The Notorious Bettie Page is fantastic!

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Vickie_M, Apr 23, 2006.

  1. Vickie_M

    Vickie_M Producer

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    My husband and I went to see 3 movies Friday night, and had a GREAT time.

    The Notorious Bettie Page - It's very sweet, and Gretchen Mol is perfect and wonderful as Bettie. She comes off as very innocent about the pictures that were being taken. Even when Bettie has all her clothes off (and yes, there is full-frontal nudity), as one of the characters says about her (paraphrasing), "Even when she's nude she doesn't seem naked."

    Even though Bettie (talking about the movie character because I don't know how true-to-life it was) had some pretty nasty things happen to her the incidents were never shown in a graphic way. Childhood sexual abuse was only hinted at, and a horrific gang-bang is only implied, not shown. The director Mary Harron (American Psycho), the writer Guinevere Turner (American Psycho screenplay), and Gretchen Mol (The Shape of Things) all obviously adore Bettie, and want to show her personality and work in the best possible light. They make even the most appalling of Bettie's bondage photos look like innocent fun, and that was ok with me. I walked into the theater knowing very little about Bettie Page, having just seen a few of the photos over the years, and walked out adoring Bettie too. They even treat her conversion to born-again Christianity with respect and matter-of-factness. Of course it helps that Bettie never condemned or was ashamed of her past, even at her most fervent. This movie won't be remembered at awards time, and that's ok too, but I'm glad I saw it and I'd like to see it again. I hope it does well, to the benefit of all involved.

    Seeing the lousy scores for this and other movies at Rotten Tomatoes, I see once again that that place is not to be trusted. I might not have been so keen to see these films on opening day if I'd visited RT first. I'm so glad now I didn't. Most of the complaints are so far off the mark I'm not even sure the critics saw the same movies, but what can you do. Each to their own. All I know is that WE loved both movies, especially American Dreamz.
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Vicki, I've converted this to a thread about The Notorious Bettie Page in keeping with our practice of having separate threads for different movies. If you want to start a new thread on Friends With Money, please do so. Your comments on American Dreamz were previously posted here:

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htf/...d.php?t=233517

    M.
     
  3. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    Its on my list if it comes around here.
     
  4. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Thanks for the review Vickie. Yeah RT is wrong as often as it is right. I never put all of my apples in that (or any other reviewer's) basket. Thanks for the review, I'll certainly make an effort if it's playing near me.
     
  5. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I finally had an excuse to go into town and was surprised to find out that this film was still playing, so I took in a late afternoon viewing, and came out pretty impressed by Gretchen Mol's performance, which was good enough for me to forget what Gretchen even looked like while she was playing Bettie throughout the film. She captured not only the look of Bettie, but her attitude and spirit as well. I did enjoy the "greatest hits" scenes of how Bettie's most lasting and indelible images were taken by the photographers during her modeling phase. Mol totally nails these scenes.

    Unfortunately, the "greatest hits" scenes don't a great screenplay make, and it was simply an average screenplay, but it was still an interesting look at the life and times of Bettie Page from her beginnings, through her modeling days, and finally her life after modeling. The bulk of the drama is created from the proceedings generated from the "indecent" photos being sent over state lines with the postal service by Irving Klaw, the man who not only ran a photograpy service for regular cinema stars, but dabbled in fetish photography that landed him and his business in hot water with the government.

    I enjoyed it for what it was, so it gets 3 stars, or a grade of B (for Bettie, of course).
     
  6. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I saw the movie yesterday and was amused to see David Straithairn playing Senator Kefauver after being on the other side of the free speech issue as Edward R. Murrow.

    I enjoyed the film, but was a tad disappointed it was a straightahead bio, with little to say about what made Page tick. Overall it felt like they were just scratching the surface, leaving many questions. Why did she like to spend time by herself? Why did she continue to trust people - men in particular - after some of the things she experienced? Did she leave the bondage and nude modeling because she believed the depravity connection the father made in the senate hearing? I think Mol did a terrific job, but would have liked a little more examination of the character.
     
  7. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    I was suprised how short this was but enjoyed it. Gretchen was amazing as Bettie.
     
  8. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    i thought the same about david straithairn.

    also about what you said of the movie.

    i felt like it was a bit of a fluff piece.
    almost like this movie was made by her mother.

    i needed to get to why she kept getting into cars and meeting men even with what was going on.

    was she that trusting.

    almost seemed to me that she was pertrayed a lttle bit of a dim bulb.
    almost like she didnt understand what was going on with the bondage photos

    in the features section the dir or someone on the film mentioned
    they actually have the video of the hearings.

    some of that would have been interesting to see.
     
  9. BarryS

    BarryS Second Unit

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    Yeah, according to the IMDb, ten minutes were cut from the film after its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. I would have hoped that the full uncut version would be released on DVD, but no, it's the 90-minute version.

    Perhaps an UNCUT, UNRATED EDITION is down the road..?
     
  10. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Typically there is a reason these cuts are made. I saw it and was fairly underwhelmed. Gretchen was wonderful, but the story just sort of sat there. It seems there must have been so much more to do with it.
     
  11. Don Giro

    Don Giro Supporting Actor

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    She outright SAID (in the film) that she was just acting and dressing up in costumes, posing for specialty photos that were supposedly "enjoyed" by "affluent" men.

    Remember, she was a churchgoing Tennessee country girl who probably had no idea what "bondage" and "fetishism" even meant. I wonder how many people even heard those words (never mind the meanings) back in the fifties, almost five decades before internet search engines. [​IMG]
     
  12. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    true, but it doesnt change my opinion on the way she was portayed.

    "no idea what "bondage" and "fetishism" even meant. I wonder how many people even heard those words (never mind the meanings) back in the fifties,"

    "almost like she didnt understand what was going on with the bondage photos"
     
  13. Don Giro

    Don Giro Supporting Actor

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    Tony,

    What I mean is that I don't think the film portrayed Bettie as a "dim bulb," just a bit naive.
     
  14. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    I thought it made her look like a dim-bulb or IMPOSSIBLY naive. She gets gang-raped by strangers and abused by her husband but never shows any mistrust of men and still goes off with strangers at the drop of a hat? [​IMG]
     
  15. Don Giro

    Don Giro Supporting Actor

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    I'm referring ONLY to her assessment of the bondage and fetish pictures she posed for. I don't think she had any idea what the "end-users" of her "kitten with a whip" poses did with these "custom" pictures. I don't think she saw the sexuality in what she was doing. I'd still call her naive rather than "dim," but it really boils down to semantics. My take on it is that "dim" suggests stupidity, whereas "naive" means she really didn't know any better.

    What I really found fascinating was that the hoopla over her pictures stemmed from pictures where she was pretty much fully clothed! I love the scene where the [boyfriend? husband? brother?] finds the catalog of work she had done for Klaw and looks mortified to the point of nausea, and there's not one nude shot to bee seen! How would this guy have reacted to Christina Aguilera in full-on Xtina mode?
     
  16. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    don, my sig is an image of Vet Stadium replica.
    found here amoung many

    and the yorkie is one that we had for about 18 months who passed away recently.
    OLLIE
    we foster yorkies and she was the first one. we loved her so kept her.
     
  17. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    LOS ANGELES — Bettie Page, a 1950s pinup known for her raven-haired bangs and saucy come-hither looks, was hospitalized in intensive care after suffering a heart attack, her agent said Friday.

    "She's critically ill," Mark Roesler of CMG Worldwide told The Associated Press.

    He said the 85-year-old had been hospitalized for the last three weeks with pneumonia and was about to be released when she had the heart attack Tuesday. Page was transferred to another hospital in Los Angeles and remained in intensive care Friday.

    A family friend, Todd Mueller, said Page was in a coma. When asked to confirm, Roesler said, "I would not deny that," but he would not comment further on her condition.

    Page, a secretary turned model, is credited with helping set the stage for the sexual revolution of the rebellious 1960s. She attracted national attention with magazine photographs of her sensuous figure that were tacked up on walls across the country.

    Her photos included a centerfold in the January 1955 issue of then-fledgling Playboy magazine, as well as controversial sadomasochistic poses.

    Page later spent decades away from the public eye, and during that time battled mental illness and became a born-again Christian.

    After resurfacing in the 1990s, she occasionally granted interviews but refused to allow her picture to be taken.

    Mueller credits his business dealings with Page for bringing her out of seclusion. He said he first met her in 1989 when he offered her "a bunch of money" to show up at autograph signings.

    "I probably sold 3,000 of her autographs, usually for $200 to $300," he said. "Eleanor Roosevelt, we got $40-$50. ... Bettie Page outsells them all."
     
  18. WillG

    WillG Producer

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  19. rich_d

    rich_d Cinematographer

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    Sorry to hear that. What ever the X factor is, Bettie Page had it in spades.

    R.I.P. Bettie


    I also think that Mol was terrific in this and believe it to be under appreciated as an acting performance.

    I don't agree that it was a "straightahead" bio pic. First of all, her story is not told sequentially so truly the word doesn't fit. As for what makes her tick, your questions are good ones but I would question back, do we ever know what makes someone tick? Do we watch Citizen Kane and understand Kane by the end? Why do some people rise above awful circumstances and still have a trusting and loving heart? I guess my preference are for films that don't tie things up in a neat ribbon but allow questions to remain.
     
  20. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    It's been some time since I've seen the movie, so I would probably need to revisit it. But I wasn't looking for things to be tied up with a bow. If the film had gone the obvious route of "Ray" then I wouldn't have enjoyed that either. I suppose I was ultimately looking for at least a perspective from the filmmakers. From what I recall, the film was very neutral and disinterested. Maybe that was the intent - for the audience to make up its own mind, but ultimately that approach didn't work for me with this particular film.

    And by "straightahead" I meant conventional or standard. I don't see that hinging on the storytelling method (linear vs. nonlinear).

    And rest in peace Ms. Page.
     

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