The Notorious Bettie Page

Watch The Notorious Bettie Page

"The pin-up sensation that shocked a nation"
  • R
  • 2005
  • 1 hr 31 min
  • 6.5  (11,578)
  • 64

The Notorious Bettie Page is a biographical drama film that takes us through the life of one of America's most iconic pin-up models, Bettie Page. Directed by Mary Harron, the movie stars Gretchen Mol as Bettie Page, Lili Taylor as Paula Klaw – Bettie's agent, and Chris Bauer as Irving Klaw – Paula's brother and business partner. The film takes place in the 1950s and centers around Bettie's rise to fame as a burlesque performer and a model for fetish and bondage photos.

The movie starts with Bettie's childhood in Nashville, Tennessee, where she grew up in an abusive and religiously strict household. Bettie was a bright and beautiful girl, but her father's abuse and her family's poverty made her life miserable. She found solace in nature and reading books, but her dream was to become a Hollywood actress. After finishing high school, Bettie moved to New York to pursue her passion for acting. However, her career wasn't taking off, and she had to take odd jobs to make ends meet.

One day, Bettie met Paula Klaw, who was running a mail-order business selling photos and films of underground erotica. Paula saw the potential in Bettie and offered her a modeling job. Bettie hesitated at first, but she was intrigued by the forbidden world of fetish photography. She soon became one of the most sought-after models in the industry, posing for magazines like "Wink," "Titter," and "Eyeful." Bettie's trademark bangs, blue eyes, and hourglass figure made her an instant sensation, but it also drew unwanted attention from the authorities.

The movie explores the themes of sexuality, censorship, and freedom of expression. Bettie was a fearless and open-minded woman who enjoyed posing for risqué photos and exploring her sexuality. However, the conservative society of the 1950s didn't share her views. Bettie's photos were deemed obscene and offensive, and she was forced to testify in front of the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency in 1955. The hearing resulted in the Kefauver hearings, which aimed to regulate the distribution of pornographic material.

Despite the backlash, Bettie continued to model and perform. She became a burlesque dancer and appeared in several short films. However, she also suffered from mental health issues and had a tumultuous personal life. The movie portrays Bettie as a conflicted figure, torn between her conservative upbringing and her adventurous spirit. She had several failed marriages and struggled with isolation and depression.

The Notorious Bettie Page is a visually stunning film, with beautiful cinematography and art direction. The movie captures the atmosphere of the 1950s, with its vibrant colors, retro fashion, and catchy music. The cast is also outstanding, with Gretchen Mol delivering a compelling and nuanced performance as Bettie. Mol perfectly captures Bettie's innocence, sensuality, and vulnerability, making her a sympathetic and relatable character. Lili Taylor and Chris Bauer also shine as the Klaw siblings, who provide the necessary support and guidance for Bettie.

Overall, The Notorious Bettie Page is a thought-provoking and entertaining movie that sheds light on a fascinating chapter in American pop culture. It depicts Bettie Page as a trailblazing figure, who challenged the norms and paved the way for future generations of women. The movie is not only a tribute to Bettie's legacy but also a celebration of female empowerment and artistic freedom.

The Notorious Bettie Page is a 2005 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 31 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.5 and a MetaScore of 64.

The Notorious Bettie Page
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 31 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.5  (11,578)
  • Metascore