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The Notorious Bettie Page (2005)

Cast: Gretchen Mol, Christopher Bauer, Jared Harris, more...
Director: Mary Harron
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Rating:
Studio: HBO Home Video
Genre: Drama, Biopics, Erotica
Running Time: 90 min.

Synopsis
Celebrated and vilified in equal measure, the pinup goddess Bettie Page inspired a legion of followers -- and an indecency scandal -- by appearing in a series of nude, sado-masochistic, and/or revealing magazine spreads in the 1950s. An era later, writer/director Mary Harron casts a knowing eye upon the woman who indirectly gave birth to modern pornography in the biopic The Notorious Bettie Page. As a teen, Page (Gretchen Mol) is a smart, plucky girl with ambitions beyond her Tennessee roots. Suffering varying degrees of abuse from her father, her first husband, and suitors of dubious virtue, Page makes her way to New York City, where an amateur photographer discovers her lounging on the beach. It isn't long before images of the shapely brunette reach Irving and Paula Klaw (Chris Bauer and Lili Taylor), brother-and-sister entrepreneurs who publish illicit magazines dedicated primarily to men's fetishes. The casual nudist Page eventually finds herself acquiescing to their requests to don thigh-high boots, whips, and chains, which raise the ire of the smut-fearing senator Estes Kefauver (David Strathairn). The Notorious Bettie Page had its North American premiere at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival. ~ Michael Hastings, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Says: The Notorious Bettie Page (2005; $20.98). Gretchen Mol is stunning in this biopic of the elusive former pin-up girl. Mary Harron's (I Shot Andy Warhol) film shows her "as a young woman not so much naive as simply incapable of depravity," wrote Roger Ebert, very knowledgable on the subject. "The tone of the movie is subdued and reflective. It does not defend pornography, but regards it (in its 1950s incarnation) with subdued nostalgia for a more innocent time." But finally, Ebert adds, "Mol is the key to the mysterious appeal of the film, to its sweetness and sadness."
See also: The Irving Klaw Classics Vol. 1: The Bettie Page Films.




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