Page was the ultimate girl-next door, and one of the most popular Playboy centerfolds. Page challenged the conservative 1950s, posing as a fierce dominatrix and earning both a cult underground following and Senate Committee investigation on juvenile delinquency, essentially a witch-hunt orchestrated by a senator from her home state of Tennessee bent on exploiting her as a stepping stone to the White House. At the height of her popularity, Bettie disappeared. But in 1979 and 1982, Page (a diagnosed schizophrenic) tried to stab several people to death and was institutionalized.
Do you see Bettie as an early feminist?
Gretchen Mol: She didn't take that on herself. She didn't try to do anything but her job and just happened to have this non-judgmental sprit. People were always able to look at Bettie Page and see what they wanted her to be. She gave them that permission to do so. She was highly evolved in her way of seeing her own sexuality. She didn't see shame or harm in what she was doing. In that way she's a feminist. I don't think she was ever trying to be consciously.Read More
Indie film stalwart Lili Taylor stars alongside Gretchen Mol in The Notorious Bettie Page. Lili plays Paula Klaw, who along with her brother Irving shot many of the pictures and movies that made Bettie Page the pin-up queen of her day and legendary sex symbol. Paula and Irving were also primary targets of the government's probe into pornography in the fifties. Lili was very casual and discussed at length her considerable film career.
Did Paula and Irving exploit Bettie?Read More