THE SEX FILES: Bettie Page Reveals All
I had the pleasure of interviewing New Yorker, Academy Award nominated director Mr. Mori back in 2011 (see here) about this movie and now it finally sees a release. What Mr. Mori and I spoke about and what makes his movie unlike any other Bettie Page film (documentary or ‘fictionalized’ bio pic) is that Bettie herself lends her voice (Mori conducted interviews with Bettie in 2008 before her death) to the retelling of her life story.
The movie certainly rocks with still footage, scenes from black and white ‘loops’ and interviews with such notables in the Page story as photographer Bunny Yeager (she took plenty of famous pictures of Bettie back in the day), Paula Klaw (I was especially taken with these interview pieces with Irving Klaw’s sister as she spoke about the ton of ‘kinky’ shots of Bettie her brother managed to take and sell in NYC), various camera club enthusiasts still enthusing over taking pictures of Bettie (we even see some never before seen pictures from one of these men’s private collections), and even interviews with one of Bettie’s later husbands. We learn about Bettie’s childhood as one of six children in a very poor family, her frank revelations about her relations with her husbands (abuse by her father) and most importantly what she felt about her brief time modeling, back before her sudden retirement in 1957.
The later part of Bettie’s life has always been rife with rumor and conjecture…Mori gets the straight scoop from the lady herself here. We learn about Bettie’s movements over the 35 years she was in seclusion: traveling from Florida, to the mid west, to California; her trials with mental illness and her institutionalization because of it; her ‘rebirth’ in born-again Christianity and then meeting Dave Stevens the creator of Rocketeer and how his character and the film about him saw a spike in interest of the Bettie Page image in the character of ‘Betty’ in the story, obviously based on Bettie Page. Stevens helped Bettie get in touch with Hugh Hefner (who had already featured some Betty stills in Playboy way back when) and the bunny bigwig helped get Bettie representation who saw to getting her compensation for her likeness being used in the later part of her life.
The real star here is, as it should be, Bettie Page (though the film is bookend-ed with some celebs giving their opinions of the lady at get together’s for various Bettie-inspired functions). She is just a matter-of-fact kind of a lady revealing how much fun she had making her own bikinis, posing for pictures she always thought were tasteful and fun, so enjoying dancing, her love making even with various husbands and where the often times bumpy road led her.
Written by Douglas Miller Mark Mori’s Bettie Page Reveals All is the one movie you need to see to learn all you ever will about Bettie Page and an interesting time in America.
For more info on the film and where you can see it, please visit http://www.bettiepagemovie.com.