Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bettie Page's Playboy Christmas Pose ... 1955

Legendary pin-up model Bettie Page debuted in Playboy in 1955, trimming a Christmas tree and, in the words of Edgren, “wearing naught but a Santa Claus hat and a smile.” At the time, Page — a nice, studious, Christian girl from Nashville — had established herself as a favourite model of the era’s amateur photography clubs (which, because they didn’t sell their pictures, could get away with shooting more skin) and saucy men’s magazines like Wink and Modern Sunbathing. She is now the subject of Mary Harron’s new film The Notorious Bettie Page. Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol, American Psycho) delves into Page’s semi-lucrative sideline in the kinky bondage films and shoe fetish magazines produced by the brother-and-sister team of Irving and Paula Klaw (portrayed by Chris Bauer and Lili Taylor with good-natured, “oy vey!”-sputtering, brisket-chomping delight). Despite a traumatic past that included incest and gang rape, Page (a game Gretchen Mol in a shiny black wig) is almost freakishly innocent of the meaning of what she’s doing. When her boyfriend balks at one of her naughtier photo spreads, she assures him that she’s just playing dress-up for the Klaws’s “very nice, very respectable” clientele. And when a sleazy photographer asks how she balances her career with her faith, she says that Adam and Eve were naked in Eden, and God gave her a gift for making people happy by posing nude. So what’s a girl to do? (article found here)

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