Bettie Page Reveals All (2012)

(On TV, July 2017) Much of what is true about Bettie Page of the biopic The Notorious Bettie Page is also true about the documentary Bettie Page Reveals All: Beyond the nude pictures associated with “Queen of the Pin-Ups” Page and the salacious details of her involvement with the earliest generation of men’s magazines, her story is a lens through which to examine America’s moral evolution from the fifties to the twenty-first century, the way celebrities can re-emerge in popular consciousness decades later, or how unlikely some lives can be. That’s certainly the case with Page, who (after rough early years) almost wholesomely started modelling, became a sensation, then left the limelight so thoroughly that, for years, people wondered if she had died. Instead, she did religious work for a while, then had psychological/legal/medical issues for a solid decade until she was rediscovered in the mid-nineties and spent the last decade of her life enjoying a much higher standard of living thanks to long-delayed royalties. Much of the documentary is narrated by Page herself, although a good selection of interviewees also help complete her story. It’s an amazing narrative in many ways, and unlike The Notorious Bettie Page, it goes beyond her years as a pin-up and as a religious worker to talk about the nadir of her life and the years she spent under state supervision for criminal acts. The documentary highlights Page’s creative side (she designed a number of outfits she wore during photo shoots) and her latter-day impact on pop culture. It also shows unpublished photographs, details the issues that her publishers had with the law and goes in quite a bit of detail about Page and everything that surrounded her. Far more than just a documentary excuse to show racy pictures, Bettie Page Reveals All ends up being a definitive statement on an exceptional woman, a fashion/pop icon and a terrific life story.

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