Movie Review: The Notorious Bettie Page
Alternate Title: (Say) Cheese Whip
Story: Some films have a limited appeal with a finite audience. This latest true story by director Mary Harron (American Psycho, I Shot Andy Warhhol) falls into this category.
Bettie Page was the most sensational pin-up girl of the 1950's. What seems tame compared to today's snuff film standards was considered very naughty at the time. There was even the requisite Congressional investigation into the people who were ruining the country with the distribution of these black and white photos of pin-up girls in everything from S & M poses to semi-nude romps on a beach. It all seems very kitschy to our contemporary jaded standards.
The film takes no position on whether Bettie and her colleagues were good or bad. They depict the entire development of this culture more as a documentary with file footage and headlines. Ms Harron goes a step further towards honesty and films 80% of the film in black and white to add to the grainy realism. The only color portions take place when Bettie visits Miami.
I found myself fascinated with Bettie Page and wanted to know more about her rise and fall but was denied that curiosity.
If you want to see the real Bettie page and read more about her unique story go to: http://www.bettiepage.com
Acting: Gretchen Mol is Bettie Page. She caught this pin-up icon's combination of naivety and sexiness to perfection. Not many actresses could have pulled this off. The supporting cast of Lili Taylor, Chris Bauer and Jared Harris all did a fine job.
Soundtrack: Fun accompanying soundtrack
Opening Titles: Credits at the end (stay for them).
Visual Art: The time periods covered in the film were right on the money.
Theater Audience: A handful of quirky movie goers (including me).
Sappy Factor: 0
Quirky Meter: 3
Squirm Scale: 0
Drift Factor: I looked at my watch after one hour. Not a good sign.
Tissue Usage: 0
Oscar Worthy: No
Soap Box: I do not believe in any type of censorship. You don;t like something? Don't watch it, don't read it but leave everyone else alone.
Big Screen or Rental: Unless you have a predilection for this type of film, rental would be fine. Gretchen Mol will change the course of her second rate career with this film. For some of her other roles, try renting: Sweet and Lowdown, Cradle Will Rock, Finding Graceland, Rounders, Donnie Brasco
Length: Under two hours
LOBO HOWLS: 6