The Notorious Bettie Page
The Notorious Bettie Page (2005) is an independent biopic directed by Mary Harron and starring Gretchen Mol. The screenplay was co-written by Harron and actress Guinevere Turner (who starred as a dominatrix in the S&M comedy Preaching to the Perverted).
This biography of legendary pinup icon Bettie Page covers a twenty year period from her childhood in the late Thirties to her retirement from modeling in the late Fifties. Most of the story centers on the 1952-1957 period when she worked for New York bondage photographer/filmmaker Irving Klaw.
Page had an innocent and accepting attitude about posing nude and doing "whips and chains" S&M photoshoots in bizarre fetishistic costumes. She saw nothing depraved or immoral about bondage and spanking themed photography and regarded it all as harmless fantasy material. The film illustrates the clash between her modern sensibility and the ultra-conservative mentality of the '50s represented by the Kefauver Hearings which linked pornography to juvenile delinquency. The McCarthy-style hearings ultimately ruined Klaw's career and reputation and led to Page's early retirement from modeling in 1957.
There are several recreations of Klaw's bondage film loops that include mild hand-spanking. "Rumble Seat Bondage" (one of the few films he shot outdoors) and "Second Initiation of the Sorority Girl" are faithfully re-enacted. Near the end there is a brief clip from a female wresting "catfight" featurette with some hand smacks as well.
Dozens of Klaw's film-loops, including those represented in this movie, have been re-issued by Cult Epics on the DVD Bettie Page: Bondage Queen (2005). These were originally released on video in 1984 by London Enterprises as Irving Klaw: Bondage Classics.
- Bettie Page: Pin Up Queen (Cult Epics, 2005) is a compilation of her burlesque dances and skits from three color features by Klaw (Striporama, Varietease, Teaserama) plus a dozen black-and-white film loops. The last one, "Pin-up Beauties Fight", has energetic wrestling and spanking.
- Bettie Page: Dark Angel is a Cult Epics direct-to-disc biopic that recreates six lost films that Page made for Klaw. The story concentrates entirely on the five-year period that Page worked for Klaw as a model.
- Bizarro Sex Loops (Volume 4) - features Page and two other female models in "Bondage Rough House Battle." This long-running series of underground BDSM shorts from the 1950s to the 1970s is produced by Something Weird Video.
- Bizarro Sex Loops (Volume 20) contains a few more rare Klaw featurettes, including one with Page as a slave girl in a leopard-spot bikini who gets an OTK spanking from her mistress.