Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Silver Screen Movie Review - The Notorious Bettie Page

I'm sure by now it's no secret to you, my dear readers, that I have a moderate obsession with vintage pin ups.  The wholesome style, the sweet innocence of it in comparison with the glaring images we now face on a daily basis, is just so refreshing to me.

Bettie (or Betty, I've never quite found a definitive answer on the correct spelling) has long been one of my favorites.  In fact, I did a Calendar Girl post on her that you can find here.  I love her signature bangs, bright smile and cheery demeanor, so I was delighted when I discovered that Gretchen Mol had portrayed her in The Notorious Bettie Page.

Gretchen did not disappoint.  Her portrayal of Bettie was as sweet and sensitive as I could have hoped.  She gained 20lbs for this movie to be able to properly replicate Bettie's curves, and the weight suits her just beautifully.  She did a great job putting across Bettie's sunny, naive outlook on life and her role in the pin up industry.

The movie itself was hard for me to watch at times.  As a sensitive soul, I found the repeated victimization of Bettie to be difficult to watch.  The movie touches briefly on her sexual abuse as a young woman and her difficult marriage but does not delve into them.  Other reviews have criticized the movie for not focusing more on this as a character development, but I feel that the suggestion was enough.  I wanted a feel for who Bettie was and who she became, not to see the movie exploit the sordid details of her life.

Best of all, Bettie's humor came across beautifully.  I believe it is what helped her overcome the hardship and scandal in her life to end her career and live peacefully and quietly off the radar for the rest of her life.

The movie was visually amazing, the pictures and images are stunning and the costumes are to die for.  Definitely a must watch!


Hugs and Smooches,

*I actually watched this movie a while ago, but today is the anniversary of Bettie's death, so this is my tribute <3


  1. I don't see anything inappropriate with this review. I think you did a great job. I too like Bettie Page. No, I don't like all of her work, but I respect her. Even after Bettie converted to Christianity {by accepting Christ as her Savior} she never was ashamed. She was never dishonest, she never lied about her work, I see it as the same as when Marilyn posed nude for the calender pics. She wasn't ashamed. To her it was honest work that got her the money she needed.

    Anyway, that's my two cents for what it's worth. Hope you don't let that person's comments get you too down.

    1. Thank you, Sean :) I feel much the same way about Bettie. I may not enjoy all of her work, but I love her spirit!

  2. Agreed with Sean. I am not sure what was inappropriate or offensive.


  3. As a student of feminism/women's studies/sexuality and gendered behavior, as an observer of all things pop culture and a geek with a penchant for vintage, I have to say that I love Bettie Page and thought that the movie had a realness to it that often escapes Hollywood biopics. I think your review (including the photo stills you've chosen) are not offensive in the least. Perhaps some are uncomfortable with pinup photography...but if it's one your influences, then it has a valid place on your blog.

    I hope that the commenter who was offended didn't lose sight of the fact that your interests on your blog may not please everyone, but belongs there nonetheless!

    <3 Jackie @ Let's Go Thrifting!

    1. Beautifully said, Jackie. Thank you so much!


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