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Askew Review 15

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I know some fans of Bettie Page visit this site; check out this trailer of The Notorious Bettie Page.
March 21, 2006 update- This movie is now available as a limited two DVD set that includes the movie and many extras.

(Cult Epics) Docudrama. 75 Minutes. Unrated.  Lots of tease with just a tiny bit of skin to keep you interested. Bettie Page Dark Angel deals with a turbulent time in Bettie's life;   She’s started doing loops for Irving Klaw, which involve spankings, wrestling, and lots of bizarre bondage.  In addition to that, we get her Howard Hughes screen test, her investigation by the senate and threats against her life.
To begin with, this is an extremely low budget affair.  The filmmakers try to disguise this by doing most of the shoot indoors, giving them maximum control with the smallest cast possible.  This actually gives the film a weird, insulated effect that works to its advantage.  The cast is real life goofy from Irving Klaw who, although he sells bondage flicks, insists that his girls wear two pair of panties so nothing accidentally shows up on the loops.  To Bettie Page who actually believes that this kind of exposure will help her get into Hollywood . A particular point of genius is that the film switches to black and white whenever they are shooting a loop.  We get nothing but what the camera captures.  And, if you've ever seen a genuine Klaw short, you know the camera never moves.  It does give the illusion that we are watching these little clips of weird depravity first hand. Now, here are my two problems. First, this is titled Bettie Page Dark Angel and I guess I expected something grittier and dirtier, if you know what I mean.  The whole flick is too well lit and clean and wholesome in appearance.  We know that by this time in Bettie's career she was a pretty naughty girl.  Where is all that?  What we get is a clean film dealing with a dirty subject.  I think I've seen more skin in an episode of The Brady Bunch.  Bettie did nudie stuff and I've got the magazines to prove it.  The film is released by Cult Epics and they release vintage porn, so it seems that they should have gotten something a little more realistic. And finally we must deal with Paige Richards.; she is daring to portray our beloved Bettie.  Having seen the real Bettie on film and heard her speak and act, I would have to say that Paige does a great inservice to our favorite pin up queen.  I've seen a lot of women portray Bettie in pictorials and I can see the only reason that they would cast Paige Richards is that she was available at the time. In the end Bettie Page Dark Angel promises many things and delivers none of them.  The DVD features some minor behind the scenes footage, trailers for other Cult Epics films that I would rather have been watching and, true to director Nico B's MC career, original music recordings. If you're a true Bettie Page fan, skip this.  It'll just piss ya off. - Douglas A. Waltz



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