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Notorious Bettie Page, The


Stars: Gretchen Mol, Chris Bauer, Jared Harris, Lili Taylor, Sarah Paulson, Austin Pendleton

Director: Mary Harron

A shortish, dull and innocuous account (mysteriously given an 18 certificate by the British censor) of the life and times of the Southern belle (Mol), who became a fetishist pin-up in magazines with such titles as Flair, Flirt and Parade, and even less respectable publications that populated the upper shelves of our shadier bookshops in the late Forties and early Fifties.

Thus many a man-in-mac or spotty schoolboy felt compelled to buy pictures of girls wielding whips and/or wearing not very much.

The narrative traces Bettie's early life, from a strict religious upbringing, through a narrow failure to win a scholarship and a disastrous early marriage, to a modelling career in New York that led her to the sleazier side of pin-up fame.

Mol is first-class as Page, and the movie itself could do with some of her get-up-and-go. Bettie's life wasn't really very interesting, and the lack of any meaty drama therein makes this a puffball of a film, disappearing at a brisk gust of wind.

David Quinlan

USA 2005. UK Distributor: Icon. Black and white with colour (by Kodak) sequences.
91 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 30 Jul 2006