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The Notorious Bettie Page

The Notorious Bettie Page

Mary Harron (2005)

90min
18 Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Iconic 1950s pin-up Bettie Page comes under the spotlight in this breezy biopic from writer/director Mary Harron (American Psycho). Gretchen Mol gives a deliciously radiant performance as the God-fearing Nashville girl whose New York modelling career evolves from saucy shots in men's magazines to short films and pictures for the fetish trade. But her burgeoning career is curtailed by the 1955 crusade against pornography of US politician Estes Kefauver (David Strathairn). Mol's wholesome Page is just one of a host of frothy characters - from comically profane British photographer John Willie (Jared Harris) to brother and sister bondage specialists Irving and Paula Klaw (Chris Bauer and Lili Taylor) - who give this predominantly black-and-white picture its considerable charm. But, unlike Harron's 1995 Valerie Solanas exposé I Shot Andy Warhol, here it's visual superficialities rather than perceptive insights that drive the flimsy narrative. The result is an enjoyably nostalgic slice of ocular titillation that barely scratches beneath the surface of its glamorous subject.

Summary

Biographical drama about the life of 1950s pin-up model Bettie Page. After a troubled childhood, she is first propelled into the public eye when she poses for an amateur photographer. The pictures come to the attention of famed brother-and-sister publishers the Klaws, who persuade her to take part in racier bondage photoshoots - which create scandal and provoke the wrath of a conservative senator. With Gretchen Mol, David Strathairn and Lili Taylor.

Cast & Crew

Bettie Page Gretchen Mol
Irving Klaw Chris Bauer
John Willie Jared Harris
Bunny Yeager Sarah Paulson
Maxie Cara Seymour
Estes Kefauver David Strathairn
Paula Klaw Lili Taylor
Marvin Jonathan M Woodward
Teacher Austin Pendleton
Billy Neal Norman Reedus
Director Mary Harron
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Other Information

Language: English Black and White and Colour Theatrical distributor: Icon Guidance: Sexual violence, swearing and nudity. Available on: Available on DVD Released on: 4 Aug 2006

Drama

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