just wanted to show off her inherently beautiful figure, infectious smile, and unbelievably arousing poses.
Mark Mori's Bettie Page Reveals All attempts to piece together the life of the pin-up model, who went from the humblest of beginnings, several relationship ups and downs, an explosion of popularity, the owner of the title "America's raciest sweetheart," to complete obscurity, to an unpredictable resurgence, to her death in 2008. Mori and his filmmakers were fortunate enough to obtain a large amount of audio of Page speaking one-on-one to the filmmakers about her life and her career before her death, which makes the film worth seeing for one reason. This is likely the last piece of information we'll ever get from Page that was not just authorized by her but involved her in person.
With that being said, it's only a shame that the film isn't a bit stronger. The film presents itself in the most basic documentary quality, mirroring a project created with the utilities of Windows Movie Maker and a video-to-MP3 downloading service, as about seventy percent of the film is compiled of a slideshow presentation with the remaining thirty percent catering to talking heads, some who knew Page and some who are just big advocators and supporters of her work.
Immediately, that creates an imbalance in the film's narrative. At times, it wants just Page to tell her story, but its inclusion of outsider opinion shows that it wants a crowd-sourced view on her as a person, a pin-up girl, and an icon of sexual liberation. Mori attempts to mold both together, but, in doing so, he shortchanges some of Page's crucial elements to her story (mainly her proclaimed sexual abuse that she endured by her father, which was experienced by her sisters in an even more grotesque manner). It's almost shocking how casually it is introduced and dismissed.
Nonetheless, this documentary is inherently interesting and works as a great classroom companion for sociology/gender studies courses in the high school and college courses "brave" enough to show it. Sixty years ago (not that long ago when one thinks about it), Betty Page lifting her legs in the air with fishnets covering them, lacey pantyhose draping her buttocks, a bare-midriff visible, and a seductive, lipstick-soaked smile was considered "lewd" and "provocative." Now, Katy Perry can sit on her stomach, completely naked on a cloud in the music video for her smash hit "California Gurls," with the camera angles and background intrusions just barely covering up her no-no areas. My how far we've come.
Furthermore, one model goes on to admit how girls should look up to Page as a contradiction to what "society" and "imaging" tells us now about how women should look, which I'd like to affirm if I may. Page appeared full and complete in the areas males so often desired, and her incredibly vibrant smile and radiant poses and facial expressions only further expressed her beauty and illuminating figure. Page had everything in moderation and exhibits a grand form of beauty girls would be better off admiring than the paper-thin models in the industry today. If it sounds like I have a crush on the young Betty Page, it's because I do.
Bettie Page Reveals All is a title with two different meanings, both of which one could probably infer. One is the more obvious one (depending on the type of person you are), which denotes that Page herself will tell her story and reveal all the burning questions and details you want to know. The other one may need a few moments to develop upon hearing the title (again, heavily depending on the type of person you are), denoting the idea that Page bears all her female figure in the open for us to take as we will. Both accurately define a woman who had nothing to hide, physically and intellectually and forever changed an American social norm. At least she gets a moderately enjoyable film, which is more that can be said about some other heroes.
As a fan of pinup girls I knew of Bettie Page as the ultimate starlet. Page is a legend, but I did not know the story behind the doll face. Directed by Mark Mori, Bettie Page Reveals All is a fascinating movie on the life of Bettie Page. Not only does it show case never before shared secrets, it is narrated by the Page herself. You learn of the ups and downs that she faced and how she resurfaced after many years living far from the spotlight. This movie is fun, sassy, and a good story of a legendary beauty from Tennessee Bettie Page. Even if you never heard of Bettie Page, I am sure that you have seen her influence in pop culture. The lady with dark bangs and milky skin with the hour glass figure is an American Icon. The movie also touches on some of the unexpected consequences of the conservative 50s and how Page became a renegade in her art. by Dr. Wilson Trivino
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
To those for whom Bettie Page is an iconic image without a voice, it
will come as a pleasant surprise to hear her narrate this posthumous
biographical documentary. Director Mark Mori interviewed Ms. Page
roughly a decade before her death in 2008, and supplements the audio
with interviews from boyfriends, one ex-husband, and numerous co-
workers, primarily photographer Bunny Yeager and film
producer/entrepreneur Paula Klaw, who with her brother Irving made the
fetish and bondage films which made Bettie Page "notorious."
There are a few tidbits revealed here that were omitted from the unauthorized biopic "The Notorious Bettie Page," a title which Ms. Page did not appreciate. Bettie was unwanted by her mother and abused by her father; she spent a year in an orphanage; she threatened to kill one of her husbands, Harry Lear; and she spent ten years in a California mental institution, diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.
After her release in 1988, her fortunes took a turn for the better when she met Hugh Hefner, who recommended an agent, who in turn was able to secure licensing fees for Ms. Page's image. Bettie Page spent the last 15 or so years of her life in comfort, basking in her new-found status as a feminist icon.
This is an entertaining doc. No dissenting voices are heard, and there are no real surprises, but it was nice to discover there was a brain and a delightful Tennessee twang behind that gorgeous body.
Recommended for mature audiences, as there is frequent nudity.
As someone who had previously watched The Notorious Bettie Page-the dramatized account of the pin-up queen-and Bettie Page: The Girl in the Leopard Print Bikini-another documentary about her, seeing a DVD of Bettie Page Reveals All! displayed on the shelf at Barnes & Noble-with the revelation that Ms. Page herself was narrating from recordings of interviews she did before her death in 2008 as well as the promise of so many of her pictures and short movies she made being shown-made me want to buy it right away and view it at home which I just did. Quite an eye-opener watching all those images of Ms. Page in all her sexy glory and then hearing her elderly voice with such a fascinating account of what she went through much of her life made this quite an experience to savor. So on that note, I highly recommend Bettie Page Reveals All!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After seeing the trailer a couple months ago, I was excited to see that
it had been recently put onto Netflix. It had been on my list for a
couple of days and last night I finally got around to watching it. The
movie opens and I'm immediately introduced with some of the worst font
I've ever seen (comic sans?) then onto some cheesy background music
(which I assume had been taken from public domain due to a lack of
budget), a montage of Bettie's influence on modern pop culture (some of
which were used multiple times and mirrored), some talking heads, and
D- List celebrity praise (i.e Perez Hilton). I thought for a minute I
was just being too harsh and decided to keep watching but realized that
the whole movie was going to be filled with this.
What stands out clearly is the odd pacing, very little cinematography (putting a camera on a tripod while someone talks), googled images (some of which had other television company logos on them), and random stock cartoons that serve no purpose other than to fill gaps while Bettie talks. I understand it's probably hard to revolve a whole movie around some audio recordings but why not actually go to the places she's talking about and film the locations? It made me think of another film that only used audio interviewers is the Kurt Cobain documentary About a Son, which is filled with amazing cinematography put to the audio.
One part in particular that blew my mind was when Bettie was explaining her abuse as a child as well as her lousy upbringing, which seemed like a sad and compelling story then all of a sudden SMACK here's another loud cheesy song, some cartoons, and then there's Bettie at 29. Wait, where did the other 19 years go? In doing a biography on someone aren't those formative years? I understand if those years were boring and had nothing to do with the actual story of the person but child abuse and a lousy upbringing could have explained A LOT about how a person develops and why they do what they do later in life. To me, this felt very disrespectful to the viewers and to her story.
It's clear that the director admired Bettie Page and that she clearly felt the same way. Bettie granted him permission to interview her and the recordings (which is probably the only known recordings of her voice/latter years) were used as the narration for the film. Having learned this after the seeing the trailer, as well as being interested in her, I was pretty excited to see this film. I haven't seen anything that Mark Mori has done. I'm aware that he is a Oscar nominated director but that was also 13 years ago and he hasn't done much since. It looks like a documentary that a person would have made in 2001 on a very basic editing system.
I've never reviewed a film or felt inclined to do so on IMDb. I have mixed feelings towards my generation of "YELPers" but I couldn't ignore this due to the high rating on here. I feel like people give slack to documentaries just because the subject matter is interesting. Yes, the story of Bettie Page is phenomenal and I did learn more about her from watching this but the poor film making is hard to ignore. I only hope that this movie doesn't deter more ambitious people from doing something with this story.
Bette Page Reveals All (2012)
*** (out of 4)
Very detailed look at the life and career of the iconic pin-up Bettie Page. The documentary uses an audio interview with Page to tell her story, which starts from her childhood days and goes all through her career and her eventually downfall due to a mental disorder. It's hard to believe that in this day and age there's someone out there who hasn't seen Bettie Page. After all, she broke down all sorts of walls when it comes to women's sexuality and it's easy to forget that she was the "it" thing long before Playboy.
This documentary does an extremely good job at telling her story and making sure the viewer knows just about everything there is to know about the legend. Some of the most fascinating stories come from her early, pre-fame days where she struggled a lot of sexual abuse from not only her father but by a group of men in New York. We also hear about her first marriage, which turned out to haunt her later in life more than her nude work. Of course, the thing Page is known for the most was her sexuality and there's no question that the film leaves nothing to the imagination. It might be an over-statement but I'm pretty sure just about every nude picture Page has done is on display here so those who enjoy her work will certainly have a lot to look at.
There are several talking heads giving their thoughts on the icon (including Hugh Hefner) but the highlight is certainly hearing from Page herself. Getting a first-hand account of everything that was going on is certainly the best thing about this documentary.
...just as its subject was and always will be, "Bettie Page Reveals All!" presents a lovingly illustrated biography of the quintessential American pin-up, Bettie Mae Page, the Queen of Curves. Its strengths lie in being structured around the last audio interviews with Bettie; its weaknesses lie in the paucity of new information, at least for the hardcore Bettie fan, who will have already devoured the several biographies available. The only thing new I learned was that Bettie didn't much care for Mary Harron's "The Notorious Bettie Page." Still, it's as complete a videography as the general audience might expect, well worth the time spent with it. Long live Bettie Page!
It is so amazing to hear Betty's story in a very real sense. this woman lived a very full life that should be respected and celebrated. great job on the filmmaker's part...you have made Betty an identifiable person. I think many of us can relate to the things she had done and been through in life, and honestly admire. Betty lived her life in many arenas and I love that this was represented. I found it especially important that her voice is heard throughout the film. This film is the most thorough representation of the complexity and movement of Betty's life that has been presented to the public so far. It brings the viewer beyond the photos and videos ad gives us insight into the whole person who is certainly an icon. Who would have imagined that Betty was living an entire life outside of the pinups?
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