Synopsis by Michael Hastings
Celebrated and vilified in equal measure, the pinup goddess Bettie Page inspired a legion of followers -- and an indecency scandal -- by appearing in a series of nude, sado-masochistic, and/or revealing magazine spreads in the 1950s. An era later, writer/director Mary Harron casts a knowing eye upon the woman who indirectly gave birth to modern pornography in the biopic The Notorious Bettie Page. As a teen, Page (Gretchen Mol) is a smart, plucky girl with ambitions beyond her Tennessee roots. Suffering varying degrees of abuse from her father, her first husband, and suitors of dubious virtue, Page makes her way to New York City, where an amateur photographer discovers her lounging on the beach. It isn't long before images of the shapely brunette reach Irving and Paula Klaw (Chris Bauer and Lili Taylor), brother-and-sister entrepreneurs who publish illicit magazines dedicated primarily to men's fetishes. The casual nudist Page eventually finds herself acquiescing to their requests to don thigh-high boots, whips, and chains, which raise the ire of the smut-fearing senator Estes Kefauver (David Strathairn). The Notorious Bettie Page had its North American premiere at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival.
beauty [physical], censorship, fetish [sexual], indecency, magazine, modeling, photography, pin-up-girl, sexual-abuse